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What is the longest time from the first to the last time that a player was ranked number 1 of the ATP/WTA rankings?

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Longest time span between the First and Last time at #1 (ATP)

Roger Federer was first ranked at the top of the ATP Rankings on February 2nd, 2004. The last time he was promoted to the top of the ATP Rankings was June 18th, 2018.

The length of time spent between his first and last appearance at number one in the ATP Rankings, is 14 years, 1 month, and 16 days. No other male player has a greater time span between his first appearance at number one to his last appearance. He also became the oldest player to achieve the number one ranking usurping the title from Andre Agassi.

My reference for this information is here.


Longest time span between the First and Last time at #1 (WTA)

For the WTA, it is Serena Williams who first became world number one in the WTA rankings on July 8th, 2002 and last was world number one on May 14th, 2017.

With a time span 2 months shy of 15 years, Serena Williams holds the record for WTA players in terms of longest length between first being ranked number one, and last.

My reference for this information is here.

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I took data from the Tennis ATP and Tennis WTA repositories in GitHub. They do not have all the rankings, so it is not comprehensive and Logan's answer will be more accurate.

From there we see that:

  • (this is to be changed) Rafa Nadal was 1st on 18 August 2008 for the first time and hist last week on that position was on 21 August 2017. This makes it 9 years and 3 days.
  • Andre Agassi was 1st on 10 April 1995 for the first time and his last week on that position was on 1 September 2003 (100 weeks all together). This makes it 8 years and 5 months.
  • Roger Federer was 1st on 2 Feb 2004 for the first time and the last time was on 29 Feb 2012 (for a total of 297 weeks all together). This makes it more than 8 years.

In women:

  • Serena Williams started on 8 July 2002 and her last was on 9 September 2016, for a total of 14 years and 3 months. 308 in total.
  • Steffi Graff started on 17 August 1987 and her last was on 24 March 1997, for a total of 9 years and 7 months. 383 weeks in total.

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