Nadal slips out of top four

  • By: Andy Schooler
  • Last Updated: January 28 2013, 11:32 GMT

Rafael Nadal has dropped out of the world's top four for the first time in more than seven years.

Rafael Nadal: Due to return in Chile next month
Rafael Nadal: Due to return in Chile next month

The Spanish star has paid for his injury enforced absence from the tour - he has not played since June due to a knee problem - and slips to fifth in the latest ATP ranking list.

He is replaced in the top four by compatriot David Ferrer.

The last time Nadal was not part of the leading quartet was back in June 2005 - prior to the first of his seven French Open titles.

Nadal now faces a battle to return to the top four in time for May's French Open - if he fails to do so he risks being seeded fifth and could therefore be drawn in the same quarter as Novak Djokovic.

He is due to begin that fight in Chile next week when he is scheduled to return to action on the clay of Vina del Mar.

Djokovic retains top spot following his Australian Open success with runner-up Andy Murray third.

Roger Federer, beaten in the Melbourne semi-finals by Murray, stays second.

Murray's compatriot Jamie Baker has been rewarded for his success in qualifying for the main draw at the Australian Open by climbing 39 places to 207th, making him the clear British number two.

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