In the 1998/1999 season, he finished fifth place overall in World Cup Ski Jumping. At the world championships in Ramsau, he won a silver medal in the individual large hill behind Martin Schmitt, as well as winning a gold medal in the team large hill event.
In the 2002/2003 season he finished again second in the world rankings and managed to set another highlight of his career: at the Worldcup competition in Willingen, Germany , he became the third person in history to achieve perfect marks from all five judges (20 points maximum) - 27 years after the first one (Anton Innauer) and five years after the second one (Kazuyoshi Funaki). This mark has been matched only about one hour later at the same World Cup competition by Hideharu Miyahira, who finished sixth. Then it took another six years until Wolfgang Loitzl at Bischofshofen, Austria in 2009 during the 2008-09 Four Hills Tournament became the fifth one.
In the 2003/2004 season, he performed well below personal expectations. His best result was third in Engelberg. As a consequence of that, Hannawald ended his season prematurely. On 29 April 2004, Hannawald revealed that he was suffering from burnout, and had put himself into psychiatric treatment. During this time, Sven Hannawald managed to recover and reappeared to the public.
On 3 August 2005, he ended his career as a ski jumper, explaining through his managers that, after successfully dealing with his burnout, he no longer wished to suffer the stresses of professional sport.