It’s that time of year known as the King of Clay’s time to shine but in the absence of live tennis instead I’ll be looking back at a dominance which will never ever be beaten and there is probably more to come!
Can you even imagine playing 475 matches on clay, winning 436 and losing just 39 since your debut in 2002 at your home event in Mallorca, absolute insanity!
He’s done it all and a little bit more which has resulted in 59 titles on the dirt and a 91% win percentage, he was born for this. Here is just a look at the numbers from some of the tournaments which doesn’t include titles won in Stuttgart, Mallorca, Brazil, Mexico, Poland and Sweden on the clay!
Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters
Rafa dominated here for years on end. Between 2005 and 2013 he was unbeaten winning 46 consecutive matches and drop seven sets of tennis in 8 years winning 8 consecutive titles before losing to Novak Djokovic in the 2013 final 2-6 6-7.
Rafa did go three years without winning the title but won it in 2016, 2017 and 2018 to take his tally to 11 Monte-Carlo titles to date!
71 wins, 5 defeats and 11 titles since his debut in 2003!
Not many active players have an tour court officially named after them, in fact Rafael Nadal is the only player on tour to have that accolade.
Rafa first played in 2003 losing to Alex Corretja in the second round but didn’t win his first title at the ATP 500 event until 2005. Since he won it in 2005 he has only Kei Nishikori, Dominic Thiem and Fernando Verdasco have won in this time.
62 wins, 4 defeats and 11 titles in Barcelona
Pretty much the home tournament for Rafa but with just 5 titles it is technically his ‘worst’. He first won it in 2008 and last won it in 2017.
I was in Madrid in 2019 and I saw Rafa win but I also became a member of a rare club seeing Rafael Nadal lose to Stefanos Tsitsipas in a scintillating semi-final at the Caja Magica!
In 11 of his last 13 appearances in the Spanish capital he has however made it until at least the semi-finals.
His record at the Madrid Open?
5 titles, 50 wins and 9 defeats
Rafa never actually appeared in Rome until 2005 despite making his Monte-Carlo and Madrid debut in 2003 the Spaniard took a little longer to arrive at the Italian capital.
When he did however he burst onto the scene winning in three consecutive years and winning in five of his first six years at the Foro Italico.
Rafa was title less in Rome for consecutive years but has once again came back and won back to back titles in 2018 and 2019.
In Rome the Spaniard’s record stands at 9 titles, 61 wins and 6 defeats.
“And here we are, were in Rome”
2019 was an unusual time for Rafa, we made it all the way to Rome without a title.
Monte-Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid without winning a title but he did get to at least the semi-finals of all three events.
In his pre-tournament press conference he answered this question about his form having not won a title in his first three clay events and turned up to Rome without a title for just the second time in his career. He then won Rome and Roland Garros.
It is a story like no other.
12 titles at Roland Garros, it is truly incredible.
He debuted in 2005 and won in his first four years at the French capital. The big surprise and do this date is still that fourth round four set defeat to Robin Soderling who went onto lose to Roger Federer in the final!
Since then he has only not won the event in 2015 and 2016 but has a remarkable win/loss record of 93-2. It is only two defeats as her withdraw before his third round match with a wrist injury.
Clay Court Records
The records speak for itself…
- Roland Garros – 93 wins, 2 defeats & 12 titles
- Monte Carlo – 71 wins, 5 defeats & 11 titles
- Barcelona – 62 wins, 4 defeats & 11 titles
- Madrid – 50 wins, 9 defeats & 5 titles
- Rome – 61 wins, 6 defeats & 9 titles
- 52 consecutive wins in semi-finals on clay between 2004 and 2014
- 46 match and 8 title winning streak in Monte-Carlo between 2005 and 2013
- 81 consecutive match wins on clay between April 2004 and May 2007
- 50 consecutive sets won on clay between May 2017 and May 2018
- 93 wins v top 10 opponents on clay in his career.
- 182 wins, 20 defeats and 31 titles at Masters 1000 level!
- 436 clay court wins
- 39 clay court defeats
- 59 clay court titles