Rafael Nadal is truly by far the greatest Clay Court player of all time. The great Spaniard has a whopping 59 titles on clay so far and seems to be adding to his tally each season. There are 3 particular tournaments where Nadal’s dominance has been other-worldly and he has managed to touch and even cross the double-digit mark. We look back at those 3 events and Rafa’s performance history there.
3. Barcelona Open ATP 500
Rafa has been by far the most successful player in the 67 year old history of the Barcelona Open. The Spaniard who won this title in his teens for the 1st time in 2005 managed to repeat the feet continuously till 2009, winning 5 back to back titles. He would come back to win the trophy 3 more times from 2011 to 2013.
In 2014 and 2015 Nadal faced a title drought in the tournament. However, the King of Clay would bounce back to again win 3 consecutive titles in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Rafa’s haul of trophies in this event is already 11 and he is expected to add a few more to his name before calling it a day. In his honor, a Court at Barcelona Open has been named as Pista Rafa Nadal.
2. Monte Carlo Masters 1000
Rafa Nadal and Monte Carlo has been a classic combination in the last 15 years. The King of Clay managed to win this title 1st time in 2005 and then continued to win it for 8 years in a row till 2013. Nadal won 46 consecutive matches at the event before losing to Djokovic in 2013 final.
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After a 2 year hiatus, Rafa came back to win the title again thrice from 2016 to 2018. Nadal’s achievements at the Country Club are so legendary that in the 11 occasions that he lifted the title, Nadal has not dropped a single set in 5. The Spaniard’s reign at the club is far from over even if he managed not to lift the trophy in 2019.
1. Roland Garros International Championships
There has never been a better marriage of a player and a surface than Rafael Nadal and Roland Garros. The Spaniard has made Paris his fiefdom lifting 12 titles in 15 attempts. Rafa has won 93 matches at Court Philippe Chatrier losing only 2 times. In these 95 matches Rafa has been pushed to 5 sets only twice.
Rafa’s record at the French Open semis and finals remains 12 wins and 0 losses. The Spaniard won the French Open 1st time in his maiden attempt in 2005. Since then he has been on song on Paris, becoming the only player, male or female, in the history of tennis to lift 12 trophies at a Grand Slam event. It is this reason that he has earned for himself the King of Clay synonym.