Rafael Nadal: King of Clay

Nadal has a career 91.9 % winning rate on clay.

He’s won one out of each 5 French Opens ever contested.

He’s won Monte Carlo and Barcelona 10 occasions each. Nadal is the only man within the Open Period to win any occasion 10 times — and he’s performed it at three totally different clay court events.

He’s the only man in tennis history to win the same Grand Slam title 11 times. Nadal’s 11 French Opens put him alongsideside Margaret Court as the only players, male or female, to win the identical Grand Slam title 11 occasions (she won 11 Australian Opens).

He’s won more ATP clay-court titles than anybody else within the Open Era. Nadal’s 56 career clay court titles is an Open Period document; the earlier report-holder was Guillermo Vilas, with 49.

He’s 86–2 at the French Open. Nadal has misplaced just two matches in his career at Roland Garros: within the fourth spherical in 2009, to Robin Soderling; and in the quarterfinals in 2015, to Novak Djokovic.

He holds 17 major titles, second only to Roger Federer’s report 20. Federer holds eight Wimbledon titles and has forsaken the clay season in a bid for another title on the grass.

Nadal has additionally won a report 32 Masters a thousand titles.

In April 2018, Nadal turned the first player, male or female, to amass four hundred+ match wins on both hard and clay courts with 425 and 400, respectively.

He is additionally the primary, and only male player so far, to win three consecutive Grand Slam tournaments on three completely different surfaces (clay, grass and hardcourt) in the same year (2010).

I’ve been an unabashed and fervent Rafa fan since I first saw him win Paris in 2005. He was 19, a charming boy, with long hair and pirate pants. He was additionally a ferocious and electrifying competitor, his presence on the court riveting for hours. Speedy and athletic, on his knees for photographs at the baseline, and whipping his arm over his head to bend it just like the soccer player he’s, Rafa was mesmerizing. Tennis fans — sports fans — fell hard and many of us by no means appeared away.

The doubters and the killjoys dismissed the Spanish boy wonder as a „dirtballer,“ a one-dimensional player who would by no means have what it takes to succeed on all courts. 13 years later, the stats inform the story. In addition to his 11 French titles, he has 2 Wimbledon titles (defeating Federer, the king of grass, for considered one of them), 3 US Open titles, and 1 Australian Open crown.

The red clay is his home, though, his natural habitat and he continues to astonish with his dominance. Many had written his career obituary a few years ago, after accidents and flagging confidence dimmed his star. He’s an excessive amount of of a grinder, the knees can’t stand it, he’s going to burn out early, they said. They were unsuitable and it’s delicious.

His victory celebration immediately was muted. He didn’t fall to the red earth and break his outfit, like so a few years before. He has all the time been a category act, gracious in victory and defeat, and right this moment was no different. His emotion prompt that he could also be wondering if this is the last, however that seemed the case last 12 months when he won the 10th. And the yr before.

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