Rafael Nadal He arrives this Saturday at 500 matches on clay, the surface that has made him a tennis legend. The tennis player manacor will face the American ‘giant’ in the semifinals of the 1000 Masters in Rome Reilly opelka (2,11), which will thus have the privilege of entering the history books.
Much has rained since that April 29, 2002, when Nadal played his first ATP match in Mallorca against the Paraguayan Ramn Delgado. He was just 15 years old and won by a double 6-4. The duel was played on clay, the surface on which it later made history.
Nineteen years later, Rafa adds 499 matches on clay, with 457 victories and only 42 defeats, for 91.6% of triumphs. To be able to assess this data, it is enough to say that the next player with the best percentage on this surface in the Open Era is Ivan Lendl with 81% (329 victories in 406 duels).
Twenty-six are the tennis players who have managed to defeat the Spaniard on clay, highlighting the seven victories of Novak Djokovic, who on the other hand adds 18 defeats against Nadal, a figure that only exceeds David Ferrer (2-20).
The next is Dominic Thiem with four wins in twelve games. Only four other tennis players have managed to defeat Rafa more than once on this surface: Fabio Fognini (3-6), Gastn Gaudio (3-3), Roger Federer (2-14) and Andy Murray (2-7).
Rublev, Corretja and a ‘certain’ Mutis
Lex Corretja, Olivier Mutis and Andrey Rublev They are the only tennis players that Nadal has faced on the ground and has failed to defeat. With all three he lost the only time he faced each other.
Nadal conquered his first title on clay in Sopot on August 15, 2004 at 18 years and two months, lifting the trophy without losing a single set. Since then he has won at least one title on land every season, highlighting the eight of 2005 (Costa do Sauipe, Acapulco, Montecarlo, Barcelona, Rome, Roland Garros, Bastad and Sttutgart).
Rafa Nadal has conquered 61 titles (in 69 finals) on clay throughout his career – of the 87 he has in total – more than any other player in the Open Era. The next on the list is the Argentine Guillermo Vilas with 49, by 40 of the austraco Thomas Muster.
Of those 61 tournaments on clay, 38 have been in category Grand Slam (13) or Masters 1000 (25), for 62.3%.
The Martian of Roland Garros
Nadal is the only tennis player who has achieved more than ten titles in three different tournaments in the Open Era (Roland Garros -13-, Barcelona -12- Monte-Carlo -11-) and all three have been on clay.
Everything has been said about his incredible career at Roland Garros, with 13 winches in as many finals. In Paris he has 100 victories and just two defeats for a ‘Martian’ 98% of victories.
His streak of 81 consecutive victories on clay between 2005 and 2007 It is the longest on a single surface in the Open Era. In addition, between 2005 and 2013 he had 46 consecutive victories in Monte Carlo, the longest streak in any tournament for a man or a woman.