French Open 2022: Looking back at Rafael Nadal’s clay-court journey
- Rafael Nadal won the French Open 13 times, which is seven more than second-placed Bjorn Borg
- Nadal is the only men’s tennis player to have won a Clay Slam - a title each at Monte Carlo, Rome, Madrid, and French Open in 2010
- Nadal holds the record for winning 13 successive clay-court titles between 2005 and 2007
Spanish Tennis star Rafael Nadal won his 21st Grand Slam in January at the Australian Open. With this title, Nadal broke Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer’s record for most Grand Slam titles. Nadal, who won 13 French Open titles, is regarded as the King of Clay.
This year when the season’s third Grand Slam began in Paris on May 22, the 35-year-old started vying for his record 14 French Open titles. Given Nadal’s clay-court record and recent performance, he will go into the event as one of the favourites for the coveted title. Nadal, however, will be cautious as he lost Italian Open and Madrid Open, where he lost to teen sensation Carlos Alcaraz.
A prolific hard-smashing tennis player, Nadal, in August 2021, became the first-ever player in the Open Era to win at least 450 matches on two surfaces, clay and hard. Last year, he failed to win the French Open which was only his third defeat at the Ronald Garros since he started playing the French Open.
On clay courts, across the world, Nadal has the longest winning streak in the Open Era. He won a record 81 consecutive matches on this surface between April 2005 and May 2007. He also holds the record for winning most clay-court titles in the Open Era with 62 titles.
Nadal’s 464-43 win-loss ratio is the third best on clay courts after Vilas (681-173) and Manuel Orantes (569-170). Nadal is one of the five men to have claimed 400 or more clay-court wins.
Nadal also holds the record for winning 13 successive clay-court titles between 2005 and 2007.
In the French Open, Nadal’s 13 titles are the most by a singles player. With six French Open titles, Bjorn Borg is second behind Nadal. Nadal now holds the record for winning most titles at a single Grand Slam in a single Grand Slam (French Open). At Ronald Garros, Nadal has an incredible win-loss ratio (105-3). At French Open, Nadal was unbeaten from 2005 to 2008, 2010 to 2014 and 2017 to 2020), respectively.
Among other clay-court events, Nadal has won Monte-Carlo Masters 11 times, most titles at a single Masters 1000 tournament. He is the only men’s tennis player to have won the Clay Slam - a title each at Monte Carlo, Rome, Madrid, and French Open in 2010.