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Nadal Stands Alone On Clay

Nadal© Getty ImagesRafael Nadal is the undisputed king of clay.

As ATP World Tour players turn their focus to clay, we look at the standouts on the surface according to the FedEx ATP Performance Zone.

When it comes to clay, Rafael Nadal is the undisputed king.

The Spaniard, who will be the top seed at next week's Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, far outdistances other greats, according to the FedEx ATP Win/Loss Index. The lefty boasts a stellar .934 winning percentage and 298-21 mark on the surface. Only two other players have a winning percentage over .800: Bjorn Borg (.863) and Ivan Lendl (.814).

Nadal’s nearest contemporary is Novak Djokovic, who last year dethroned the eight-time defending champion at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. The Serbian is eighth among all-time leaders with a .774 mark, and is followed on the active leaders list by Roger Federer (.766), David Ferrer (.718) and Tommy Robredo (.693).

To further illustrate Nadal’s excellence, take a look at the Open Era leaders in the other FedEx ATP Win/Loss Indexes:

Winning Per Centage
Match Record

Nadal’s dominance on the surface has also translated into another telling statistic in the FedEx ATP Performance Zone: less clay-court titles for his peers. Beginning with his first title in 2004, Nadal has triumphed on clay in 43 tournaments - 31 times more than the next active player.

Nicolas Almagro’s dozen currently places him in a four-way tie for the 20th position in the all-time leaders list. Fellow Spaniards David Ferrer and Tommy Robredo each have 11, while Roger Federer and Nikolay Davydenko have 10 apiece. Of those collective 54 titles, only four - won by Federer - came at tournaments where Nadal had competed. Federer defeated Nadal in the final to win two of those.

Outside of Federer, only two players have prevailed against Nadal in a clay-court final: Djokovic has done it three times, all in Masters 1000 action, while Horacio Zeballos accomplished the feat last February in Nadal's comeback tournament in Vina del Mar.

The World No. 1 can continue to add to his legacy over these next couple of months, with a chance to surpass Guillermo Vilas at the top of the FedEx ATP Clay Titles Index. The Argentine claimed his first title in 1973 in Buenos Aires and his 46th a decade later in Kitzbuhel.

Nadal has won at least three clay-court titles during the European spring swing since his breakout season in 2005, when he finished the year with a total of eight. His haul includes a record eight titles at Roland Garros, the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters and the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, and seven at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome.

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FedEx ATP Win/Loss Index

Performance On Clay

Current* Index Career Index
1. Rafael Nadal .828 .920
2. Bjorn Borg .000 .860
3. Ivan Lendl .000 .814
4. Guillermo Vilas .000 .802
5. Ken Rosewall .000 .799

FEDEX ATP Head 2 Head

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