FedEx Performance Zone: Career Clay-Court Records
Rafael Nadal fans must be counting down the days.
With Nadal's left wrist looking healthy – see 2017 Australian Open – and the Spaniard back in fighting form, his legion of supporters surely cannot wait until the left-hander slides on red dirt again.
The 30 year old has taken multiple tour-level titles on all surfaces since turning pro in 2001, but nowhere has his game been as dominant as it has been on clay. As the European clay-court season approaches, it's worth reminding ourselves of Nadal's most impressive numbers, found in the FedEx ATP Performance Zone.
Nadal has won almost 92 per cent of the matches he's played on clay, a win-loss record of 365-34, tops in the Open Era. Other players have won more matches, including Spaniard Manuel Orantes (501) and Austrian Thomas Muster (422), but Nadal owns the best winning percentage on clay.
The Mallorca native has also captured 49 clay-court tour-level titles, tying him with Argentine Guillermo Vilas for the most clay-court crowns in the Open Era. Nadal could break that record as soon as April when he plays at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event, and goes for his 10th Monte-Carlo crown.
“It has been a very important week for me... The victory here confirms that I am better and I am very happy, no? It's a very, very emotional week for me, very important event,” Nadal said last April after winning his ninth Monte-Carlo title. “Probably Monte-Carlo is one of the most important places in my career without any doubt. Win again here after three years is something so special for me. So very happy for that.”
No other active players have come close to achieving Nadal's mastery on clay, but Swede Bjorn Borg nears Nadal in the all-time ranks in the FedEx ATP Performance Zone. Borg finished his career with 30 tour-level titles and a winning percentage of 86. The right-hander went 251-41 on clay.
American Ivan Lendl, who now coaches one of Nadal's rivals, Andy Murray, ranks third on the all-time list in terms of winning percentage. Lendl won 81 per cent of his clay-court battles, 327-76. The 6'2” right-hander secured 28 tour-level titles on clay, more than a quarter of his career total, 94.
The only active player with a winning percentage worthy of the Top 10 in the FedEx ATP Performance Zone is Novak Djokovic. The Serbian boasts a 176-43 record on clay, giving him a winning percentage of 80, just behind Lendl on the all-time list.
Djokovic trails Nadal in clay-court titles by a wide margin, though. The right-hander has won 13 career clay-court crowns. He will try to repeat as Roland Garros champion in June.
“I'm very proud, very thrilled, obviously,” Djokovic said after winning the Roland Garros title last year. “It's hard for me to reflect on what has happened before and what's going to happen after. I'm just so overwhelmed with having this trophy next to me that I'm just trying to enjoy this moment.”