Tribute: Rafa Hits 400 Clay-Court Match Wins
ATPWorldTour.com pays tribute to the Spanish icon on his latest milestone
Rafael Nadal has become the fourth player in ATP World Tour history (since 1973) to record 400 clay-court match wins after his semi-final victory over David Goffin on Saturday at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell.
While Argentina’s Guillermo Vilas (659), Spain’s Manuel Orantes (502) and Austria’s Thomas Muster (422) have all won more matches on the red dirt, no player has achieved a better winning percentage on the surface than Nadal, according to the FedEx ATP Performance Zone.
Over the past 15 seasons, ever since his first tour-level clay-court victory over Karel Kucera of Slovakia in the 2003 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters first round, Nadal has compiled a 400-35 match record on terre battue – a winning percentage of 91.9 – and a record 54 trophies. His titles haul includes 11 at Monte-Carlo, 10 at Roland Garros, and tomorrow he'll be hoping for an 11th in Barcelona.
CLAY-COURT MATCH WINS LEADERS (Since August 1973)
|Player||Clay W-L Record||Winning %||Clay Titles|
|1) Guillermo Vilas (ARG)||659-162||80.3%||49|
|2) Manuel Orantes (ESP)||502-150||77.0%||30|
|3) Thomas Muster (AUT)||422-127||76.9%||40|
|4) Rafael Nadal (ESP)||400-35||91.9%||54|
As Bjorn Borg, a winner of 30 clay crowns - including six at Roland Garros - told ATPWorldTour.com, “To win on clay you have to practise your positioning a lot, how you strike the ball to set up a point and your movement.
"Nadal has worked so hard to develop his backhand, particularly the crosscourt shot, which is not only a winner shot, but also an attacking stroke in defence. He plays with tremendous intensity, as if every point is a match point. Nadal has excellent footwork, so he's able to position himself in good time and rarely gets into trouble. He is quick to move up the court. His serve often sets up the point, while the pace and placement of his forehand enables him to finish points.”
In an era of all-court players, Nadal has developed his legacy as a red dirt warrior to become an icon of the sport with an 888-186 (.827) record and 76 trophies - including 16 Grand Slam championships and 31 ATP World Tour Masters 1000s.
What makes Nadal's single-surface match record of 400 victories all the more remarkable is that only 79 other players in 45 seasons of ATP World Tour history have compiled 400 total match wins or more.
CLAY-COURT & OVERALL RECORD COMPARISONS (Since August 1973)
See how Nadal's clay-court record and overall career statistics compare to other leading performers.
|Player||Clay W-L Record||Winning %||Clay Titles||Overall W-L Record||Winning %||Titles|
|1) Rafael Nadal (ESP)||400-35||91.9%||54||888-186||82.7%||76|
|2) Bjorn Borg (SWE)||251-41||86.0%||30||609-127||82.7%||64|
|3) Ivan Lendl (CZE/USA)||327-76||81.1%||28||1,068-242||81.5%||94|
|4) Guillermo Vilas (ARG)||659-162||80.3%||49||929-286||76.5%||62|
|4) Novak Djokovic (SRB)||189-49||74.9%||13||788-168||82.4%||68|