Rafael Nadal – The King of Clay

Rafael Nadal – The King of Clay

When Argentine Guillermo Vilas remained unbeaten on clay for a record 53 times in 1977, Experts felt that Swedish Legend Bjorn Borg would be the man who could break it. But Borg disappointed as he failed to win his 47th match. Two Decades later in 2005, a young Tornado from Spain took the Tennis World by storm by winning the French Open the first time he played it. He went on to win it the first four times he played at Roland Garros. He had won all his matches on Clay until his Arch Rival Roger Federer defeated him in the finals of Hamburg Masters in the year 2007 bring an end to the 81 match winning streak on clay. He overtook Guillermo Vilas’ streak of 53 matches and has set a benchmark for the players in the future to surpass him on his favourite surface- The Clay Court. Till now he has won the French Open title Seven times. His only loss in  Roland Garros came against Robin Soderling in the Fourth-Round of the 2009 edition. The Spanish Tornado is known to the World as Rafael Nadal – The King of Clay.

Rafael Nadal - The King of Clay
Collage containing Rafael Nadal biting all his Grand Slam Trophies, a thing he used to do after winning a tournament


Clay Court Domination

Rafael Nadal – The King of Clay 

Rafael Nadal - The King of Clay with his Seventh French Open Title in 2012
Rafael Nadal – The King of Clay with his Seventh French Open Title in 2012

After missing the entire Clay Court season in 2004 due to a Stress Fracture, Rafael Nadal flourished in the 2005 season. He won 24 consecutive singles matches which broke Andre Agassi’s Open Era record of consecutive match wins for a male teenager. In the Subsequent year at Roland Garros he went on to beat the World no.1 and title Favourite Roger Federer in the Semi-Finals. Two days later, he Created history by beating Mariano Puerta in the Finals of French Open and became the Second Teenager to Win a Grand Slam Singles Title. In 2006, Rafael Nadal went to Compete in the French Open as the World no. 2. He defeated Federer in the Finals and prevented Federer from Winning a Career Grand Slam. He won the Title for the next Two years in succession by beating Roger Federer in the Finals. In the 2008 finals, he even gave Federer his first Bagel in over 10 years. Nadal became the fourth male player in the Open era to win the same Grand Slam singles tournament four consecutive years. It earned him the title “Rafael Nadal – The King of Clay”. In 2009, Swede Robin Soderling shocked Nadal in the 4th Round of the French Open and eventually lost to Federer who finally completed a Career Grand Slam. In 2010, Nadal took Revenge by beating Soderling by thrashing him in the Finals of the French Open. He went on the win the French Open in 2011 and 2012 by beating Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic respectively. Rafael Nadal has a winning Percentage of 92.88 in Clay. Apart from winning the French Open title 7 times, Rafael Nadal – The King of Clay has won the Monte Carlo Masters 8 Times, Rome Masters 6 times and Barcelona Open 8 times. No wonder we call him Rafael Nadal – The King of Clay.

Overall Achievements of Rafael Nadal – The King of Clay

Rafael Nadal - The King of Clay
Collage of Rafael Nadal with his trophies on each surfaces after he completed his Career Grand Slam.


Apart from Being the King of Clay, Nadal has won several Laurel in other surfaces as well.

  • Rafael Nadal has Won the Australian Open once in 2009.
  • Rafael Nadal has been crowned the US Open Champion once in 2010.
  • Adding to these, Nadal has won the Wimbledon Twice in 2008 and 2010.
  • Rafael Nadal has won atleast 2 Grand Slams in all surfaces- Clay, Grass and Hard Court.
  • Totally Rafael Nadal has won 11 Grand Slam Titles.
  • Rafael Nadal achieved the World no. 1 Ranking for the first time in August 2008.
  • Rafael Nadal has held the No. 2 ranking for an ATP record of 241 weeks.
  • Rafael Nadal completed his Career Grand Slam in 2010 after winning the US Open.
  • Rafael Nadal is the youngest player in the Open Era to complete a Career Grand Slam.
  • Rafael Nadal also holds a Career Golden Slam after he won an Olympic Gold in 2008 Beijing Olympics.
  • Rafael Nadal has a 98% winning record at Roland Garros, the most by any player on any Grand Slams.
  • Rafael Nadal has equalled the Record for Most consecutive years with at least one Grand Slam title. He achieved this in the period between 2005 and 2012.
  • Rafael Nadal became the quickest Player to win 400 Career Matches.
  • In his career, Nadal has won 54 singles titles.
  • Rafael Nadal leads the head-to-head against Roger Federer 19–10,the most by any player against Roger Federer.
Rafael Nadal - The King of Clay
Nadal after winning the Olympics Gold and completing a Career Golden Slam

In 2013, Nadal had a mixed fortunes in clay court season. He lost to Novak Djokovic in the finals of Monte Carlo Masters and won the Barcelona Open. When asked about Nadal’s chances in this year’s French Open, Mr. Alan Wilkins, a popular TV Commentator and Tennis Expert said “Nadal knows that it is only Djokovic who is his biggest threat at Roland Garros, much more than Federer or Murray.”

With Nadal coming back from Injury, Can he win his record Eight French Open Title and show the world why he is called as Rafael Nadal – The King of Clay?