If history is any indication, we're in for another memorable clay-court season from Rafael Nadal, who will begin his run towards Roland Garros at next week's Monte Carlo Masters.
Here are 10 clay stats to know about the King of Clay:
He’s won 28 of his last 29 matches on clay. It's a stretch dating back to the 2016 French Open; his only loss in that time came against Dominic Thiem in last year's Rome quarterfinals. He’s also won his last 26 sets on clay, and 65 of his last 69.
He has a 391-35 career win-loss record on clay. Nadal’s combined win-loss record on all other surfaces is an excellent 488-151 (.763), but on clay he’s a devastating 391-35 (.918).
En route to his 10th Monte Carlo Masters title in 2017, Nadal defeated Alexander Zverev in the third round. The two also met in Nadal's last match on clay, last week in Davis Cup:
He’s won Monte Carlo, Barcelona and the French Open 10 times each. Nadal is the only man in the Open Era to win any event 10 times—and he’s done it at three different clay court events.
He’s the only man in tennis history to win the same Grand Slam title 10 times. Nadal’s 10 French Opens—2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2017—put him alongside Margaret Court as the only players, male or female, to win the same Grand Slam title 10 times (she won 11 Australian Opens).
He’s won one of every five French Opens in the Open Era. Last year’s French Open was the 50th French Open since the Open Era began back in 1968.
He’s won more ATP clay-court titles than anyone else in the Open Era. Nadal’s 53 career clay court titles is an Open Era record; the previous record-holder was Guillermo Vilas, with 49.
Match point for Nadal against Philipp Kohlschreiber, in Davis Cup:
He’s 82-17 in his career against Top 10 players on clay. On all other surfaces combined, Nadal has a 71-66 career record against Top 10 players (.518), but on clay he’s a much scarier 82-17 (.828).
He’s 32-4 against the rest of the current Top 10 on clay. Nadal won’t be intimidated by the current Top 10 on clay—he’s a combined 32-4 against them on the surface. Thiem and Roger Federer (who again isn’t even playing the clay season this year) have two wins each.
He’s 79-2 at the French Open. Nadal has lost just two matches in his career at Roland Garros: in the fourth round in 2009, to Robin Soderling; and in the quarterfinals in 2015, to Novak Djokovic.
He’s 63-4 at next week’s event in Monte Carlo. Nadal’s only four losses at the first Masters 1000 event of the year on clay came in the third round in 2003, to Guillermo Coria; the final in 2013, to Djokovic; the quarterfinals in 2014, to David Ferrer; and the semifinals in 2015, to Djokovic.
This Week on Tennis Channel Plus:
ATP Monte Carlo (4/15-4/22)
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WTA Dothan (4/17-4/22)
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Fed Cup (4/21-4/22)
-Tennis Channel Plus is your home for Fed Cup action! Watch live ties between USA vs. France and Germany vs. Czech Republic beginning at 6:00 AM ET on Saturday April 21
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