King of Clay: 18 stats for Rafael Nadal's 18th Grand Slam

King of Clay: 18 stats for Rafael Nadal's 18th Grand Slam

18 different things the 12-time French Open champion achieved in Paris.

Rafael Nadal had yet another fantastic fortnight at Roland Garros, emerging with the 18th Grand Slam title of his career. Here are 18 different things the King of Clay achieved in Paris:

He won a historic 12th French Open title. Nadal has lifted the Coupe des Mousquetaires a dozen times now in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

He is the first player in tennis history, male or female, to win the same major 12 times. Only one other player has even hit double digits: Margaret Court won 11 Australian Opens.

He is only the second player in the Open Era, male or female, to win any tour-level event 12 times. Navratilova conquered the WTA event in Chicago 12 times between 1978 and 1992.

He closed in on Roger Federer and widened the gap with Novak Djokovic for most career Slams. Nadal is still in second place on the men’s all-time list, but his 18 is now just two behind Federer’s 20 and three ahead of Djokovic’s 15—Pete Sampras is fourth place with 14.

He is within two majors of Federer for the first time in 15 years. The last time Nadal was within two of Federer was when the Swiss only had two majors and Nadal zero—the period between the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2004. Since then, the closest he had been was three behind.

He improved to 18-8 in Grand Slam finals. By reaching his 26th in Paris, he also closed the gap on Federer for most reached by a man in tennis history—Federer’s reached 30.



He is now 24-0 in the last two rounds at the French Open. With his 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 semifinal win over Federer and a 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 win over Dominic Thiem in the final, he is now 12-0 in both rounds.

He got his 950th career tour-level match win. Nadal’s win over Thiem gave him that milestone. The Spaniard is still in fourth place on the men’s all-time list, after Federer, who has 1,207; Jimmy Connors, who had 1,156; and Ivan Lendl, who recorded 1,069.

He got his 260th career Grand Slam match win. He is still in third place on the men’s all-time list, after Federer, who has 347; and Djokovic, who has 270.

He is now 93-2 in his career at Roland Garros. Nadal has more wins at the clay-court major than anyone in the tournament’s history—next-most is Steffi Graf with 84. The Spaniard’s only two losses came against Robin Soderling in the fourth round in 2009 and Djokovic in the quarterfinals in 2015.

He is now 118-2 in best-of-five-set matches on clay. He is 318-37 in best-of-three-set matches on clay, an excellent .896 winning percentage; but in best of five on the dirt, he’s 118-2—or .983.

He is now tied for most tour-level matches won this year, man or woman. Nadal improved to 32-5 on the year with his win over Thiem in the final, tying Stefanos Tsitsipas for most tour-level match wins this year—the Greek left Roland Garros 32-12 on the year. No woman has reached 32 yet.

 

He won Roland Garros with just one title on the year for the first time. In his 11 previous title runs at Roland Garros, Nadal didn’t just come in with multiple titles on the year, but multiple clay-court titles; in 2013 he even came to Paris with six titles on the year, five of which had come on clay.

This year he had just one title on the year, Rome, but was still able to dominate at Roland Garros.

He won his 59th career clay-court title. No other man in the Open Era has even gotten to 50 career clay court titles—the next-most on the list is Guillermo Vilas, who won 49.

He snapped a five-match losing streak against Federer in the semifinals. His win over the Swiss was his first in more than five years—their last five meetings had all come on hard courts, though.

He also became the first player to beat Federer 10 times at majors. Nadal is now 10-3 against Federer at majors. Djokovic has the next-most wins with nine; no one else has more than two.

He overtook Djokovic for No. 1 in the ATP Race to London. This is the third straight year Nadal has left Roland Garros at the top of the race. Djokovic is currently in second place with Federer third.

He extended the Big 3’s winning streak at Grand Slams to 10. Nadal, Federer and Djokovic have won every major since the start of 2017. It’s the trio’s third-longest streak after 18 in a row from 2005 Roland Garros to 2009 Wimbledon, and 11 from the 2010 Australian Open to 2012 Wimbledon.