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Top 10 Roland Garros match wins in Open Era: Nadal, Graf lead the pack
Rafa, who owns a record 12 French Open titles, could become the first player in the Open Era, male or female, to record 100 career wins at the clay-court major in his next appearance.
Published May 30, 2020
Sometimes the players who lift the trophy get all the glory, but just winning matches at Roland Garros can be a grind—and grinding your way into quarters, semis and finals year after year is no small feat.
With that, here are the players who hold the Top 10 match wins at Roland Garros in the Open Era:
10: Maria Sharapova (56)
Kicking off the countdown is the Russian, whose flat, powerful groundstrokes brought her the other three majors first, but as the years went on, her best major became the French Open. It was the only one she won twice, in 2012 and 2014, and with another final sandwiched in between those title runs in 2013—she won 20 of 21 matches there at one point. She finished with a 56-12 career mark in Paris.
9: Guillermo Vilas (58)
One of the greatest clay-courters of all time, Vilas put together a 58-17 career record at the biggest clay-court tournament of them all, highlighted by winning the first of his four Grand Slam titles there in 1977—he was also a three-time runner-up in 1975, 1978 and 1982. The Argentine ended up reaching the quarters or better nine times at Roland Garros—and 10 times at the other three majors combined.
8: Conchita Martinez (62)
The only player on this list who didn’t actually win the title is Martinez, but she came close, making the final in 2000 before falling to Mary Pierce. The Spaniard was 62-18 on the terre battue, reaching the quarterfinals or better 11 times—including eight straight years from 1989 to 1996. Meanwhile, she reached the quarterfinals or better a total of 12 times at the other three Grand Slams combined.
7: Serena Williams (65)
The 23-time Grand Slam champion’s 65-13 record in Paris is even more impressive given those 65 wins are actually her fewest by far at any of the four majors—she has 87 at the Australian Open, 98 at Wimbledon and 101 at the US Open. Nevertheless, she’s a three-time champion in Paris (2002, 2013 and 2015), and she made a fourth final there in 2016, falling to Garbine Muguruza.
6: Novak Djokovic (68)
Having already won the other three majors by the end of 2011, the Serbian finally completed his career Slam at the French Open in 2016. It capped a decade of “almosts”, as he’d previously been a three-time runner-up, four-time semifinalist and two-time quarterfinalist, falling to a certain Spaniard in six of those nine matches. As of now, he has an incredible 68-14 record on the terre battue.
5: Roger Federer (70)
Like Djokovic, the Swiss got his French Open title almost five years after winning the other three—he’d won the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open by the end of 2004, and lifted the Coupe des Mousquetaires in 2009. His 70-17 record in Paris includes four more finals and three more semifinals, and six of those seven runs came to an end at the hands of, of course, that certain Spaniard.
3 (TIED): Chris Evert & Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario (72)
Many people would guess that Evert would be the highest-ranked woman on this list, but she and Sanchez-Vicario are tied for second-highest with 72-6 and 72-13 records, respectively. The American has the all-time women’s record for most French Open titles, winning it seven times in 1974, 1975, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1985 and 1986, while the Spaniard is a three-time champion in Paris in 1989, 1994 and 1998.
Evert likely would have been a standalone No. 3—and maybe even higher—had she not missed three French Opens to play World TeamTennis in 1976, 1977 and 1978, three of her best years.
2: Steffi Graf (84)
At 84-10, the German holds the women’s record for most wins at Roland Garros in the Open Era. For a long time she even held the overall record, male OR female, and though she was passed in 2018, it's likely nobody else eclipses her 84 career wins for at least a few more years. She was a six-time champion in Paris, winning her maiden major there in 1987 as well as her 22nd and last major there in 1999.
The last three of her 84 wins at the clay-court major were historic in another way, too—by beating No. 2 Lindsay Davenport in the quarters, No. 3 Seles in the semis and No. 1 Martina Hingis in the final, she became the first player in WTA history to beat the Top 3-ranked players at the same tournament.
“I have to say there have been a few unexpected wins, but in terms of where I was in ’99, I think that was probably the most,” Graf said of her 1999 swan song in Paris. “I was coming back from knee surgeries, and for many months I wasn’t playing as well as I could have, and I didn’t really believe in myself as much. So to beat the players I did at the time, it was probably the most unexpected one.”
1: Rafael Nadal (93)
Was there ever any doubt? With a dozen French Open titles in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018 and 2019, the Spaniard is the only player in the history of the sport, male OR female, to win the same major 12 times. And the domination shows in his ridiculous 93-2 win-loss record in Paris, with his only losses coming against Robin Soderling in the fourth round in 2009 and Djokovic in the quarters in 2015. He had to pull out mid-tournament in 2016 due to a wrist injury.
After falling to Nadal in the 2019 final, 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1, Dominic Thiem was asked to describe what happened in the last two sets—and his answer shed some light on why the 19-time Slam champion is 93-2 in Paris.
“After these two sets, I dropped a little bit my level,” the Austrian said. “Then Rafa, who’s won this tournament 12 times, he stepped on me.”
Nadal is closing in on becoming the first player in the Open Era, male or female, to record 100 career wins at Roland Garros. At least one player has achieved the feat at all of the other Grand Slams.