A Clay Court Record That Rafael Nadal Can Never Break

Published 01/08/2021, 7:28 AM EST
Rafael Nadal returns a forehand in his match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France on day 5 of the Rolex Paris Masters, part of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 held at the at AccorHotels Arena on November 01, 2019 in Paris, France. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)


Rafael Nadal is universally acknowledged as the king of clay. He is the proud owner of almost all the clay court records, and he has carved a niche for himself on the red dirt. But there is one clay record that the Spaniard might not break in his career.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Nadal has won a record number of titles at the three main clay court competitions. He has won five Madrid Open titles, nine Italian Open titles, and a mammoth 13 French Open titles. Given the statistics, one might think that Nadal has won the most number of clay-court matches in history. But that is not the case.

Rafael Nadal reacts during his semi-final match against Russia’s Daniil Medvedev. REUTERS/Toby Melville

A legend in the 70s, Guillermo Vilas holds the record for the most wins on clay. Vilas has a staggering 681 wins on the clay court, and he has a respectable win percentage of 79%. Nadal, on the other hand, is way behind Vilas.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

In fact, Nadal is third on the list of most clay-court victories. Although Nadal leads the clay court title count, he lags way behind Vilas in terms of match wins. Nadal has won 445 clay-court matches which is 236 match wins behind Vilas.

But first Nadal will have to cross Manuel Orantes, who is second. Orantes has 569 match wins on clay, and that in itself is a tough ask for Nadal.

Why Rafael Nadal might be unable to cross Guillermo Vilas’ record?

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates after winning the 2020 French Open. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Nadal isn’t young anymore. He will turn 35 in 2021 and has only a handful of years left until his retirement.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Nadal is still an elite player but as he gets older, the record will be tough to beat. On an average, Nadal plays 30-40 clay matches a year. This means that he will have to play at his top level for the next six years to beat Vilas’ record of 681.

With Nadal on the wrong side of the 30s, it is tough for Nadal to break Vilas’ record. The 2020 French Open champ might just be able to break Orantes’ record and move to 2nd in the all-time list.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

DIVE DEEPER

“Point Will Open Up for Me”: Coco Gauff Reveals Playing Tactics on Fast Courts of WTA Abu Dhabi 2021

5 months ago

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

Bhavishya Mittal

1071 articles

Bhavishya Mittal is a tennis author for EssentiallySports, who is currently pursuing his Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Manipal University. A former sports editor for The Manipal Journal, Bhavishya has also worked for The New Indian Express. He has a keen eye for many sports but he is a particularly ardent follower of tennis, with a zest to create riveting articles on the ever-evolving sport.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT