How Many Times Has Rafael Nadal Defended the French Open Title?

Published 05/25/2021, 2:01 AM EDT
Rafael Nadal of Spain hugs the Musketeers’ Cup as he celebrates victory following the mens singles final against Dominic Thiem of Austria during day fifteen of the 2018 French Open at Roland Garros on June 10, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)


Tennis star Rafael Nadal is one of the most dominating players on the men’s Tour. There has never been a player like the Spaniard on clay courts. And due to his staggering accomplishments on the red surface, he has earned the tag, “King of Clay.” 

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In his long illustrious career so far, Nadal has won the French Open 13 times. To win a Grand Slam title is every player’s dream, but to win one event on 13 occasions is extraordinary. Out of those 13 titles, he has defended his crown 10 times. From 2006-2008, 2011-2014, and 2018-2020. If he wins it this season, he can further extend his streak. 

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO – APRIL 19: Rafael Nadal of Spain plays a forehand against Guido Pella of Argentinain their quarter final match during day six of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters at Monte-Carlo Country Club on April 19, 2019 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Rafael Nadal record at the French Open is astonishing

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Rafa was unable to defend his title in 2009 when Robin Soderling beat him in the fourth round. After that, in 2015, he lost in the quarterfinal to Novak Djokovic. In the following year, Nadal pulled out before his third-round match due to a wrist injury, thus ending his journey in the 2016 French Open due to unfortunate circumstances. 

However, Rafa’s domination of the clay courts goes beyond the French Open. He has won 12 titles in Barcelona, 11 titles in Monte Carlo, 10 titles in Rome, and five titles in Madrid. To date, he has won 51 titles on clay. His numbers speak for themselves and these are some statistics that may never be repeated again. 

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BARCELONA, SPAIN – APRIL 24: Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates defeating Leonardo Mayer of the Argentina during the round of 32 match on day two of the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell at Real Club De Tenis Barcelona on April 24, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

At the age of 34, the Spanish athlete is yet going strong and looks determined to add to his tally. In the current season, although he did not impress with his results in Monte Carlo and Madrid, he still won the titles in Barcelona and Rome. 

The French Open is the last big clay-court event of the season. It begins from May 30 onwards and will end on June 13. The 13-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal is tipped as the favorite to win another title in the French capital. It will be interesting to see how he fairs this season. 

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Rohan Kollare

698 articles

Rohan Kollare is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. Rohan has a post-graduate diploma in Sports Management and a trophy cabinet adorned with accolades won in district and state-level tennis competitions. He has previously worked in Content Operations for Disney’s Hotstar for over a year, covering tennis and Formula One.

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