The Unreal Record Of Rafael Nadal That Will Never Get Broken

Published 03/15/2020, 1:22 PM EDT


When the tennis writers of the future will write about dominance, they will certainly start the conversation with one name – “The King of Clay Rafael Nadal”. While so much has been written on his clay exploits, it’s just not enough. To think that there was a man who was unbeatable on a surface to the truest sense of the word, would be a very difficult fact for our successors to believe.

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Nadal grew up around the red dirt. He played on these surfaces as he was an emerging star. However, over the years, stars like Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and many others targeted their entire might in dominating him on the surface. Time and again, the Spaniard made their efforts a joke.

While we can’t talk about all his clay achievements in one article, we look at a specific facet in this article. We will chronicle his historic 81 match winning streak on clay from 2005-2007. Read on to find out the mindboggling facts about his streak.

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Know More – “Rafael Nadal Became A Runaway Beast” – Matt Ebden

The amazing streak of Rafael Nadal

The extraordinary spell started on April 11, 2005, with the Monte Carlo Masters. Still a teenager, Rafa was looking to cast his spell of dominance over the tennis world. He knew that clay was his strong suit and that’s where he began his rise to the top.

His Monte Carlo campaign started with a victory over Gael Monfils. Rafa made history in the finals as he annhilated Argentine Guillermo Coria 6-3, 6-1, 0-6, 7-5. The 18-year-old became the youngest to win a Masters 1000 title in 15 years since Michael Chang in Toronto 15 years ago.

The dream wasn’t over yet. He became the front-page headline again next week. This time, it was the Barcelona Open. Rafa beat his compatriot Juan Carlos Ferrero in the finals.

The big one was approaching. Roland Garros was withing arm’s length now. Before that, the final stop was the Rome Masters. There was no stopping the 18-year-old from Mallorca as he won his third clay-court title in less than a month. The victim in the finals was again the unfortunate Guillermo Coria.

Roland Garros 2005

Finally, Rafa was at the stage of his dreams. However, he was no longer the outsider. People had their eyes on him as he was coming on the back of a 17 match winning streak on clay. He didn’t fail anyone. Rafa breezed through his opening week.

However, in the semis, he faced his greatest challenge yet. The person he faced was to become the most prominent character in the story of his career- the World no 1 Roger Federer. Rafa played like a pro as he dispatched the legend 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. This was just their third encounter against each other with both being tied at 1-1.

In the finals, Rafa had a relatively easy challenge. He faced the unseeded Mariano Puerta. However, Puerta was in no mood to go down without fighting. In fact, he took the first set. Rafa recovered in style as he dominated the rest of the match. His rise to the throne was finally complete as he won his first grand slam.

However, the clay season was not over yet. Rafa capped it off with two titles in Bastad and Stuttgart. He kept his streak intact by winning the two Davis Cup matches held in the clay courts of Spain.

Know More – “We Have A Great Story Together” – Rafael Nadal On Roger Federer

2006 and beyond

As Rafa entered 2006, he had his streak and reputation on clay to defend. The 19-year-old didn’t disappoint as he captured the titles at Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome. The Spaniard also firmaly established himself as the arch nemesis of Roger Federer.

As he lifted his second title at Roland Garros, Federer was his victim in the finals. In fact, Rafa had already defeated Roger Federer in the Monte Carlo and Rome finals. Federer’s dream of claiming all four grand slams was also stalled by Nadal. With his French Open finals victory, Rafa extended his streak to the magical figure of 60.

2007 came and it looked like Rafa will again run through the clay season. Things started out in that vein too. He again won the Monte Carlo Masters, defeating Roger Federer in the finals. Success continued as he won the titles at Barcelona and Rome as well.

However, there was a slight change in his schedule. Before the Roland Garros, he competed at the Hamburg Masters. Things started out well as he again made it to the finals.

This time, his opponent was again the great Roger Federer. In what seemed like poetic justice, Roger Federer ended Rafa’s historic 81 match streak by defeating him in the finals by 2-6, 6-2, 6-0.

We’ll end this article by the emotional quotes of Nadal and Federer post the match.

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Rafael Nadal – “If I have to lose against anyone, then he is the man. I am not sad to lose to the best in the world. Now, I have to start another (streak) “

Roger Federer- “His streak was phenomenal- 81 matches in a row on clay is fantastic. I have a lot of respect for him”.

This rivalry was to define the sport for the next decade.

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Aryan Sharma

982 articles

Aryan Sharma is a WWE and Tennis author and editor at EssentiallySports. Being a journalism graduate from Delhi University, he combines his love for creating content with an astute knowledge of almost three eras of professional wrestling. He's also a Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova fan and likes to write on the social impact of these two legends beyond their achievements on the tennis court.

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