Worst Five Losses in The Career of Rafael Nadal

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Djokovic and Nadal

As the tennis season in Australia curtains down, the US Open 2018 champions continue their reign on their respective circuits in the tennis season 2019. The Australian Open 2019 men’s final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal happened to be a one-sided clash. The world expected Nadal’s revamped serve to be intimidating for Djokovic’s dominance on ATP tour, but however, the Serb continues to enumerate his Grand Slam tally irrespective of the growing competition from his rivals. With that loss, Nadal has conceded one of the appalling major defeats of his career and the other major matches where his performance was unsatisfactory and was defeated in straight sets are as follows.

5. 2015 Roland Garros Quarterfinal: 5-7, 3-6, 1-6 loss to Novak Djokovic 

French Open 2015
Novak Djokovic of Serbia defeated Rafael Nadal of Spain in men’s quarter-final match during the French Open 2015

After Rafa’s Australian Open upset, the Spaniard had to handle a lot more distress. On his 29th birthday, the Serbian, Novak Djokovic halted Nadal’s 39 consecutive victories at Parisian clay since his loss to the Swede, Robin Soderling in 2009. The Court Philippe Chatrier saw off Nadal with empathetic applause. “It’s definitely a big win, a match that I will remember for a long time,” Djokovic said after the match. “You go through more emotions than for any other match. Of course, playing against Rafa in Roland Garros, it’s a special thing. It’s a special match.” With that loss, his win-loss record at the Roland Garros became 86-2.

4. Australian Open 2015 Quarterfinal: 2–6, 0–6, 6-7 loss to Thomas Berdych 

Rafael Nadal vs Tomas Berdych
Berdych won against Spain’s Rafael Nadal

The Czech, Thomas Berdych concluded his streak of losing to Rafa in the last eight stages of the Melbourne major, and previously he lost 17 times to him in a row from 2005 to 2014. The World Number 7 Spaniard, was unfit physically and couldn’t showcase his dominance in the opening two sets. Nevertheless, in the third set he had a wide lead, 5-1, however, the Czech made a swift comeback and pushed the set to the tie-breaker and eventually knocked the Spaniard down.

3. Australian Open 2019 final:  3-6, 2-6, 3-6  loss to Djokovic 

Serbia's Novak Djokovic clinches his seventh title in Melbourne
Australian Open 2019 Men’s Singles Final

Nadal’s revamped serve had given a tough time to the new generation of tennis during the Australian Open 2019, but woefully his serve couldn’t act as a strong weapon against Djokovic in the finals. Djokovic was refusing to stop in the championship match and did not let Nadal win the single break point that he faced during the match. Also, Nadal’s number of unforced errors were more than three times of what Djokovic’s unforced errors were. Ultimately, Djokovic shattered the Spaniard, who did not lose a set in the tournament before reaching the finals and became a seven-time Australian Open champion.

2. Australian Open 2008 Semifinal: 2–6, 3–6, 2–6 loss to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga VS Rafael Nadal
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga defeats Rafael Nadal

In the year 2008, the Frenchman Tsonga was just five Grand Slam tournaments old, and he stamped out the World Number two, Rafael Nadal in the semifinals of the Melbourne major.  Tsonga denied Nadal to play his usual tennis and played the baseline tennis with the Spaniard. The World Number 38, Tsonga slammed 17 aces with his first serve and Nadal could manage to come up with just two of them. The unseeded Frenchman did not face a break point on his serve and sailed into the finals of the Australian Open 2008 in one hour and 57 minutes. 

1. US Open 2009 Semi-final: 2-6, 2-6, 2-6 loss to Juan Martin del Potro 

Nadal and Del Potro
Juan Martin del Potro (left) defeats Rafael Nadal in the US Open 2009 Semi-final

The Argentine, Del Potro, exploded the Spaniard with his massive strokes with his racket on the Arthur Ashe Stadium. Nadal recorded the most inefficient performance in his career at the Flushing Meadows and another straight sets defeat in Grand Slams. During the US Open 2009, the Spaniard was tackling with an adverse abdominal problem. Rafa acceded to win just six games against the 20-year-old from Argentina who made his premier appearance in the Grand Slam finals. In the finals, Del Potro defeated the five-time US Open champion, Roger Federer to clinch his first major title.