In 2001, when a 16-year-old Rafael Nadal – a long-haired teen from Mallorca – elected to turn professional, he was touted to have a big future. Now 19 years later, aged 34, he has become only the fourth man to have won 1,000 tour matches.
He joins the exclusive club that till date included just Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl and Roger Federer.
“One very negative thing about getting 1,000 wins is you’re very old,” he said lightly, after claiming Feliciano Lopez as his 1,000th scalp, in his opening match of the Paris Masters on Wednesday. “To win one thousand matches, you need to have a very long career. But, super happy, to arrive at that number means I did a lot of things well for a long time.”
A month ago Nadal created history by becoming the second male player to win 20 Grand Slam titles – taking him level with Federer’s tally. But getting to the 1,000-win mark is indeed a testament to his longevity.
91.8% success on clay
The Spaniard, who has been virtually unbeatable on clay has raked up 445 wins out of 485 matches played on the red dirt – winning 60 titles along the way. Percentage wise, 91.8, it’s been his most successful surface. The most wins for him though have come on hard surfaces, with a 481-135 record, along with 22 titles. Meanwhile, the two-time Wimbledon champion has a 71-20 record on grass, as well as a 2-6 record on indoor carpet surfaces (which have not been used since 2009). In total, he’s won 84 tour level titles from the 1,000 matches.
Third-best on clay
Nadal has rightly won the moniker of being the ‘King of Clay.’ Remarkably though, he’s third on the list of men’s players in the Open Era with most number of wins on clay courts. Nadal’s tally of 445 is less than compatriot Manuel Orantes’ record of 555 and Argentina’s Guillermo Vilas’ 681 wins. However, Nadal’s winning percentage on the red dirt, 91.8, is far superior than Orantes (77.1) and Vilas (79.7). Nadal’s record at the French Open, the only clay court Grand Slam, is an astounding 98 percent – 98 wins from 100 matches, including 13 titles.
Best winning percentage
Among all the men’s singles players in the Open Era, Nadal has the highest winning percentage. With 1000 wins and 201 losses, he has a 83.3 percent win rate. That’s better than World No 1 Novak Djokovic’s 83.1 percent win rate (932 wins and 190 losses), Bjorn Borg’s 82.4 percent tally (654 wins and 140 losses), and also Federer’s 82.1 percent rate (1242 wins and 271 losses).
Most success vs Djokovic
In his 19 year career, Nadal has beaten Djokovic 27 times – his most number of wins against any opponent. He’s also won 26 against Spaniard David Ferrer, 24 against Federer and 20 against retired Czech player Tomas Berdych. He’s also beaten three-time Grand Slam champions Stan Wawrinka and Andy Murray 19 and 17 times respectively.
Most titles: Connors
So far, the American has the record of winning the most number of tour level matches, 1274 wins to 283 losses, and most number of titles, 109. He played and won most of his matches on hard courts, holding a 489-99 record with 43 titles. His next most successful surface was the indoor carpet, where he won 45 titles with a win loss record of 392-83.
Hard-court king: Lendl
The Czech Republic-born American was only the second player to have won 1000 matches, finishing his career in 1994 with a tally of 1068 wins to 242 losses. Often considered the player to have introduced the physical aspect into the sport, Lendl was an avid clay courter, winning 329 matches on clay. But he wasn’t exactly a red dirt specialist, and won most of his matches on hard courts, 400. Lendl’s frustration at not being able to win Wimbledon made him utter the now famous line ‘grass is for cows’ His record on grass: 81-27.
Top on grass: Federer
One of the sport’s greatest players and Nadal’s first ever rival, Federer has a 1242-271 record, and has won 103 titles. He can be ruthless on grass, having won a record eight Wimbledon titles, and overall 187 out of 214 matches on grass courts. This is the record for most number of wins on the surface, but Federer also owns the record for most wins on hard courts, winning 782 matches and losing 154. He’s also picked up 71 hard court titles.
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