What is Rafa Nadal’s record in the French Open? How many titles has he won?
Sadly, we won’t be seeing the “King of Clay” on the courts at Roland Garros this year, but his record will still be there to remind others of his greatness.
Without doubt, there couldn’t be a more apt nickname for Rafa Nadal than ‘King of Clay.’ Indeed, not only has the Spaniard dominated on the red dirt on numerous occasions, but it’s not been limited to just the French Open either. To be clear, Nadal has a record of 474–45 record on the surface which is a staggering 91.3% win rate.
Let’s talk about Rafa Nadal’s insane numbers
That statistic is made even more impressive when considering that the open era of tennis has produced more and more players who are able to adapt to the rigors of the crushed brick, which a generation ago was purely the preserve of clay-court specialists. Some of the finest players in history never managed to unpick the mysteries of the Roland Garros courts, which makes Nadal’s 14 French Open titles unreal. The Spaniard has 22 overall Grand Slam titles.
To put Nadal’s dominance of the sport into context, beating Casper Ruud in 2022 brought Nadal as many French Opens as Pete Sampras had Grand Slams, and he already has more major victories in Paris than Roy Emerson, Rod Laver and Björn Borg achieved overall. Players of the brilliance of Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl and Ken Rosewall all won eight slams each on various surfaces. And few would argue (beyond perhaps Connors) that any of those legendary match-ups through the annals of tennis history were tougher than the rivalry between the Big Three of Nadal, Federer and Djokovic, who combined have won 62 Grand Slams.
Nadal’s crushing French Open record
At the French Open, Nadal’s record is simply demoralizing. On the courts at Stade Roland Garros he has won 112 games and lost only three, against Robin Söderling in 2009 and Djokovic in 2015 and 2021. Prior to this year, Nadal had entered Roland Garros 17 times and failed to win it on just four occasions: in 2016 he was forced to withdraw after the second round due to a wrist injury.
Nadal also holds the longest winning streak in the sport, among men and women, of 81 straight victories on clay between 2005-07, surpassing the great Martina Navratilova’s mark of 74 on all surfaces. Of his 45 losses on the surface, eight have been meted out by Djokovic, while Federer has only managed two. The injured Dominic Thiem perhaps has the measure of Nadal, the Austrian holding a 4-8 record against the world number five, but only seven players have recorded multiple wins against Nadal.
In terms of titles and finals, Nadal also stands head and shoulders above the best in history on clay. He has won 63 of the 70 finals he has contested (88.6%), 14 more than the second-most successful clay-courter of all time, Guillermo Vilas, 23 more than third-placed Thomas Muster and 31 more than the great Borg. Djokovic is the only active player inside the top 10, with 19 clay titles.