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Five Rafael Nadal Records That May Never Be Broken

Rafael Nadal ahead of the ATP Madrid Open.

Rafael Nadal is considered a tennis stalwart and one of the most resilient players in the game. The legendary Spaniard has forged an illustrious career fit to engrave his name in the Hall of Fame and is among the greatest players to pick up a racket.

Ahead of his anticipated tennis return at this week’s Barcelona Open, the 12-time champion hopes that his body will allow him to enjoy the clay-court season one final time. Although he intends to compete beyond this season, physical struggles have forced the former World No. 1 into making 2024 his farewell tour.

Understandably, Nadal might not be the player he once was, but his legacy remains undiluted. On that note, let us reflect on some of the 22-time Grand Slam champion’s unmatched records that may never be broken.

Five Rafael Nadal Records That May Never Be Broken

#1. A staggering 14 French Open crowns

No player has dominated a Grand Slam tournament quite like Rafael Nadal has the French Open. There is simply no superlative that can describe what Nadal has achieved on the Parisian clay. Since making his debut at Roland Garros in 2005, Nadal has astonishingly won the tournament on 14 occasions and owns a remarkable 115-3 record at the tournament. Several tennis analysts opine that if there is a tennis record that will stand the test of time and competition, it is the legendary Spaniard’s trophy haul in Paris.

#2. Longest stay in the world’s Top 10 in singles

While Nadal’s 14 titles at Roland Garros might never be conquered, his jaw-dropping 912-week streak of being ranked in the world’s Top 10 (from April 2005 to March 2013) will probably be out of reach too for any other competitor. For the longest time possible, Nadal did not leave the ATP’s elite group for the best part of 18 years. That was until a debilitating hip injury he sustained at the 2023 Australian Open halted that marvelous run.

#3. Longest single-surface winning streak of 81 wins

Between April 2005 and May 2007, Nadal won 81 straight matches on clay. In that timespan, he won 13 trophies and defeated at least 50 players. It was his longtime rival Roger Federer who snapped that run in the Hamburg final. Still, it remains the longest single-surface win streak in the Open Era.

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#4. Most Masters titles before turning 21

Many fine tennis players of the past went their entire careers without winning a single Masters 1000 title. This is the second-highest tournament category on the ATP Tour. As of 2024, Nadal has won the second-most Masters in ATP history with 36. Interestingly, a record nine of those came before his 21st birthday. The closest to that number are Carlos Alcaraz (5) and Novak Djokovic (4), but neither of them will shatter that record.

#5. Won four Grand Slams without dropping a set

For some players, winning one Grand Slam match is a dream. For others, winning a Grand Slam tournament is pure fantasy. How about winning a Grand Slam tournament without losing a single set? Very few names have pulled this off. Now, Rafael Nadal has achieved this on four separate occasions at Roland Garros (2008, 2010, 2017, and 2020). To pad his already ostentatious resume, this is the kind of stat that can only be found in the fiction section of a library cabinet.

Main Photo Credit: Mike Frey-USA TODAY Sports


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