The King of Clay lifted his 11th Monte Carlo Masters title after a thumping win against Kei Nishikori. With it, Rafael Nadal also clinched his 31st Masters 1000s trophy, the highest among any player in tennis history.
Only three times has the Monte Carlo Masters not been won by Nadal since his first win in 2005. Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka have eked out a three wins between them to arrest Spaniard’s dominance at the event.
After achieveing the “La Decima” at Monte Carlo last year – when became the first man in the Open Era to win 10 tournament titles – Nadal set new records with the win against Nishikori. This was his 36th consecutive set win on clay, a feat he has never achieved before.
Despite his many injuries, his latest being earlier this year. Nadal is arguably the strongest he’s ever been on the surface and his drubbing of the competition at Monte Carlo is proof.
He’s also the most successful tennis player on clay with 54 career titles, which he could extend further with the clay season just beginning.
Title statistics usually tend to favour hard court players since there are more chances to win because of the high number of hard court tournaments through the season. But for the clay specialists it’s all condensed in part of the year, which makes Nadal’s achievements on clay that much more impressive.
Nadal wins 92% of his matches on Clay, a phenomenal record. In his entire career, he’s won 396 matches on the surface and lost only 39. The only player who has a similar success rate was Bjorn Borg. The Swede won 86% of his matches on clay.
Even comparing Nadal’s success on clay to others on different surfaces, the Spaniard stands out.
Against players who’ve won atleast five tournaments, he’s playing a better rate than anyone else.
Alhough Roger Federer has racked up fewer losses on grass, his win percentage of 87% on the surface is relatively lower than Nadal’s on clay.
So as he makes his way to Barcelona, and then the Masters at Rome and Madrid, before the coup de grace at Roland Garros, every player on the tour might just be fighting for the runner-up trophy. As for the King of Clay, after his withdrawal at the Australian Open and long-off, the part is just starting on his favuorite surafce.