Why Rafael Nadal is better than Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. The Big Three in comparison: in this first article we will try to understand if and why the Spaniard is better than his two great rivals, while In the next articles we will see if Roger or Nole are the bests.
Rafael Nadal is considered one of the greatest tennis players ever, the best in clay-courts history, thanks to his extraordinary success on this surface. There are reasons to believe that Rafa is the best ever, even than Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
His detractors would say: "Federer has won more Slams, Djokovic is ahead in head-to-head and of the 19 Majors won 12 were at the Roland Garros." This is true on the one hand, but there are reasons to believe that he is the best ever.
Let's start with the Slams. Nadal is the only tennis player in history (both men's and women's singles) to have won a Major at least 12 times. He achieved this record at the Roland Garros. He is the second tennis player in history by number of Slams won (19) and with many possibilities to match and exceed Federer's record.
Rafa is the only tennis player in history to have won three Slams on three different surfaces (clay-courts, grass-courts and hard-courts) in the same calendar year (2010). Rafa won at least one Slam in 13 different seasons, ahead of Roger Federer (11), Pete Sampras and Novak Dokovic (10).
At Roland Garros he has a balance of 93 wins and 2 losses, with a success percentage of 97.89, the highest in the history of the four Slams. Also in Paris he reached five times the final without losing a set and he achieved a maximum of 39 consecutive successes.
Nadal is the only tennis player in the Open era who has never lost his service until the quarterfinals (62 consecutive turn of serves won at the 2010 US Open) and the only Spaniard who has won Wimbledon twice. Together with Mats Wilander, he is one of two tennis players to have won at least two Slams on grass-courts, hard-courts and clay-courts and, always together with the Swedish, he is the only player in history to have won the Roland Garros at the first participation (in 2005).
Rafael Nadal and the Super Career Golden Slam
As for the ATP Masters 1000, Nadal holds the record of titles won, 35, ahead of Dokovic (34) and Federer (28). In total he played 51 finals, ahead of Federer and Dokovic (50) and 72 semifinals, better than Dokovic (67) and Federer (66).
He won a total of 384 challenges, better than Federer (381) and Dokovic (355) with the highest winning percentage ever (82.9%). After Don Budge he is the second youngest ever to complete the Career Grand Slam and the youngest tennis player ever (24 years old) to complete the Career Golden Slam.
Nadal is also the youngest tennis player ever to have won the 19th Slam title. Rafa holds the record of titles won on clay-courts (59), with 91.8% of the matches played won and 98.33% of the matches won at the best of the five sets (118-2).
Nadal is the only tennis player in history to have won the four Slams, the Davis Cup and the Olympic gold medal in both singles and doubles, the only one to have won at least 430 matches on two different surfaces (on clay and hard-courts) and the only one to have won at least one ATP tournament per year for 17 consecutive years (from 2004 to 2020), ahead of Federer (15, from 2001 to 2015) and Djokovic (15, from 2006 to 2020).
This may be the answer: with these data we can say that Rafael Nadal is better than Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, but in the next articles we will find out if this is true or not.