Since the beginning of the Open Era in 1968, 12 players have won at least 60 ATP titles. Rod Laver, Jimmy Connors, Ilie Nastase and Bjorn Borg were the first players to accomplish that feat, followed by other modern tennis greats and with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic as the latest additions to that exclusive roster.
Winning 60 ATP titles is a master class achievement, but it gets even more impressive when we talk about so many trophies on one surface! Roger Federer was the first player to achieve that in the Open Era, securing the most common hard surface record.
Novak Djokovic joined him on the exclusive roster when he won the crown at Cincinnati in August last year, with all eyes on Rafael Nadal, who entered the restarted season with 59 ATP crowns on clay. Unable to pursue the elusive title this spring due to the coronavirus, Rafa had two chances to clinch the 60th ATP title on clay in September and October, entering Roma and Roland Garros as the defending champion.
In the Italian capital, the Spaniard lost in the quarterfinals to Diego Schwartzman, having one last chance in Paris in the pursuit of at least an ATP crown on clay for the 17th consecutive season! With no room for mistakes, Nadal delivered his best tennis at his beloved Roland Garros, winning the title 13 of 16 trips to Paris and joining Roger Federer in 20 Majors.
Thus, Nadal became the first player with 60 ATP trophies on the slowest surface, adding another huge milestone to his astonishing success in Paris.
Woodbridge speaks about Nadal
Rafael Nadal will return to action at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi in December, as the Spaniard gears up for the 2022 Australian Open.
Nadal recently expressed his desire to compete in Melbourne, fitness permitting, as he looks to take sole possession of the Grand Slam record. "One thing (that) stood out to me is that Novak has been laid the challenge from Rafael Nadal," Todd Woodbridge told 2GB's Wide World of Sports.
"Now, the challenge within that is, 'does he win the tournament and take 21 (major wins) and get back in front?' Does Novak want to let him do that? I'm sure he won't want (Nadal) to be in that position, so at some point Novak is going to have to make that call (as to whether he gets vaccinated)."
According to Woodbridge, Djokovic must decide quickly whether he wants to participate in the season's opening Slam or not. "Novak – he continues to keep us guessing. But, in the end, it's only building pressure on him to make a decision one way or the other. And – who knows? – maybe he already has," he said.