When Rafael Nadal entered an exclusive 'Club 450'

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When Rafael Nadal entered an exclusive 'Club 450'

With ten Masters 1000 crowns and six Majors on his tally, Rafael Nadal is one of the most decorated players on this surface in the Open era. Nadal secured the milestone 500th ATP win on hard court in the Australian Open semi-final, and he is yet to lose a match in 2022, winning all 14 encounters and seeking the third title in Acapulco.

As we all know, Nadal is the greatest clay-courter in tennis history, standing way above his rivals with 13 Roland Garros titles and an incredible record on the slowest surface. If he maintains his usual level on the slowest surface, Nadal should achieve his 500th ATP on clay in 2023 and set the record that will hardly be matched.

Before becoming the only player with 500 wins on hard and clay, Rafa had written history as the only player in the 'Club 450' in Barcelona last year. Already having that many triumphs on hard, Nadal delivered his 450th ATP victory on clay against Cameron Norrie in the quarter-final.

Rafael Nadal stands as the only player with 450 ATP wins on hard and clay.

Nadal came to Barcelona with 447 wins on clay and became the third player in the Open era with 450 after Guillermo Vilas and Manuel Orantes, with no one to join them in the years to come.

To make things even more impressive, Rafa required under 500 encounters to celebrate his 450th ATP clay-court win, in another testimony of his greatness. The ultimate king of clay has not played too many tournaments on his beloved surface, especially after becoming one of the world's leading players.

Rafa had stayed focused on Roland Garros, three Masters 1000 events and Barcelona in those seasons when he had no troubles with injuries, missing a chance to win many more clay-court titles. Last year, the Spaniard came to Barcelona following the quarter-final loss in Monte Carlo, eager to go further and chase the title.

Seeking the 12th trophy on the court that carries his name, Nadal did not play well against Ilya Ivashka and Kei Nishikori in the opening matches, losing a set against both rivals but advancing into the last eight. Rafa played better against Cameron Norrie and defeated him 6-1, 6-4 in an hour and 34 minutes.

Nadal hit 22 winners and 17 unforced errors to deliver his 64th Barcelona win from 68 encounters. Rafa lost serve once and produced four breaks that carried him towards the 450th ATP victory on clay and a massive achievement.