Although initially considered only a clay specialist, Rafael Nadal has gradually proven to be extremely competitive on all surfaces, becoming the first player in history to hold (twice) three Slam titles on grass simultaneously, hard court and clay, and winning 9 Masters 1000, 5 Slam and the Olympic gold medal on hard court.
He has won 12 times at the French Open, 11 times at Monte Carlo and Barcelona, and nine at Rome. Only two players have managed to defeat Rafael Nadal on the Parisian clay of the Roland Garros. Novak Djokovic outclassed Nadal with a 7-5, 6-3, 6-1 victory in the quarterfinals of the 2015 French Open.
He became only the second man after Robin Soderling to defeat Nadal in Paris. “Revisionist history is easy. It’s easy for me to sit here and say I wasn’t that surprised,” former World number 1 Andy Roddick said in an interview with Tennis Channel.
“At the time I was in. What shocked me was the way it went down. If I remember the scoreboard correctly, it was like a 5, 3, and 1. I had never in my life seen Rafa just go away in a match like he did against Novak. I’m going, oh no, is there a changing of the guard a little bit here?” he added.
“I never in my life would expect Rafa Nadal to be dominated in the best of 5 match at a Grand Slam." The 19-time Grand Slam champion has won 85 career titles overall, including the most outdoor titles in the Open Era (83) and a record 59 titles on clay. With 81 consecutive wins on clay, Nadal holds the record for the longest single-surface win streak in the Open Era.