Rafael Nadal joins Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in exclusive 'Club 60'

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Rafael Nadal joins Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in exclusive 'Club 60'

Since the beginning of the Open era in 1968, there have been 12 players with 60 ATP titles. Rod Laver, Jimmy Connors, Ilie Nastase and Bjorn Borg were the first players to achieve that feat, followed by other greatest players of modern tennis and with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic as the latest additions to that exclusive list.

To win 60 ATP titles is a masterclass achievement, but it becomes even more impressive when we talk about that many trophies on a single surface! Roger Federer was the first player in the Open era with 60 ATP titles on a single surface, accomplishing that on the most common hard surface.

Novak Djokovic joined him on the exclusive list when he won the crown in Cincinnati in August, with all eyes set on Rafael Nadal who entered the restarted season with 59 ATP crowns on clay. Unable to chase the elusive title this spring due to the coronavirus, Rafa had two chances to grab the 60th ATP title on clay in September and October, entering Rome and Roland Garros as the defending champion.

In the Italian capital, the Spaniard lost in the quarters to Diego Schwartzman, having one last shot in Paris in the quest for at least one ATP crown on clay for the 17th straight season! With no room for errors, Nadal delivered his best tennis at his beloved Roland Garros, conquering the 13th title from 16 trips to Paris and joining Roger Federer on 20 Majors.

Thus, Nadal became the first player with 60 ATP trophies on the slowest surface, adding another massive milestone to his already astonishing Paris accomplishment. Nadal's first ATP title came on clay in Sopot 2004 at 18, dominating the slowest surface like no one before him and winning at least one ATP title on his favorite ground for 17 consecutive seasons.

With a mind-blowing 445-40 score on clay, Nadal has been the player to beat for the last 15 years, lifting 13 Roland Garros trophies and numerous Masters 1000 titles.

Rafael Nadal became the third player with 60 ATP titles on a single surface.

Unlike Djokovic and Federer who have many chances to win titles on hard, Nadal is usually reduced to those five main ATP tournaments on clay in April, May and June, entering the South American swing only after longer breaks due to injuries.

Rafa claimed more than four ATP titles on clay in 2005, 2007 and 2013, increasing his tally year after year and celebrating the 60th at his beloved Roland Garros. At 34, Rafa stormed over the field and won all seven encounters in straight sets, getting broken eight times and controlling the pace on both serve and return.

In the title match, Rafa faced world no. 12 Novak Djokovic and scored a massive 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 victory in two hours and 41 minutes. After two dominant sets, Nadal had to work harder in the third, securing the crucial break at 5-5 and sealing the deal on his serve to wrap up one of the most important triumphs of his incredible career.