Rafael Nadal's 2021 season began in Melbourne, where he beat Laslo Djere, Michael Mmoh, Cameron Norrie and Fabio Fognini at the Australian Open before losing in the quarterfinals to young Stefanos Tsitsipas, after leading two sets to zero.
Arriving in Monte Carlo, the Spaniard defeated Federico Delbonis and Grigor Dimitrov to reserve a place in the quarterfinals, in a challenge with the dangerous Russian Andrei Rublev (Nadal lost). With his latest result at the prestigious Monte Carlo Masters 1000, Rafa has come dangerously close to a Roger Federer and Jimmy Connors record.
Nadal's numbers The former Spanish world number one is the most successful tennis player in the Monte Carlo tournament: he has triumphed eleven times here, from 2005 to 2012 and from 2016 to 2018. He also reached the final in 2013, defeated by Serbian Novak Djokovic with a score of 6-2 and 7-6.
Thanks to his success in the match against Dimitrov, Nadal has moved closer to a record held by Federer and American legend Connors - this is the highest number of quarter-finals ever played in the same ATP event. Rafa, in Monte Carlo, has done it sixteen times: Federer and Connors have done it seventeen, the Swiss in Halle, Wimbledon and Basel; the American at the US Open.
Roger also holds the record for success in his three rounds of the Tour, won between 2003 and 2019. As for Connors, the American won at Flushing Meadows five times: in 1974, 1976, 1978, 1982 and 1983. Rafael Nadal recently spoke to an English daily ahead of his participation at the Barcelona Open Open.
The Spaniard discussed various topics during the interaction, ranging from the Next Gen potentially taking over to the significance of the record for most Grand Slams in tennis.
Rafael Nadal on the Big 3
"Lots of players, young, with power, potential – let’s see what’s going on in the next couple of years," Rafael Nadal said.
"The player who will be able to improve the most will be the player who has better chances to have better success." The trio of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer share a mammoth 58 Majors between them.
While their success seems difficult to emulate, Nadal shot a warning to fans about how the Big 3's tally could also be left behind by a young player in the future. "That puts that in perspective about what we did in the last 15-20 years, it’s something difficult to equal," Nadal said.
"But everyone thought the same about Pete and we did it better. And now, probably there’s going to come someone in the future who is going to do it better than us even if it’s not easy."