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Rublev Races Past Albot In Tour-Leading Paris Win

  • Posted: Nov 04, 2020

Andrey Rublev’s torrid run showed no signs of cooling off as the fifth-seeded Russian raced through his Paris Rolex Masters opener in straight sets to claim his 40th win of the year.

Rublev arrived in Paris after back-to-back wins in the last two tournaments he’s played at the St Petersburg Open and Erste Bank Open in Vienna, amassing an impressive 15 wins in a row at ATP 500 events dating back to his victory at the Hamburg European Open in September.

The fifth seed continued to impress in his second-round clash against lucky loser Radu Albot, needing under an hour to record a dominant 6-1, 6-2 victory. Rublev didn’t face a break point as he blasted 28 winners past Albot, winning 91% of points behind his first serve to book a spot in the third round.

It’s a tour-leading 40th victory of the season for the 23-year-old Russian, who booked his spot at the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time after claiming a tour-leading fifth title of the year in Vienna. Rublev now leads Novak Djokovic in both counts, with the World No.1 recording 39 wins and four titles in 2020.

Rublev awaits the winner between No. 12 seed Stan Wawrinka and Tommy Paul as he seeks a spot in the quarter-finals in Paris.

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Rafa's Key Wins Through Each 100 Wins Milestone

  • Posted: Nov 04, 2020

It was 18 seasons ago that Rafael Nadal sealed his first victory on the ATP Tour. Back then, at 15 years of age, he had just begun building a legacy that today makes him one of the only four players in the Open Era to become a ‘millennial’. The Spaniard, alongside Jimmy Connors, Roger Federer and Ivan Lendl, is now one of the few players to have produced 1,000 wins in his career.

This analysis offers a breakdown of the legendary achievement: when, where and against whom the Balearic Islander produced every hundred triumphs, as well as how many matches it took him to do it.

Nadal every 100 wins

Win Opponent Tournament
 1  Ramón Delgado  Mallorca 2002
 100  Hugo Armando  Stuttgart 2005
 200  Juan Martín del Potro  Miami 2007
 300  Ivo Karlovic  Queen’s 2008
400   Tomas Berdych  Davis Cup Final 2009
 500  Ivan Dodig  Barcelona 2011


 Juan Martín Del Potro  Indian Wells 2013
 700  Martin Klizan  Wimbledon 2014
 800  Thomaz Bellucci  Rio Olympics 2016
 900  Richard Gasquet  Roland Garros 2018
 1000  Feliciano Lopez  Paris 2020

Players Winning 1,000th Match

 Player  Tournament  Opponent
 Jimmy Connors  1984 Los Angeles (Third Round)  Tom Gullikson
 Ivan Lendl  1982 Sydney Indoors (Second Round)  Brett Steven 
 Roger Federer  2015 Brisbane (Final)  Milos Raonic
 Rafael Nadal  2020 Paris-Bercy (Second Round)  Feliciano Lopez


From 29 April 2002 to 20 July 2005, Nadal needed 137 matches spread over three years and three months to pick up his first 100 victories on the ATP Tour. It was during this first venture on tour, when he was still a teenager, that he reached several milestones; his first victory in Mallorca 2002 (v. Ramón Delgado), his first win over a Top 10 player at the 2003 ATP Masters 1000 in Monte Carlo (vs. No. 7 Albert Costa), his first win at a Grand Slam at Wimbledon 2003 (vs. Mario Ancic), his first win over a No. 1 in the 2004 ATP Masters 1000 in Miami (vs. Roger Federer), and his first ATP Tour title in 2004 in Sopot, as well as his first trophies in an ATP Masters 1000 in Monte Carlo 2005 and in a Grand Slam, at the 2005 French Open.

5 memorable wins from 1-100
1 – Mallorca 2002 – vs Ramón Delgado – First ATP victory
29 – Miami 2004 – vs Roger Federer – First win vs a No. 1
40 – Sopot 2004 – vs José Acasuso – First ATP title (Sopot)
75 – Monte Carlo 2005 – vs Guillermo Coria – First ATP Masters 1000 title
93 – Roland Garros 2005 – vs Mariano Puerta – First Grand Slam title

Statistics from 1-100
Matches played: 137
Wins: 100
Losses: 37
Titles: 8


The first time he had to prove himself on tour. Once he had surprised the world with a spectacular 2005, he had to start to defend all of his incredible, precocious feats. And he did just that. Nadal won his first hard-court trophy at the ATP Masters 1000 in Canada, lifted what is still to this day the only title on indoor hard court in his cabinet at the ATP Masters 1000 in Madrid and claimed the title twice at the same tournament for the first time at the ATP Masters 1000 in Monte Carlo. During this time, he increased his success rate in matches played to 84.7% (100/118).

5 memorable wins from 101-200
110 – Canada 2005 – vs Andre Agassi – First hard-court title
124 – Madrid 2005 – vs Ivan Ljubicic – Comeback from 0-2 sets
141 – Monte Carlo 2006 – vs Roger Federer – First title defence
159 – Roland Garros 2006 – vs Roger Federer – Second Roland Garros title
167 – Wimbledon 2006 – vs Marcos Baghdatis – First Wimbledon final

Statistics from 1-200
Matches played: 255
Wins: 200
Losses: 55
Titles: 18


Nadal consolidated himself as a strong candidate for taking the No. 1 spot in the FedEx ATP Rankings from Roger Federer. The Spaniard was closing in on Federer in the battle for the top, and winning in Monte Carlo and Barcelona and at Roland Garros was by now a tradition. He reached four titles at each of these venues. At Wimbledon it started to become common to see him in the latter stages of the tournament as his success grew on all surfaces, taking two five-set matches on the London grass against Robin Soderling and Mikhail Youzhny. In total he won 80.4% of the matches played until that point. Against Ivo Karlovic in the quarter-finals at Queen’s, he claimed his 300th win.

5 memorable wins from 201-300
219 – Hamburg 2007 – vs Lleyton Hewitt – Record 81 straight wins on clay
226 – Roland Garros 2007 – vs Roger Federer – Hat-trick in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Paris
232 – Wimbledon 2007 – vs Mikhail Youzhny – Two straight 5-set wins
285 – Barcelona 2008 – vs David Ferrer – One of the 4 finals in which he beat Ferrer
297 – Roland Garros 2008 – vs Roger Federer – First Grand Slam without losing a set

Statistics from 1-300
Matches played: 373
Wins: 300
Losses: 73
Titles: 27


During this period Nadal reached No. 1 in the world for the first time in his career. His assault on the peak came as he opened his account on grass, after winning at Queen’s and two weeks later starring in one of the best matches of all time in the 2008 Wimbledon final against Roger Federer to claim his first cup on the lawns of SW19. Shortly afterwards, at the Cincinnati ATP Masters 1000, he amassed enough points to topple the Swiss from the top spot having chased him for three years. At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, he put the icing on the cake with a gold medal. His 400th win came in December 2009 against Tomas Berdych in the Davis Cup Final.

5 memorable wins from 301-400
309 – Wimbledon 2008 – vs Roger Federer – Best win of his career?
317 – Cincinnati 2008 – vs Nicolás Lapentti – Becomes ATP World No. 1
323 – Beijing Olympics 2008 – vs Fernando González – Olympic gold medal
344 – Australian Open 2009 – vs Roger Federer – Champion in Australia
376 – Madrid 2009 – vs Novak Djokovic – Longest Masters 1000 match

Statistics from 1-400
Matches played: 491
Wins: 400
Losses: 91
Titles: 36


In the three previous stages Nadal needed 118 matches to reach a century of wins, but during this period from December 2009 to April 2011, he reduced this number to 114. In other words, Nadal increased his win percentage to 87.7%, figures that would lead him to string together Roland Garros, Wimbledon and US Open titles in the same year (2010), making him the seventh man in history to win each of the four Grand Slam titles. His 500th win came in the semi-finals in Barcelona 2011 against Ivan Dodig.

5 memorable wins from 401-500
432 – Madrid 2010 – vs Roger Federer – Tournament champion on clay and hard court
439 – Roland Garros 2010 – vs Robin Soderling – Fifth Roland Garros title
448 – Wimbledon 2010 – vs Tomas Berdych – Second Wimbledon title
460 – US Open 2010 – vs Novak Djokovic – Completes career Grand Slam
472 – Nitto ATP Finals 2010 – vs Andy Murray – First final in this tournament

Statistics from 1-500
Matches played: 605
Wins: 500
Losses: 105
Titles: 44


At Roland Garros he would break Bjorn Borg’s record of six titles with another Musketeers Trophy in 2012, beating Novak Djokovic on three consecutive occasions (Monte Carlo, Rome and Paris), after seven straight defeats against the Serb. From then on he endured one of his most difficult periods, due to an injury that forced him out of the game for the second half of 2012, but this was not enough to prevent him from producing yet more outstanding stats. On his return in February 2013 he strung together four finals on the trot, with a 17-1 record and put the cherry on the cake with the trophy at the Indian Wells ATP Masters 1000. He sealed his 600th professional win against Juan Martín del Potro in the final.

5 memorable wins from 501-600
515 – Roland Garros 2011 – vs Roger Federer – Equals Borg with six Roland Garros titles
563 – Monte Carlo 2012 – vs Novak Djokovic – Break a seven-loss streak against Novak
581 – Roland Garros 2012 – vs Novak Djokovic – Seventh Roland Garros title
590 – Sao Paulo 2013 – vs David Nalbandian – Title after a long, complicated injury
600 – Indian Wells 2013 – vs Juan Martín del Potro – 17-1 record in 2013

Statistics from 1-600
Matches played: 723
Wins: 600
Losses: 123
Titles: 53


Nadal’s most dominant spell. To earn 100 more victories, he would only need 113 matches, increasing his success rate to 88.4% from April 2013 to June 2014. He claimed three more Grand Slams, extending his dominance of Roland Garros with nine Musketeers Trophies. In the 2013 semi-final, he would come out on top of an epic battle against Djokovic that would end 9-7 in the fifth set after four hours and 37 minutes. However, one of his most memorable performances would have to wait until the US swing, where he did not lose a single match in Canada, Cincinnati or at the US Open (17-0). His 700th victory came in the first round of Wimbledon 2014 against Martin Klizan.

5 memorable wins from 601-700
625 – Roland Garros 2013 – vs Novak Djokovic – Epic win, 9-7 in the fifth
636 – Cincinnati 2013 – vs John Isner – Canada + Cincinnati double
643 – US Open 2013 – vs Novak Djokovic – Completes US swing with 17-0
648 – Beijing 2013 – vs Tomas Berdych – Back to No. 1
699 – Roland Garros 2014 – vs Novak Djokovic – Nine Roland Garros titles

Statistics from 1-700
Matches played: 836
Wins: 700
Losses: 136
Titles: 64


June 2014 until August 2016 proved to be the least prolific spell of his career. In a little under two years he ‘only’ claimed five ATP Tour titles, enduring a two-season drought in the Grand Slams (2015-16). It was also the period in which he needed the most matches (132) to reach 100 wins, since his early years on tour when he had to play five more times to make a century (137). During this period, Nadal was plagued by fitness problems and only through his ability to fight against adversity was he able to hang on to a place in the Top 10. His 800th win came at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in the quarter-finals against Thomaz Bellucci, earning himself a chance of claiming a medal, something he failed to do.

5 memorable wins from 701-800
717 – Buenos Aires 2015 – vs Juan Mónaco – First title in nine months
739 – Stuttgart 2015 – vs Viktor Troicki – First title on grass since 2010
745 – Hamburg 2015 – vs Fabio Fognini – Holds on to the Top 10
789 – Barcelona 2016 – vs Kei Nishikori – Two consecutive titles for the first time in three years
800 – Rio Olympics 2016 – vs Thomaz Bellucci – Plays for an Olympic medal again

Statistics from 1-800
Matches played: 968
Wins: 800
Losses: 168
Titles: 69


Nadal completed a spectacular recovery that enabled him to reclaim the World No. 1 spot several more times. At the 2017 Australian Open he confirmed that he was back to his best, reaching his first Grand Slam final since 2014. From then he restamped his authority on clay with a 24-1 record in 2017, allowing him to claim his 10th crowns at the ATP Masters 1000 in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and at Roland Garros. He also, once again, made it two Grand Slams in a season by winning the US Open, something that hadn’t happened since 2013. He picked up victory No. 900 against Richard Gasquet in the third round of 2018 Roland Garros. His career win percentage was at 82.7%.

5 memorable wins from 801-900
814 – Australian Open 2017 – vs Grigor Dimitrov – First Slam final since 2014
835 – Barcelona 2017 – vs Dominic Thiem – 10 in Monte Carlo and Barcelona
849 – French Open 2017 – vs Stan Wawrinka – 10 titles and a 24-1 record on clay
862 – US Open 2017 – vs Kevin Anderson – Third title in NYC; Two Grand Slam titles in 2017
897 – Rome 2018 – vs Alexander Zverev – Comes back and recovers No. 1

Statistics from 1-900
Matches played: 1,088
Wins: 900
Losses: 188
Titles: 78


In the latest step of his career Nadal again needed 113 matches (as he did in 2013-14) to reach a century of wins, but if one thing set this period apart from the rest, above all it is quality. Nadal only played in higher-category tournaments and the wins almost all came in ATP Masters 1000 and Grand Slams. So much so that between May 2018 and November 2020 he picked up eight titles: Four Grand Slams, three ATP Masters 1000 and an ATP 500. In the last edition of Roland Garros, he stretched his record for the most titles won at one event to 13, as well as equalling Roger Federer on the most Grand Slams won (20) to date.

5 memorable wins from 901-1,000
909 – Wimbledon 2018 – vs Juan Martín del Potro – Epic win in 5th set
944 – Rome 2019 – vs Novak Djokovic – Breaks his streak of 9 months without a trophy
951 – Roland Garros 2019 – vs Dominic Thiem – 12th title in Paris vs. Thiem
966 – US Open 2019 – vs Daniil Medvedev – Consecutive titles in Canada + NYC, 10-0 in North America
1000 – Paris 2020 – vs Feliciano Lopez – Fourth player to reach 1000 match wins

Statistics from 1-1,000
Matches played: 1,201
Wins: 1,000
Losses: 201
Titles: 86

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Francisco Roig: A Lifetime With Nadal

  • Posted: Nov 04, 2020

Francisco Roig has been working with Rafael Nadal since the year 2005, when the Spaniard had yet to win his first Grand Slam. As a result, the Catalonian coach has experienced the vast majority of the No. 2 FedEx ATP Ranked player’s victories, including the one he claimed today in the first round of the Paris Rolex Masters against Feliciano López, his 1000th win as a professional.

Roig spoke to to look back at some of his best memories of Nadal’s legendary career.

In terms of his tennis, how has Nadal changed from when you started working with him in 2005 to today?
In terms of tennis, if he hadn’t evolved, it would have been difficult to stay in a position to win the Grand Slam tournaments. Before, his age allowed him to play in a more repetitive fashion, with less variation and a mobility that I have not seen in anyone. He was aware that his game needed to evolve. Doing that when you’re number one in the world is complicated.

Today, Rafa has two main characteristics: he approaches the net much more and moves his opponent much better. As a result, the points are shorter, and this really benefits him, almost more than the long ones. Playing better tennis means you can enjoy the daily work in training and matches more. Of course, the physical side of things can hold you back, but the mental side can also help you stay competitive at his age.

And personally?
He is still just as hyperactive. It’s one of his quirks. He always has to be doing things. He’s in his room on his computer, watching the TV and playing Ludo with his family over the phone. Obviously, facing competition when you are young means you are less aware. Everything is new and it’s easier to handle the pressure. Now it’s more difficult. He’s in a group of players who cannot ever lose when they take to the court.

Apart from that, he is a person who likes to know about everything that’s happening in life. He’s gradually learned things for himself and become cultured. Some athletes aren’t really interested in that, but Rafa has a great interest in what’s going on in the world, even concern.

Did you ever think he could become one of the best tennis players of all time?
It’s a very difficult achievement. When you start out, you’re not thinking of being the best in history or winning 20 Grand Slams. Rafa is a very prudent person in terms of talking about what he can achieve. He is fully aware of how difficult it is to win a Grand Slam.

Being by his side, watching everything, you can’t help but think that his limits are very high. I used to talk to him about numbers, and he always guessed low. Kind of like he was expecting to have a good career, but not as exceptional as the one he is producing.

What surprises you most about today’s Nadal?
It’s complicated. The thing I’ve valued most about Rafa is his humility, the ability to keep listening and keep improving. Or being able to win points with few weapons because he’s not playing his best tennis. And then he has something that’s very good in tournaments; when he finds his game, it’s rare that he loses it. And the consistency of so many years without leaving the Top 10. Even the year when he was struggling, when he found it mentally difficult to compete, he was the only one who didn’t drop out of the Top 10.

And the biggest challenge you have faced as his coach?
I have always tried to instill in him that I like tennis moving forwards. I noticed it when we used to train. I would make him do it a little more than he liked. He would argue with what I wanted, but that’s good, and it sounded crazy to him. And when he beat Medvedev it was one of his most important weapons. I’ve told him that the next step is to serve and immediately approach the net. In general, when I’ve been with him at tournaments, I’ve tried to make him see that he has to go forward more. He hasn’t always agreed. Not because he didn’t believe it, because maybe he wanted to keep the feeling of not making mistakes. With time, he’s done it and it’s a significant change. Rafa is a person who, if he decides to do something new, he can achieve it.

Today he reached 1000 ATP Tour wins. Which is your favourite?
Of course, the Grand Slam tournaments are different. The first final when he beat Federer at Wimbledon was very special, or the one he took against Djokovic at Roland Garros in 2014, but I would choose two wins at Masters 1000 tournaments.

At Indian Wells in 2013, when he was coming off the back of a knee injury. When we got there, he told me that he would be happy if he could play a couple of matches pain free. He beat Del Potro in the final. I remember hugging Rafa Maymó and him, and we felt a very special feeling.

Last year in Rome he beat Djokovic after a few months of really struggling mentally. He was very happy in the locker room. Rafa is a person who very rarely gets overexcited in terms of expectations. He’s very cautious. But after beating Djokovic that day it looked very good for Roland Garros. Really, it wasn’t winning a Masters 1000, it was taking a very important step.

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The Challenge Of Facing Nadal

  • Posted: Nov 04, 2020

Why is it so difficult to defeat Rafael Nadal? More than 10 ATP Tour players who have first-hand experience have tried to solve the puzzle, and they all agreed that facing the Spaniard is one of the biggest challenges in the history of this sport. Only a few lucky men have managed to defeat him in the over 1,200 matches he has contested throughout his career, with a return of eight wins from every 10 outings (83.3%).

An unbreakable attitude, intensity from the entrance tunnel through to the final point, an iron mentality and a supernatural talent for playing tennis are just a few of the answers as Carlos Moyà, Juan Carlos Ferrero, David Ferrer, David Nalbandian, Guillermo Coria, Albert Costa, Tommy Robredo, Nicolás Almagro, Roberto Bautista Agut, Marc López and Ramón Delgado – Nadal’s first victim – offer their opinions to

It all started on 29 April 2002, the day that Nadal opened his account of wins. “He was a kid with special qualities; the attitude, the enthusiasm he put into the match and a different mentality. His ability to handle difficult moments is unique,” said Paraguayan player Delgado, who was powerless as a 15-year-old Nadal beat him in Mallorca for his first ATP Tour win.

One year later, Albert Costa, then the World No. 7 and defending French Open champion, met Nadal in the second round of the ATP Masters 1000 in Monte Carlo. The boy from Manacor was 16 and yet to break into the Top 100. 

“Rafa was starting out on tour and I had heard people speak of him,” said Costa. “He surprised me. I saw that he had tremendous grit and I started to worry, because I could see that he was playing better than I was really expecting. His concentration was what stood out to me. From the first point until the last, he was 100% focused. It was incredible that being so young he was able to play every point with the same intensity.”

A month later in Hamburg, one of Nadal’s current coaches Carlos Moyà, found himself opposite the young gun for the first time. Nadal picked up his sixth victory on the German clay against the World No. 4, and just his second career win against a Top 10 player. “When he beat me he was very shy, very nervous and he told me he was sorry,” Moyà recalled “I also understood that it would be the first of many times he would beat me. I already knew him and I knew he was going to be a great player. He showed me that he had what you have to have to beat a player in the Top 10, and he has produced everything that he promised back then, and more.”

Nadal continued on the path he set out on as a teenager until claiming his 1000th win this season as one of the best players of all time. One of his closest friends, colleagues and rivals, David Ferrer, with whom he enjoyed a great rivalry between 2004 and 2019, explains why he is so hard to beat. 

“From before you go out on court it is already a roller coaster, because he’s already warming up and jumping and on a mental level it is a little deflating,” Ferrer explained “You know that he will make you play until the final point. Rafa is mentally the best there has ever been. I can’t speak of other players I didn’t play with, but of the ones I’ve seen, there is no equal.”

Nadal’s countryman knows exactly what he is talking about. In the 32 matches they played, he was only able to win six. “Even when you win the first set, which was very rarely for me, you know that Rafa will come back. No matter how badly he’s playing, I knew I’d have to play my best tennis. I’ve never seen him lose his head, I’ve never seen a match in which you don’t have to beat Rafa right up to the last point. That says a lot about him, because he is the best in history in terms of preparation, mentality and never giving up. He always looks for a solution.”

Another player with whom Nadal had an intense ATP Head2Head in the early years of his career was Guillermo Coria, who agreed with Ferrer. “He has a 100% winning mentality. You don’t see a single match where he doesn’t fight from leaving the locker room until the final point. Whether you’re playing well or badly, he is always at full throttle, fist pumping, spurring himself on, going through his rituals. It’s very difficult to beat a player with that mentality, which also goes along with the physical aspect and tennis ability. It’s impossible.”

It was against the Argentinian that Nadal started to build his legend in the ATP Masters 1000 at Monte Carlo and Rome in 2005. Despite the Spaniard winning in both finals, Coria has positive memories of both encounters. “I loved it, because I knew that it was a battle of fitness and tennis ability. It was a game of chess. Every point was endless: you had to win the point five times and it was a spectacular challenge. Winning those endless points was amazing, but it wears you down. If you’re not at 100% in every aspect and you have a little bit of doubt, ciao.”

Juan Carlos Ferrero, one of the three ATP Tour World No. 1s Spain has produced, alongside Moyà and Nadal himself, highlights three aspects that explain the magnitude of the challenge of facing the Mallorca native: “You know that he’s not going to give up on any point, the intensity with which he’s going to play every single point of the match and that mentally he’s not going to give up at any point. They are the three most uncomfortable things you can find in an opponent.”

Ferrero took to the court on nine occasions between 2005 and 2010 against Nadal, and there was one constant. “Against other players, you could hope that they weren’t at their best, that they would make more mistakes or not find their rhythm, but you know those things aren’t going to happen with Rafa because even on a bad day he manages to compete in almost every point, even when his tennis is not its best that day. Rafa is the king of knowing how to adapt to any situation in the match.”

For his part, Tommy Robredo has never managed to beat him in the seven attempts in their ATP Head2Head between 2005 and 2013. “The main difference compared to [Novak] Djokovic or [Roger] Federer is the intensity with which Rafa always hits the ball. It bounces a lot, with great acceleration and that means you are always uncomfortable. That ball Rafa hits means that, even if you are in the right place, it is very difficult to control it and hit it where you want. He has the ability to make you play awkwardly at any time.”

“I think he has one of the best tennis brains of anyone, he always knows where to play to you so that your shot is good for him to attack next time,” Robredo added. “As the years have gone by I think he has improved the aggression, he looks increasingly brave on court.”

In addition to the winning mentality, positive attitude, physical strength and the intelligence to know what shot to play at all times. Robredo pointed out another virtue that makes it even tougher to play Nadal; the wrist of the hand that holds his racquet. “On advantage points, which are the most important, he can start with the wide slice serve that he does so well and with the run-around forehand he sends it back on the other side, which does a lot of damage. He has also improved his cross-court backhand so much.”

David Nalbandian echoed Robredo’s assessment. “Playing against him is different to the rest, because of the way he hits the ball and how he spins it, the spins he generates are different to anyone eels. As he’s left-handed it’s more difficult. In that sense it’s very difficult to play against him, you have to have very good legs to be able to go forward without losing your position and he’ll push you back.”

The Argentinian defeated Nadal the first two times they played. The following five times, it was the Spaniard who came out on top. “The thing that is most noticeable to me is his energy and the stamina to play at that intensity, which is extremely high and he can maintain it for so long. Physically he’s an animal and that’s where he stands out tremendously from the rest. Also the winning mentality he has, of course.”

That mental side that Nalbandian mentions also rings true to Nicolás Almagro. “Rafa doesn’t tire of winning, of improving, he always wants more and all of that makes the difference between him and the rest so big. He is special, hyper-gifted and everything he achieves is within reach of very few,” said the Spaniard, whose Head2Head with Nadal between 2004 and 2017 was 15-1.

“Playing a match with Rafa is an experience that will always push you to the limit,” he continued. “He’s a player that pushes you at all times, from the warm up to the final point. He takes you to a very high level of stress which is difficult to maintain for the whole match, that’s why it’s so difficult to play against him. He’s a player that barely makes any unforced errors, he doesn’t give you anything and to beat him you have to be at 120% on every point and he has to have an average day.”

In more recent times, Roberto Bautista Agut, the No. 2 Spaniard in the FedEx ATP Ranking also points to the statistics being racked up by Nadal. “His numbers are tremendous, but maybe I would highlight that, to reach those numbers, he must have great mental capacity to know how to face, for example, the start of Roland Garros every year. I was fascinated to see how he arrived there this year, he created his plan, honed his game and the final ended as always, claiming number 13. I think that his ability to know how to start each year like the last one didn’t happen is out of this world.”

Marc López also highlighted Nadal’s talent as a doubles player, a discipline in which he has a further 137 wins. “When I play doubles with him, he makes everything easy for me. I’m lucky to have a superstar beside me, I know I have the best player possible. It gives you peace of mind, confidence, he always supports you on bad days and tries to help during difficult moments. He is also someone who, although he is so much better than me, accepts that I may say things to him that I see he could improve on. He has the ability to make you feel good on court, I’m lucky to have played with him.”

These are the words of a tour trying to explain all the keys to the challenge of facing Nadal. A millennial challenge, with almost always the same result.

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Carlos Moyà Chooses His Five Favourite Nadal Matches

  • Posted: Nov 04, 2020

In celebration of Rafael Nadal’s 1000 wins, Carlos Moyà, one of his coaches, chose five favourite matches from his pupil’s career for

2004 Davis Cup Final

He was 17 years old and yet to break into the world’s Top 50, but Nadal was unfazed by the responsibility handed to him by the captains of the Spanish team and he won their second point against the USA in the Estadio La Cartuja in Seville in front of over 24,000 spectators.

His youth and lack of experience at that time did little to get in the way of a hard-won victory over Andy Roddick, 6-7(6), 6-2, 7-6(6), 6-2, to make it 2-0 to Spain, putting them on the brink of the country’s second salad bowl after the one they claimed in 2000. 

Nadal’s win over Roddick, who was then No. 2 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, was something of an introduction to the world for a teenager who would end up making his mark on the history of world sport.

2005 Mutua Madrid Open Final

Nadal arrived in Madrid after an incredible season, with 10 titles up to that point, including his first three ATP Masters 1000s (Monte Carlo, Rome and Canada) and his first Grand Slam at Roland Garros. 

The Spaniard arrived at Casa de Campo to compete in a home event, on indoor hardcourt, and his performance was spectacular. Nadal reached the final without losing a set, defeating Victor Hanescu, Tommy Robredo, Radek Stepanek and Robby Ginepri. In the decider, the Spaniard met Ivan Ljubicic, No. 12 in the FedEx ATP Rankings.

Ljubicic dominated early in the final, winning the first two sets to leave himself just one short of the title. Then, with the fans in the stadium behind him, Nadal started a comeback that culminated in a 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(3) victory after three hours and 51 minutes of intense battle.

The Croat started the tie with a 16-match winning streak, with titles in Metz and Vienna before reaching his first ATP Masters 1000 final in Madrid. However, none of this was enough to prevent Nadal from coming back from 0-2 for the first time in his career and winning his first crown at home.

2008 Wimbledon Final

Believed by many to be the best match in history, it had everything you could ask of a Wimbledon final.

Nadal was thirsty to win having been defeated in his 2006 and 2007 clashes with the Swiss. He made an impeccable start, going 2-0 up to tip the balance of the match firmly in his favour.

Federer, of course, was not about to give in. The Swiss was not ready to end his streak of 5 consecutive titles and 65 unbeaten matches at Wimbledon without a fight. The World No. 1 took the third set in a tie-break, as he did in the fourth, where he saved two match points.

Two rain interruptions and the threat of play being suspended due to a lack of natural light completed the list of ingredients for a magical match that Nadal eventually claimed 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-7(8), 9-7 in four hours and 48 minutes after Federer’s cross-court forehand hit the net, making the Spaniard the champion of Wimbledon for the first time in his career.

2009 Australian Open Semi-Finals

The score says it all; to reach the final of the 2009 Australian Open, Nadal required five hours and 14 minutes to beat Fernando Verdasco 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-6(2), 6-7(1), 6-4.

The thrilling tussle took place in the Rod Laver Arena at Melbourne Park, much to the delight of the stunned fans who attended the match.

For most of the tie, Verdasco pushed Nadal to the limit in a very aggressive match. The Madrid native took the first set of the semi-final. Nadal responded by taking the next two and Verdasco won the fourth to force a decider.

The fifth set, which Nadal claimed after a tremendous battle, was replete with spectacular points to round off an unforgettable match. 

2013 Roland Garros Semi-Finals

It was one of Nadal’s best matches at Roland Garros, something the man himself has acknowledged. To reach the final, the Spaniard beat Djokovic 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7(3), 9-7 in a marathon that lasted four hours and 37 minutes.

Taking Nadal to a fifth set at Roland Garros is no mean feat. Before that season, only John Isner, in 2011, had done so, before eventually losing to the Spaniard. Djokovic would meet the same destiny in 2013. Despite taking it to a fifth set, the Serb finally fell to the eventual champion.

Nadal took the first set and after losing the second he also took the third. Then, Djokovic upped his game to take the fourth set in a tie-break, extending the tie even further.

The match was hanging in the balance, but Nadal eventually raised his arms in celebration of a win over one of his biggest rivals, taking him to another final in the most important tournament of his career.

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Nadal Passes Lopez Test To Enter 1,000-Wins Club

  • Posted: Nov 04, 2020

Rafael Nadal became only the fourth player to earn 1,000 Open Era singles victories on Wednesday, as he opened his title bid at the Rolex Paris Masters with a 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 comeback victory against Feliciano Lopez.

In his first match since he captured a record-extending 13th Roland Garros title last month, Nadal served 16 aces and saved three of four break points to make further history in the French capital. The Spaniard, who is chasing his first title at the Accor Arena, improved to 20-5 at the ATP Masters 1000 tournament.

“[Winning 1,000 matches] means that I am old. That means that I played well for such a very long time, because to achieve that number is because I have been playing well for a lot of years and [that] is something that makes me feel happy,” said Nadal.

“I just can say thank you very much to all the people that helped me and all the people that in any moment of my life helped me to be where I am.”

Nadal joins Jimmy Connors, Roger Federer and Ivan Lendl in the exclusive 1,000 wins club. The 34-year-old earned his maiden tour-level victory at home against Ramon Delgado in Mallorca in 2002.

Most Open Era Singles Wins

Rank Player Wins Years
1 Jimmy Connors 1,274 1970-’95
2 Roger Federer 1,242 Active
3 Ivan Lendl 1,068 1978-’94
4 Rafael Nadal 1,000 Active

Nadal snapped a two-match losing streak against Lopez and improved to 10-4 in his ATP Head2Head series against his countryman. Lopez claimed victories in his past two matches against Nadal at the 2014 Rolex Shanghai Masters and the 2015 Western & Southern Open.

“I started the match in the worst way possible, especially against a big server like Feli,” said Nadal. “After that, I played under a lot of pressure the rest of the match, but I found a way. That’s the main thing… This victory is one that I am very proud of. The personal satisfaction sometimes is bigger when you win these matches than if you go on court and you win 6-3, 6-3.”

Rafael Nadal 1000 wins

Nadal is aiming to capture his first Rolex Paris Masters title. The 2007 runner-up has reached the quarter-finals or better in each of his previous seven tournament appearances.

The top seed’s comeback win marked the second time he has reached a notable win milestone in Paris. Nadal also earned his 900th tour-level victory in the French capital with a third-round win against Richard Gasquet at 2018 Roland Garros.

Rafael Nadal’s Milestone Wins

Win No. Opponent Year Event
1 Ramon Delgado 2002 Mallorca
100 Hugo Armando 2005 Stuttgart
200 Juan Martin del Potro 2007 Miami
300 Ivo Karlovic 2008 Queen’s Club
400 Tomas Berdych 2009 Davis Cup
500 Ivan Dodig 2011 Barcelona
600 Juan Martin del Potro 2013 Indian Wells
700 Martin Klizan 2014 Wimbledon
800 Thomaz Bellucci 2016 Rio Olympics
900 Richard Gasquet 2018 Roland Garros
1000 Feliciano Lopez 2020 Paris

Nadal will face Jordan Thompson for a place in the quarter-finals. The Australian rallied from a set and a break down to overcome St. Petersburg runner-up Borna Coric 2-6, 6-4, 6-2.

The 35-time Masters 1000 titlist opened the match with attacking intent, but he dropped his opening service game after committing multiple errors. Lopez was dominant behind his first serve (14/15) to maintain his advantage and claim the opening set.

Lopez served well under pressure and saved five break points to reach a second-set tie-break. In a close fought-tie-break, Nadal served with confidence and clinched the only mini-break at 3/3 by stepping in on his second serve return and rushing the net.

Nadal raised his game in the third set, as he found greater consistency on his forehand and began to dictate rallies. The Spaniard rushed his opponent by stepping in on his return in the opening game of the decider and claimed his place in the third round when Lopez struck a forehand approach into the net.

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1,000 Wins! The Stats Behind Rafael Nadal's Milestone

  • Posted: Nov 04, 2020

Rafael Nadal earned his 1,000th tour-level match win on Wednesday, defeating Feliciano Lopez to reach the third round of the Rolex Paris Masters. The Spaniard is the fourth player to reach the milestone in the Open Era, joining Jimmy Connors (1,274-283), Roger Federer (1,242-271) and Ivan Lendl (1,068-242).

Nadal leads all players in the Open Era with an 83.3 winning percentage (1,000-201). To celebrate the 34-year-old’s achievement, looks at the stats behind Nadal’s journey to 1,000 victories.

1 – Career-High FedEx ATP Ranking
2 – Wimbledon titles
3 – Tour-level victories before cracking the Top 100 for the first time. The next 997 wins of his career have come from inside the Top 100
4 – US Open titles
5 – Year-end No. 1 finishes
6 – Victories against one of his coaches, former World No. 1 Carlos Moya
13 – Roland Garros titles
15 – Age when Nadal won his first ATP Tour match
16 – Consecutive qualifications for the Nitto ATP Finals from 2005-2020
18 – Age when the Spaniard won his first ATP Tour crown
20 – Grand Slam championships
21 – Victories against the player ranked World No. 1 at the time of their match
22 – Hard-court trophies
24 – Age when Nadal became the youngest player to complete the Career Grand Slam
31 – Number of matches Nadal won at Roland Garros before his first loss at the major in 2009
34 – Top 20 wins as a teenager
35 – ATP Masters 1000 titles
50 – Consecutive sets won on clay during an Open Era record streak that ended at the 2018 Mutua Madrid Open
51 – Combined wins against Roger Federer (24) and Novak Djokovic (27)
55 – Percentage of total points won
56 – Most consecutive weeks at World No. 1
60 – Clay-court titles
69 – Winning percentage in deciding sets (164-73)
70 – Winning percentage in finals (86-37)
71 – Grass-court wins
81 – Consecutive matches won on clay between April 2005 and May 2007. That is a single-surface Open Era record
82 – Most wins in a season (2008)
86 – Tour-level titles
88 – Winning percentage against lefties, the best rate on record (105-15)
90 – Indoor wins
95 – Winning percentage after winning the first set
99 – Wins against players who have reached World No. 1 (99-63)
100 – Wins at Roland Garros
116 – Wins after losing the first set
123 – Tour-level finals
172 – Wins against Top 10 opponents
197 – Wins as World No. 1
209 – Weeks at No. 1 
246 – Tie-breaks won (246-157)
282 – Grand Slam victories
310 – Most aces in a season (2010)
324 – Wins against players who have reached the world’s Top 5 (324-126)
387 – ATP Masters 1000 triumphs
445 – Clay-court triumphs
482 – Hard-court victories
909 – Lowest-ranked player Nadal has beaten in a tour-level match. He defeated Denmark’s Mikael Torpegaard 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 in 2015 Davis Cup action
910 – Outdoor wins
1,000 – Wins

– Statistical assistance provided by Joshua Rey

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Zverev Charges Into Paris Third Round

  • Posted: Nov 04, 2020

Alexander Zverev continued his strong run of indoor form on Wednesday at the Rolex Paris Masters.

The World No. 7 needed just 55 minutes to defeat Miomir Kecmanovic 6-2, 6-2 and extend his winning streak to nine matches. Zverev is attempting to capture his third straight trophy on the ATP Tour after back-to-back title runs at indoor tournaments in Cologne last month.

The 23-year-old is aiming to emulate his coach, 2012 champion David Ferrer, by lifting his first trophy in Paris. Zverev, who owns a 24-8 record in 2020, is through to the third round at the ATP Masters 1000 for the third straight year.

“[David] has great memories of this tournament,” said Zverev. “I hope I can do the same [thing] he did in 2012. We will see how it goes.”


Zverev will face Adrian Mannarino for a place in the quarter-finals. The Nur-Sultan runner-up saved six of seven break points to beat Yoshihito Nishioka 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-3. Fourth seed Zverev owns a 4-0 ATP Head2Head record against the Frenchman, which includes a three-set quarter-final victory at last month’s bett1HULKS Championship.

Of the 20 winners struck in the first set, 18 came from the racquet of Zverev. The German overpowered Kecmanovic from the baseline, particularly on his forehand, to claim the opener in 25 minutes.

Zverev continued to impose his game on Kecmanovic in the second set. The German extracted forehand errors from Kecmanovic and won all nine of his first-serve points to clinch victory in 55 minutes.

London Hopes Murray/Skupski Set Kubot/Melo Rematch
Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski improved their chances of qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals on Wednesday with a 7-5, 7-6(5) win against Hugo Nys and Artem Sitak at the Rolex Paris Masters.

The Vienna finalists won 79 per cent of first-serve points (34/43) to advance to the second round in Paris. Murray and Skupski are currently in seventh position in the FedEx ATP Battle For London.

In their next match, the British pair will meet fellow London contenders Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo. Kubot and Melo claimed their third team title in Vienna last week with a straight-sets win against Murray and Skupski in the championship match.

Max Purcell and Luke Saville’s chances of qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals were dealt a blow when they fell in straight sets on Court 2. Austin Krajicek and Franko Skugor converted five of six break points to eliminate the Australian Open finalists 6-3, 6-3.

Nur-Sultan champions Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen kept their London hopes alive with a 4-6, 7-6(3), 10-8 comeback win against Daniil Medvedev and Jan-Lennard Struff. The Belgians will face second seeds Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares in the second round.

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Finals Contender Schwartzman Moves Into Paris Third Round

  • Posted: Nov 04, 2020

Diego Schwartzman, who controls his own destiny to clinch the final spot at this month’s Nitto ATP Finals, booked his place in the Rolex Paris Masters third round on Wednesday.

The sixth-seeded Argentine snapped a three-match losing streak against France’s Richard Gasquet with a 7-5, 6-3 victory in 84 minutes. Gasquet had previously been 6-0 in sets against Schwartzman, who next plays Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. The Spanish qualifier was a 6-4, 6-4 winner over wild card Benjamin Bonzi of France.

Schwartzman currently sits in the final automatic qualification spot for the Nitto ATP Finals, which will be held at The O2 in London from 15-22 November. If the World No. 9 reaches the Paris semi-finals (among other scenarios), he will qualify for the first time to the season finale.

Schwartzman won the first three games against Gasquet, who began his comeback at 1-4 down and broke in the seventh game of the first set, which turned at 6-5 back in Schwartzman’s favour. Schwartzman again opened up a 3-0 lead in the second set and this time held his nerve.

The 28-year-old now has a 24-11 match record on the season, which includes runner-up finishes at the Cordoba Open (l. to Garin), the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome (l. to Djokovic) and the bett1HULKS Championship in Cologne (l. to Zverev).


Elsewhere, third-seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev was leading 5/2 in the first-set tie-break when Kevin Anderson of South Africa retired with a right leg injury. Anderson had beaten Medvedev 6-4, 7-6(5) in last week’s Erste Bank Open quarter-finals in Vienna.

Medvedev awaits the winner of Australian No. 16 seed Alex de Minaur and Lorenzo Sonego of Italy.

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