Rafael Nadal recently won his eighth straight title at Monte Carlo, in the process being the first player to register 20 tournament wins at Masters 1000 level. Unbelievably he is still only 25! Here are some amazing stats about his performance at this tournament – you can see more details of his matches and stats there at the ATP website here.
- His only loss at the tournament came as a 16 year-old in 2003, against eventual tournament runner-up Guillermo Coria. Nadal was still ranked outside the top 100 at that time. In the previous (second) round of that tournament Nadal defeated the defending French Open champion (and world number 7 at the time) Albert Costa!
- He matches Guillermo Vilas with 8 as the most titles won at a single tournament in the Open era (Buenos Aires in his case). The women’s record is 12 by Martina Navratilova (Chicago).
- Nadal is the only player, man or woman, in the open era to win the same professional singles tournament more than 6 consecutive times. (Graf won the German Open, while Navratilova won Wimbledon and at Chicago 6 consecutive times).
- He has the record for most consecutive match wins at a tournament: 42 (next is Borg with 41 at Wimbledon). Overall his record at Monte Carlo is 44-1.
- Top ten players Nadal defeated at the tournament:
2003: Albert Costa (#7, R32) 7-5 6-3
2004: Did not play
2005: Gaston Gaudio (#6, QF) 6-3 6-0, Guillermo Coria (#9, F) 6-3 6-1 0-6 7-5
2006: Guillermo Coria (#9, QF) 6-2 6-1, Gaston Gaudio (#8, SF) 5-7 6-1 6-1, Roger Federer (#1, F) 6-2 6-7(2) 6-3 7-6(5)
2007: Roger Federer (#1, F) 6-4 6-4
2008: David Ferrer (#5, QF) 6-1 7-5, Nikolay Davydenko (#4, SF) 6-3 6-2, Roger Federer (#1, F) 7-5 7-5
2009: Andy Murray (#4, SF) 6-2 7-6(4), Novak Djokovic (#3, F) 6-3 2-6 6-1
2010: highest ranked opponent was Fernando Verdasco (#12) whom he defeated 6-0 6-1 in the final
2011: Andy Murray (#4, SF) 6-4 2-6 6-1, David Ferrer (#6, F) 6-4 7-5
2012: Novak Djokovic (#1, F) 6-3 6-1
- In the last six years (30 matches) he only lost two sets (to Murray and Djokovic, shown above)! In each case he won the deciding set 6-1.
- In the 2010 edition of the tournament he lost only 14 games!
- In total he has won a set 6-0 (a bagel) 8 times and 6-1 (a breadstick) 18 times.
Astonishing to think that he never had an off day at this tournament over these 8 years, able to beat some of the best clay court specialists of their time and all-time greats in Federer and Djokovic in five of the finals. Being a Masters 1000 tournament the best players show up there. As Nadal himself put it,
‘To have eight victories, you must be lucky, you have to have no injuries, perfect conditions for eight years in a row. That’s the first thing.’
‘And you have to be playing almost perfect to win eight titles in a row, especially in a Masters. The best in the world always play – you have to win against the best.’
I also liked the praise Djokovic had for Nadal.
‘Fantastic, impressive. The way he’s been treating this sport is a real example of a champion.’
‘I only have nice things to say about him. Every year he comes back and he looks like he’s the first time in this place.’