The statistics behind Rafael Nadal’s incredible ATP milestone victory


Nadal reeled off his 1,000th match win in Paris (Picture: Getty)

Rafael Nadal chalked up his 1,000th ATP Tour win on Wednesday, becoming one of only four men to reach the milestone.

He came back from a set down against Feliciano Lopez in the second round of the Paris Masters to win 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4, joining Jimmy Connors, Roger Federer and Ivan Lendl in the exclusive 1,000-wins club.

It all started in 2002 when a 15-year-old Nadal defeated Paraguay’s Ramon Delgado in the first round of the Mallorca Open.

And it was somewhat fitting that his 1,000th win came in the city that hosts the tournament where he has won 13 Grand Slam titles.

One hundred of those victories came at Roland Garros – the most recent of which, over Novak Djokovic, saw him equal Federer’s all-time Grand Slam record.

But how has he racked up the rest of them?

The players he’s beaten most

It will come as no surprise that Nadal’s greatest rivals Federer and Djokovic are among the players he’s beaten the most, given how regularly they face off, with Djokovic coming in at No. 1.

Nadal has beaten the world No. 1 from Serbia 27 times, although Djokovic has picked up 29 wins against the left-hander from Spain.

In behind Djokovic is Nadal’s compatriot David Ferrer, whose 26 defeats were only accompanied by six wins, with Federer beaten 24 times for 16 wins.



Nadal’s most beaten opponents

27 – Djokovic
26 – Ferrer
24 – Federer
20 – Berdych
19 – Wawrinka
17 – Murray
17 – Verdasco
16 – Gasquet

Tomas Berdych is the only other player who has been beaten by Nadal 20 times or more – winning four encounters – with Andy Murray (17-7), Stan Wawrinka (19-3) and Fernando Verdasco (17-3) all suffering heavy head-to-head losses to the world No. 2.

None are quite as bad as poor old Richard Gasquet, though. The Frenchman has lost all 16 of his meetings with Nadal.

Surface breakdown

Nadal, dubbed the ‘King of Clay’, has won 445 of his 485 matches on his favoured surface but he has actually picked up more hard-court wins during his career.

That’s no great surprise given the majority of the season is played on a hard court and his 482 wins came from 617 matches.

He has two wins on carpet – against Radek Stepanek in the Davis Cup in 2004 and Ivo Karlovic in Milan in the same year – and 71 on grass.



Nadal’s milestone wins

1: Ramon Delgado 6-4 6-4 – Mallorca R1, 2002
100: Hugo Armando 6-1 6-2 – Stuttgart R2, 2005
200: Juan Martin del Potro 6-0 6-4 – Miami R4, 2007
300: Ivo Karlovic 6-7 7-6 7-6 – Queen’s QF, 2008
400: Tomas Berdych 7-5 6-0 6-2 – Davis Cup, 2009
500: Ivan Dodig 6-4 6-2 – Barcelona SF, 2011
600: Juan Martin del Potro 4-6 6-3 6-4 – Indian Wells F, 2013
700: Martin Klizan 4-6 6-3 6-3 6-3 – Wimbledon R1, 2014
800: Thomaz Bellucci 2-6 6-4 6-2 – Rio Olympics QF, 2016
900: Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-2 6-2 – French Open R3, 2018
1000: Feliciano Lopez 4-6 7-6 6-4 – Paris R2, 2020

Longest and shortest matches

Nadal’s fastest regular tour win – that didn’t come via retirement – came in a swift 46 minutes in 2008.

In the second round of the Cincinnati Masters, poor Florent Serra picked up just 20 points in a 6-0 6-1 demolition job at the hands of the world No. 2.

At Grand Slam level, he needed just 90 minutes to hammer Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-0 6-1 6-0 at the 2017 French Open.

At the other end of the spectrum, it took Nadal five hours and 14 minutes to see off Guillermo Coria in the Rome Masters final in 2005.

Nadal needed five hours and 14 minutes to beat Coria (Picture: Getty Images)

Aged 18, Nadal was 0-3 down in the fifth set but recovered to win 6-4 3-6 6-3 4-6 7-6 (8-6) in a gruelling epic to claim his second masters 1000 title.

Coria quipped after the match: ‘I’m a little bit not satisfied because I ran for five hours just to lose with two points. So I am very disappointed.’

Nadal has played longer matches where he’s ended on the losing side, however.

Djokovic famously beat him in five hours and 53 minutes in the final of the Australian Open in 2012.

The 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7 7-5 win was the longest match by duration in Grand Slam final history.

Who is left to catch?

Only Lendl, Federer and Connors are in front of Nadal in terms of match wins.

Of those, Lendl will be the most likely for the 34-year-old to catch.

The Czech is 68 wins ahead of Nadal – the exact number of match wins Nadal had in 2017 alone.



Players with more than 900 ATP Tour wins

1,274 – Connors
1,242 – Federer
1,068 – Lendl
1,000 – Nadal
951 – Vilas
932 – Djokovic
905 – Nastase

Federer (1,242) – who will hope to add to his total next year – and Connors (1,274) will be tougher to catch.

In five seasons between 2015 and 2019, Nadal won 271 matches, which would leave him three short of Connors’ total.

But with Federer playing on towards his 40th year, there may be some hope for Nadal to keep chipping away at that figure if he decides to play on for a similar amount of time.

Djokovic isn’t too far away from the 1,000 club. He needs 68 more wins to hit the milestone. Even in this most disrupted of years, he has notched 39 victories and could still add to that total at the ATP Finals at the end of the season.

A new record coming next week

While Nadal will have his sights set on becoming the outright all-time men’s Grand Slam leader in 2021, he will set a new record on Monday.

Having equalled Jimmy Connors’ record stay in the top-10 of the ATP rankings on Monday, he will climb beyond the American great next week.



Most consecutive weeks in the top-10 as of Monday 9 November

790 – Nadal
789 – Connors
734 – Federer
619 – Lendl
565 – Sampras

Nadal has been in the top-10 for the past 15 years since breaking through in 2005.

Connors, who spent 789 weeks in the top-10, also had a fifteen-year stint at the very top of the sport.

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