Rafael Nadal’s consistency in clay court tournaments is simply staggering. In his 17-year career, Nadal has dominated the circuit unlike any other player. His record in Monte Carlo Masters, Rome Masters, Barcelona Open and the French Open make him the ultimate player. Nadal recently showed his mastery when he won the tournament for a record 10th time. However, when he reached the last eight of the Rome Masters, he achieved a very special milestone.
Rafael Nadal joined Roger Federer and Jimmy Connors to have entered a quarterfinal of a tournament 15 times or more. Apart from Rome Masters, Nadal has reached the quarterfinal of the Monte Carlo 16 times. Even in Rome, he has reached the quarterfinal stage 16 times. If he reaches the quarterfinal of the French Open in 2021, he will have reached that stage a record 15 times.
Federer is the other person who has reached the quarterfinal of a tournament more than 15 times. In fact, Federer is so far the only person who has reached the quarterfinal stage mre than 15 times in three tournaments. Federer has reached the quarterfinal stage of Wimbledon 17 times but he has gone on to win the tournament eight times. Apart from Wimbledon, Federer has reached the quarterfinal stage 17 times in Halle and his home tournament of Basel.
Federer has won Basel 10 times, which included defeating Nadal in 2015 in three tough sets. The Swiss maestro has won Halle also 10 times.
However, the first person to reach the quarterfinal stage of a tournament more than 15 times was Jimmy Connors. From 1974 to 1985, Connors reached the quarterfinal stage of the US Open every single time. Connors reached the quarterfinal stage four more times, including in his penultimate year in 1991.
With every passing year, Nadal keeps on pushing the barriers of the impossible. If he manages to secure his 14th French Open, then he will have some records that might never be broken. Nadal is the ‘Emperor of Clay’ but if he wins Roland Garros in 2021, he could very well surge ahead in the G.O.A.T debate in Tennis.