A Day To Remember For Nadal
Throughout his 17 years as a professional, Rafael Nadal has learned countless lessons. But perhaps none is more important than a lesson he shared on Sunday after his latest historic victory. Watch Highlights
“I think after a lot of years of experience on this tour, you learn how to enjoy every moment,” Nadal said. “Today is a day to enjoy.”
Few players have had more to celebrate during a single victory. With his 6-1, 6-3 win against Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters final, Nadal checked off a career’s worth of milestones:
- First man in the Open Era (since April 1968) to win 10 titles at a tournament
- First man to win 50 clay-court crowns, surpassing Guillermo Vilas at 49
- His 70th tour-level title, placing him fifth all-time
- His 29th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown, placing him second all-time
Put one of those achievements on another player’s resume, and they make the sheet shine. But do what Nadal has done – achieve all four in a career and celebrate them on the same day – and that resume quickly resembles that of one of the greatest players of all-time.
“It really is unbelievable. To win 10 times at such an important event like Monte-Carlo, it’s something difficult to describe my feelings,” Nadal said. “I feel lucky to keep playing tennis [and] being healthy all those years, in order to compete in one of the most beautiful events of the year, without a doubt. I am very happy to win another one. For me, it is a very important day in my career.”
The 10th title extends Nadal’s dominance in Monte-Carlo to a level no man has achieved in the past. The Spaniard now boasts a 63-4 match record in the Principality and is 10-1 in finals, his only defeat coming in 2013 to Novak Djokovic. Nadal, who won his first Monte-Carlo crown in 2005 as a 18 year old, was able to relive his favourite Monte-Carlo memories when tournament officials displayed old photos on the scoreboard after the final.
“For me, the first one here has been so special. It was the first Masters 1000, Masters Series at that time, in an event that for me was always so special. When I was a kid, I always wanted to play in Monte-Carlo. In Spain, Monte-Carlo is a very important event in tennis, one of the top [Masters] 1000s of the year,” Nadal said. “The real thing is since the first time I came here in 2003, I have had very positive feelings. Winning in 2005 against [Guillermo] Coria in that final was an unbelievable moment for me… After that, I was confident enough to keep going, winning in Barcelona, in Rome, then in Roland Garros.”
Nadal looks primed to continue that familiar path of dominance as he’ll go for titles No. 10 in Barcelona and Roland Garros later this year as well. He also looks poised to further solidify his status as the greatest player to step on red dirt. The left-hander from Mallorca has now won 92 per cent of the matches he’s played on clay throughout his career, a 370-34 record, according to the FedEx ATP Performance Zone.
Considering just this season, Nadal’s numbers are almost equally as impressive. During the first four months, he’s reached four finals and boasts a 24-5 record. “For me, it’s important to feel myself being competitive every week that I am playing. That’s what happened since the beginning of the season. That makes me happy,” Nadal said. “If I am healthy and I feel myself competitive, I am happy. Then it’s obvious I would like to win. But I know if I am in finals of important events, the normal thing is I finally win titles.
“So today was another chance… Today I won a very important title for me.”
OPEN ERA TITLES LEADERS
1) Jimmy Connors 109
2) Ivan Lendl 94
3) Roger Federer 91
4) John McEnroe 77
5) Rafael Nadal 70
CLAY-COURT TITLES LEADERS
1. Rafael Nadal 50
2. Guillermo Vilas 49
3. Thomas Muster 40
T4. Bjorn Borg 30
T4. Manuel Orantes 30
ATP WORLD TOUR MASTERS 1000 TITLE LEADERS
1) Novak Djokovic 30
2) Rafael Nadal 29
3) Roger Federer 26
4) Andre Agassi 17
5) Andy Murray 14