‘Cause he’s awesome

Photo by Beth Wilson

That’s the only way I could think to sum up these stats (thanks to gundu_nimmy for tweeting them): Awesome.

Rafael Nadal captured his 17th career ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title Sunday in Rome, tying Andre Agassi’s record which he held since 2004. Nadal accomplished the feat in his 52nd ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament in a span of less than eight years while the American needed 84 tournaments to reach that mark in 14 years.

You read that right, it took him six fewer years and 32 fewer tournaments than it took Agassi. Amaze.

Nadal is the only player to reach nine different tournament finals. Of the current nine tournaments the only final he has not reached is Cincinnati where he has a 9-6 match record. His most successful tournaments have come in Monte-Carlo and Rome where he’s won 11 titles and compiled a 61-2 match record. Overall, he’s won six different ATP Masters 1000 tournaments.

Geee…only one to reach 9 different finals? You mean there are 9 different 1000 Masters events on clay? Surely a clay court specialist wouldn’t be reaching non-clay finals. *ahem*

All-Time Match Wins Leaders (since 1990)
While Agassi is the all-time leader with 209 match wins, Nadal owns the best match winning percentage (.833). Since capturing his first ATP Masters 1000 title in 2005, Nadal has an outstanding winning percentage of .860 from 2005-’10.

Nor would a “clay court specialist” have the best winning percentage across all surfraces.

More fun geeky fact time here.

16 Responses

  1. aRafaelite says:

    Awesome. That covers it pretty well.

  2. GB says:

    Rafa is awesomely awesome! Didn’t he do it in 6 years? He started in MC 2005, no?

  3. sombina says:

    Those stats don’t lie and are not biased :-) Our man is the best! miri I love the “eat this, bitches” comments on him being “clay court specialist”.
    It’s days like today when it’s good to be a fan, and enjoy the awesomeoness of Rafa.

  4. tenissfun says:

    indeed this days are for us , i am so happy for rafa, he worked very hard for all this great wins . and many more to come . wow

  5. Atch2 says:

    Miri, you’re the 1st person I thought of when I saw this article.

    Rafa is awesome indeed. His stats are mindboggling and superhuman.
    And anyone still calling him a clay-court specialist should just be ignored, and probably be called ignorant or stupid.

  6. Atch2 says:

    And from another atp article about Rome, “Nadal held serve 49 of 50 games and saved 15 of 16 break points. The only player to break his serve was Latvian Ernests Gulbis, who pushed Nadal to three sets in the semi-finals”

  7. KateMC says:

    I have to say I don’t think there’s anything wrong with calling Rafa a clay court specialist. That’s what he is. It’s his best surface and it’s where he get’s the best results. It suits his game more than any other surface. I don’t think the name implies that’s the only surface he plays great on, just that it’s his best.

    I’d call Djokovic a hard court specialist despite the fact he’s probably the second best player on clay, and I’d call Federer a grass court specialist because I think it suits his game best.

    • miri says:

      I theory, I agree. I think my problem with using the phrase is that it’s often used to kind of say, “he only plays well on clay.” (Same with Nole – they like to imply his a hard court guy and his clay play sucks…which is far from the truth as you point out.) Specialists often gear their skills toward a certain field at the detriment of others. I don’t think any of the players do this purposefully – I think their natural game is just better on certain surfaces. That is, I don’t think Rafa started out saying, “I’m going to learn to win on clay and the rest of the surfraces, pffft.” He learned to play a game he felt he could play best. Turns out, that game works best on clay.

      I’d call Federer a grass court specialist because I think it suits his game best.

      That’s it there – it’s a chicken and egg thing. To me, people choose a field of specialty. I think it just happens that Roger’s game is well suited to grass. I doubt anyone would choose to specialize in a surface that’s barely used on the tour any more.

      Am I making any sense?

  8. Fay says:

    Yes I read this, love all these stats showing how supreme our Rafa is, the match % is brilliant over taking them all… what a champ, he may well have a shorter career than Agassi’s in the long run but hopefully he will have achievements will be alot greater, *fingers crossed*.. Awsome stuff!

  9. Ch F says:

    These stats are just amazing!
    Here’s to a healthy Rafa for many years to come!

  10. tiemyshoe says:

    Mindboggling, isn’t it? It’s hard to measure “heart” in sport, but maybe these 17 not-Slam titles go some way toward it. For me, such consistency in Masters means humbleness and willingness to buckle down even on bad days. We all stressed out during the Gulbis match and were amazed when he got through it, but how many similar matches has Rafa played and won over the years? Very, very many. That’s what it takes.

    • dutchgirl says:

      And that is why I love this man so much.

    • CC says:

      Agree with it all. To me it feels like most Rafa’s matches are like that. OK, not most…but loads! And yes, that is certainly why I love watching him and why he inspires me. :)

  11. Fay says:

    Me too, lets face it, the best matches on the tour are often or not with Rafa at one side of the court, so much drama and intensity, I never get tired of watching him! he has inspired me too over and over.. he is a huge part of why tennis has been great the last 5 years.

  12. Marilyn Wasserman says:

    Great stats indeed!

    Rafa’s not a clay court specialist, although his game is best suited for clay and at his best he dominates there. A clay court specialist would make an effort to play as many clay court events as possible. He’d play the South American clay tournaments, as Ferrero, Ferrer and Monaco did. You could call those guys clay court specialists although they’ve had their moments on hard court. Maybe we should just say that Rafa always has “chances to win” on every surface, but better chances on clay. Has Rafa ever in his life gone into a match thinking he can’t win?

    Roger’s not a grass specialist either. If not for Rafa he’d have been the best on every surface for quite a few years there. He’s made the semis, and usually the finals, in how many consecutive slams now? I forget the number but it’s very impressive.

    I can’t get over the great video of Rafa at MC in 2003, posted by Miri on Youtube, taking on and beating the reigning French Open champion (Albert Costa) at 16 or 17. Looking like he belonged on a high school court somewhere. Coolly drop shotting him, hitting passing shots, and at one point, one of his patented way-outside-the-court slashing crosscourt winners – nearly falling over after hitting the winner.