Nadal’s improbable statistical legacy in Paris

Ahead of the Spaniard's 19th Roland-Garros appearance, we look at his mind-boggling Paris stats

Rafael Nadal, practice, Roland-Garros 2024©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT
 - Chris Oddo

After falling to Rafael Nadal in the 2020 men’s singles final at Roland-Garros, Novak Djokovic summed up the Spaniard’s legacy in Paris perfectly: “I admire all his achievements, especially the one here… All the superlatives you can use, he deserves them,” Djokovic said, heaping the highest praise on the living legend who has dominated the clay-court Grand Slam like no other.

Ahead of Nadal's 19th Roland-Garros appearance, we may be close to running out of superlatives, but the insane stats keep rolling in. Before the 22-time major champion takes the court for what could be his Parisian swan song, join us for a deep dive into his stunning body of work.

Never had a losing streak! 

The man who holds the longest single-surface winning streak in ATP history (81 consecutive wins on the clay, from April 2005 to May 2007) has never lost consecutive matches on his beloved clay. Additionally, Nadal has not lost consecutive matches at Roland-Garros either. Go figure...

Simply the best

Nadal’s overall record at Roland-Garros remains beyond compare at 112-3. No other male player has won as many matches at a single Grand Slam, and Nadal’s 97.39 winning percentage in Paris is the best by any player at a single Grand Slam tournament. 

No other man or woman has managed to reach 100 wins on the Parisian clay.

Perfect in finals 

Nadal’s record of 14-0 in Roland-Garros finals is another of his unfathomable achievements. Adding to the mystique is the fact that Nadal has faced a top 10 player in all but one of his 14 title matches in Paris, and he has won five of them against the ATP’s No.1-ranked player. 

Fun fact: in six of Nadal’s 14 finals inside Court Philippe-Chatrier, the Spaniard has been the lower-ranked player. 

Nadal has won seven of his finals in straight sets, with the other seven clinched in four sets. He has never been pushed to a decider in a Roland-Garros final. 

The streak to end all streaks 

Nadal amassed a record-breaking Roland-Garros streak of 39 consecutive victories from 2010 to 2015. His heater started in 2010, ran through five consecutive titles from 2010-2014, and finally was stopped by Djokovic in the quarter-finals in 2015. 

During the 39-match streak, Nadal secured victory in straight sets 30 times. 

Nadal has pulled off three streaks of at least 30 consecutive victories in Paris. He reeled off a 35-match winning streak that lasted from 2016 until he was defeated again by Djokovic in the semi-finals in 2021, and he started his career on a 31-match winning streak. 

They are the three longest winning streaks - men's or women's - in tournament history.

Never lost a fifth set 

Nadal has never lost a decider at Roland-Garros, but he has been taken to five sets on three different occasions. The Spaniard scored five-set wins over John Isner in the first round in 2011, Djokovic in the semi-finals of the 2013 edition and Felix Auger-Aliassime in the round of 16 in 2022. 

In every year that Nadal has been taken to five sets in a match in Paris, he has ended up raising the Coupe des Mousquetaires.

Rafael Nadal, Roland-Garros 2022, Simple Messieurs, Remise de Prix©Pauline Ballet / FFT

Fast out the blocks

Nadal began his Roland-Garros career as a teenager, but his lack of experience didn’t stop him from dominating out of the blocks. The Spaniard won the title on his first four appearances, in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008, and claimed victory in his first 31 matches on the terre battue of Paris. 

A stunning debut 

Nadal is one of two men’s singles players to have won a Roland-Garros title on his main draw debut, the other being Mats Wilander, who claimed his first title in 1982. 

Rafael Nadal Roland-Garros 2005© Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

The few and the proud  

Only two players have ever earned a win over Nadal on the terre battue of Paris. Two-time runner-up Robin Soderling was the first to do it in the round of 16 in 2009, and Djokovic went on to become the only player with multiple victories over Nadal in Paris by defeating him in the quarter-finals in 2015 and the semi-finals in 2021. 

Four without a blemish 

Four of Nadal’s 14 Roland-Garros titles have come without the loss of a set. That makes Nadal the only male player in the Open Era to have won more than three Grand Slam titles without dropping a single set. He didn’t drop a set in 2008, 2010, 2017 and 2020.