Rafa Roundup: The numbers don’t lie – Rafael Nadal is much more than King of Clay


The Spaniard now has a combined 46 ‘Big Titles’ — a collection of Grand Slams, Masters 1000 events, and Nitto ATP Finals — putting him one behind Novak Djokovic’s 47 and within five of leader Roger Federer, who holds 51.

#7 He’s the first to pass $10 million in prize money in 2017. Nadal now has $11,264,905 for the year, jumping over Federer, who currently has $9,419,735. Third place is Zverev with $3,570,885.

The significance of this season is impossible to sum up with a stat sheet alone. Coming off a 2016 season in which he suffered his second wrist injury in three seasons and was forced to withdraw from the French Open after the second round, Nadal’s 10th win at Roland Garros in June was especially sweet. It was his first Grand Slam title since the 2014 French.

The Spaniard’s fans can muster plenty of evidence to support the case for their hero as the greatest player of all time, but the three-major deficit is a challenging disadvantage to surmount. One of the best arguments left to Mr Nadal’s supporters is that Mr Federer padded his statistics in the weak era of 2003-07, before Mr Djokovic and Mr Murray reached their primes, and when a young Mr Nadal was primarily a threat on clay courts.

It has been an incredible year, with Federer winning in Australia and at Wimbledon, where he won the title for an eighth time, and Nadal adding the US Open title to his 10th French Open crown.

Nadal is in the driving seat when it comes to No.1, with a lead of almost 2,000 points, but he knows there is still a lot to play for in the remaining two months of the season.

Q: “There is still a lot of tennis to be played, but at this moment, who is your men’s player of the year?” John Wertheim: We were debating this on Tennis Channel. I lean toward Nadal. Higher ranked. More Slam matches won. And—while it was validated by the Wimbledon title—doesn’t Federer earn some sort of markdown for his decision to skip the entire clay season? Jim Courier sided with Federer, citing the 3-0 head-to-head record. Honestly, I could go either way.

“Can Rafa beat Roger’s record? Basically it’s up to Rafa and how much he wants to play and how much he loves the game,” said Sampras, who sits third on the men’s all-time Grand Slam winners’ list behind Nadal and Federer. “If he said: ‘Hey guys, I’m gonna play until I’m at least 35’, I’d say he’s got a pretty good shot at doing it.

“There aren’t many challenges left, but there are some. He is a very competitive person, a very demanding person and that helps a lot. He will keep finding motivation and his biggest motivation will be to keep improving, keep evolving, stay competitive and he knows that if he can do that, the options to win tournaments and fight at the top will be there.”

“I think that Nadal has a very good chance to catch Roger because he’s gonna win the French Open again at least once or twice and suddenly you’re one or two away,” said Wilander.

”Do we think that Federer is going to win another slam next year when he turns 37? I don’t know. He can win another one maybe but Nadal has another four or five years and people are wrong when they think that he’s physically wearing himself down.”

“I always go on court respecting my opponents. I’m not worried about what happened in the past or not. I just think about what can happen now.” – Rafael Nadal

‘We will get to Federer’s 19, yes,’ he told Spanish radio station Cope.

‘I think it will happen. It’s difficult, but there is some more Roland Garros and I am confident other titles will come.



  1. If Rafa wins in WTF and one more AO next year to finally complete “Career Super Slam” and “Double Career Grandslam”, G.O.A.T is no question.
    Stay healthy! I am highly confident now since Moya is in his camp.

  2. Rafa conforme estas fisica y mental y k t respeten las lesiones clarooooo!!!! ,k ganaras mas titulos sobre todo GS k son a cinco xk tu fisico esta a tope…con gran fondo y para superar eso tiene k nacer otro Rafa Nadal….
    Ademas has cambiado tu forma d jugar…y saber reservar tu fisico es muy importante….
    CUIDATE!!!!!! Eso es lo mas importante…..

  3. You have no idea how much hate people get from Fed trolls on tennis forums when one points out the Weak Era argument in the detailed and undeniable way in which the Economist presents it. It is pure hate by people who seem completely indoctrinated. Rafa Goat!

    • Well, the only weak era is during 2004-2007 when Big Four had not showed up yet. From 2008-2012, Federer could only win 5 more slams which was way to little in comparison to 2004-2007 era.

      Rafa won the US Open fair and square. Don’t forget that he missed many chances to win many more slams due to injuries. For example, i still think Rafa was gonna win 3 out 4 slams in 2012 with that monster forehand he showed in AO 2012 but unluckily, his knees didn’t allow him to achieve that. After that occasion, although Rafa did win 2 slams in 2013 but that powerful forehand never appears again…

  4. Rafa is so much more than The King of Clay. He has won 4 hard court and 2 grass court GS titles and should be given due recognition as an all rounder. Who else in this era apart from Roger and Novak has this record? Rafa has won all there is to win in the game, but he’s still hungry for more titles. As Carlos Moyà said, he’s still motivated to reach Roger’s GS haul. His performance at this year’s US Open has convinced me that there are more great things to come from him.

  5. Rafa you need to be healthy .and you playing the best tennis ,vamossssssssssss champ .this year it was the best 2017 .and next year is going to be beater.we love your fans for ever.🏆🎾🎾🎾👍👍👍😘❤️

  6. Unbelievable player !! He struggled in the early rounds a bit but was always playing well . But even in these rounds he was always coming through in the end with fabulous winners . Quite simply a genius … Rafa Roger & Novak are 3 topmost . The rest coming way behind .

  7. Rafa is a super guy , phenomenal genius . We are privileged & proud to watch this magnificent athlete & superb player. Too too good a guy . Kudos & cheers to Rafa !!!!!

  8. j’attends ,avec impatience les prochains bons résultats , Nadal est un vrai champion qui ne ménage pas ses efforts pour se perfectionner Vamos Rafa
    Un petit conseil sur son look : laisse pousser tes cheveux et laisse tomber la raie sur le côté !!

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