Rafa Roundup: It’s almost impossible to defeat (a healthy) Nadal on clay

Photo: Davis Cup


When returning on clay, Nadal typically stands way back to let the speed of the serve slow down for greater return consistency and also to allow more time to deliver a full-blooded swing at the ball. He then looks to improve his court position up closer to the baseline as the point unfolds, looking to crush his forehand from locations all over the court.

Serving against Nadal on hard court is always challenging. Serving against him on clay is downright formidable.

After the Zverev match, a British interviewer asked Nadal if he was “pain free.”

Nadal grimaced at the question and replied, “That’s difficult [to say], but I am playing with no limitations.”

You can forgive Nadal for not entirely trusting his body; he’s put on lots of miles over the years. Some of his injuries seemed to come out of the blue, including the most recent one.

… But if anybody can go undefeated through an entire calendar segment featuring one Grand Slam and three Masters 1000 events, it’s Rafael Nadal.

The 31-year-old is a stunning 98-2 win-loss at Roland Garros and has won 105 out of 107 best-of-five matches on clay. He’s also won 91.8 per cent of all his contests on the surface throughout his career.

With Federer and Murray out of the picture this upcoming stretch, last year’s runner-up Stan Wawrinka still regaining fitness after knee surgery, and Novak Djokovic searching for form, Nadal seemingly has less obstacles in his way in Paris.

If a healthy Nadal touches down in the French capital next month, an 11th Roland Garros – and 17th Grand Slam trophy – are a more than likely conclusion.

The financial terms of the deal have not yet been presented and it’s not clear whether Nadal’s group plans to buy or lease the land from the park. The tennis academy would go on the southern portion of the park, replacing 16 existing tennis courts and a cluster of trees. The park’s other features, including the football fields, baseball fields and basketball courts, would remain.




  1. Rafa is impossible to beat on clay when he is at his very best. Injury free. He holds a 98-2 win/loss on clay. It will take a titan to bring down the King of Clay himself. I’m looking forward to Rafa defending his clay tournaments and RG points. When the time come, I’ll be rooting for you. VAMOS RAFA. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  2. Awesome video. – Love it 😍👍🏻
    VAMOS!! 🎾💪🏼😘🥇

    All the best Champ Rafa 🤗🍀

  3. Rafa congratulations to you, your family, your team on having such a philanthropic, giving desire and attitude to make available the Nadal ethos towards tennis to as many children, boys and girls all over the world.
    Your are not just about greed for yourself, or families, but seeing that those who really desire to enjoy the game of tennis, as you have, will have accessible to them the type of values, and knowledge that you have had presented to you in Mallorca.
    I admire you so much for your compassion to those in need, and those who thirst for tennis etiquette, the way you have had it presented to you from a little boy, just very young.
    I say CONGRATULATIONS to the Nadal family, as your style and gentlemanly manner all started in your home and with uncle Tony at the helm, with you being keen to learn, those few short years ago.

    Love and prayers,


  4. Good luck and looking forward to winning the 🏆 in Monte Carlo!

  5. I thought the one in Mexico was going to be an academy. Perhaps it is a tennis clinic and not an academy.
    If anyone in the following cities is interested, Rafa’s academy will be on tour from April 27 to August 31:

    California [no city listed]
    Los Angeles, California
    Japan [no city listed]
    Boca Raton, Florida
    India [no city listed]
    London, UK
    Hamburg, Germany
    New York, New York

    [From the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar website]

    • Margo, I think you are referring to the Nadal school in Cozumel which is part of a resort hotel. That is a much smaller scale than an academy. Rafa and his team have quite a few commercial activities. Rafa also has partial ownership in some restaurants. He also owns several real estate holdings. He is certainly busy!

      • va, I just came across an article on Roger and one on DelPo regarding clay courts.

        Roger’s longtime fitness trainer, Pierre Paganini, recommended that Roger not play clay after his knee surgery. Not because he has no chance of winning the FO but because he needs to pace himself and avoid too much risk to his post operative knee.

        “The advantage when you play on clay for the joints there is less shock because there is the slide, and the disadvantage on hard courts is there is that shock. But the advantage on hard courts is that the shock is brief. It’s bang and the foot leaves the ground. And a player who is coördinated…crushes his joints a bit less at that bad moment.

        In contrast, the disadvantage with the slide on clay is that in the joints there is a lot of vibration. We don’t see it from the outside, but to control this slide, there is instability in the knee, the foot, the ankle. And that, in some cases, can be bad for the knee or joint in question.”
        [The NYTimes, Feb. 13, 2018]

        I have read many articles stating that clay is easier on the body, or that it’s worse on the body, and the same for hard courts. The above excerpts are the first that make sense to me about the pros and cons of these two surfaces.

        DelPotro said he needed more time to rest as he wants to be injury free for the entire season. Training for clay would require him to train much longer and would take away time from resting and enjoying his back-to-back titles.


  6. Nole, Thiem, and JMDP have so far announced they will play Monte-Carlo.

    Bone takes long to heal but Thiem is returning after only 6 weeks from his fractured ankle. I hope he is completely healed.

    JMDP has been resting since his Miami loss. If all goes well for him, he should return very fresh. I don’t know his clay-court history.

    So far there’s no telling how Nole is doing.


    • Delpo announced today that he will only play three clay court events: Madrid, Rome, and RG. Delpo does not like to play on clay. He will not even play in tournaments in his own country since they are clay. I think that is a bit strange.

      • Wow, sorry to hear he won’t play Monte Carlo. I know he wanted a rest after Miami so perhaps he will play only the mandatories in preparation for RG. His priority is to stay healthy the entire season; I hope that’s what it is and not a flare up of his tendinitis.

        RAFA ROCKS

  7. Rafa eres increible…tienes capacidad tan grande para todo…k todo lo k hagas t salga bien y tengas exito…

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