Rafael Nadal has played 49 clay-court Masters 1000 tournaments in his career. The Spaniard has produced incredible performance and turned almost 200 victories into jaw-dropping 25 titles! The 16-year-old Nadal made the Masters 1000 debut in Monte Carlo 2003 as a qualifier. He scored two wins and repeated that a month later in Hamburg to demonstrate his full talent and abilities on the slowest surface. The Spaniard had to skip the clay swing in 2004 following an injury in Estoril, bouncing back stronger a year later. Rafa played his third clay-court Masters 1000 tournament in Monte Carlo 2005 and conquered the title to write history books! Nadal secured the second trophy following that epic triumph over Guillermo Coria in Rome a month later.

He became a player to beat on dirt and secured the first Major crown at Roland Garros a few days after turning 19. For the last 16 years, Nadal has been the dominant figure at the clay-court Masters 1000 events, suffering some early exits but usually cruising towards the latter stages and fighting for the trophies. Rafa was the semi-finalist in 37 out of 49 tournaments, an incredible streak that got spoiled a bit in the previous two seasons. In 2019, Nadal suffered the semi-final loss in Monte Carlo and Madrid before bouncing back in Rome to secure his 25th and so far the last Masters 1000 title on clay. In 2020 and 2021, the Spaniard played three events of this series on clay and failed to reach the final four, embracing the negative streak that has never happened to him before!

Rafael Nadal failed to reach SF at three consecutive clay-court Masters.

In Rome 2020, Nadal struggled to find his A-game in the quarter-final against Diego Schwartzman during the night session in September and suffered a 6-2, 7-5 loss. Diego secured five breaks from 54% of the return points won, lost serve twice and moved over the top in style. Schwartzman had 31 winners and 17 unforced errors, left Rafa on a 21-30 ratio and dominated the most extended exchanges to find himself over the top. Ready to bounce back last April in his beloved Monte Carlo, Rafa scored two commanding victories before falling to Andrey Rublev 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 in the quarters. He lost ground in sets one and three and failed to lift the 12th crown in the Principality.

Rublev stole Nadal's serve seven times and bounced back in set number three to deliver Nadal's 41st ATP loss on clay. The youngster had 23 winners and 28 unforced errors, taming his strokes nicely and taking advantage of Nadal's over 30 unforced mistakes, especially from his backhand wing. Rafa gave his best to overcome the second set deficit and start all over, only to hit the exit door. Nadal advanced to another quarter-final in Madrid last May and lost to Alexander Zverev 6-4, 6-4 to miss another semi-final. The German kept the Spaniard at around five winners and had the upper hand on the court, hitting almost 30 winners and taming his strokes nicely to grab three breaks and rattle off ten of the last 14 games for a place in the semis. Nadal bounced back in Rome a week later and secured the 36th Masters 1000 crown with a victory over Novak Djokovic.



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