Less than a month after matching Roger Federer as the only men’s tennis players to win 20 Grand Slam singles titles, Rafael Nadal joined his longtime rival in another elite company of tennis players.
Playing in his first match since winning the 2020 French Open, Nadal overcame a slow start to beat fellow Spaniard Feliciano Lopez 4-6, 7-6 (7-5),6-4 in the first round of the Paris Masters. With the win, Nadal now accompanies Jimmy Connors (1,274), Federer (1,242), and Ivan Lendl (1,068) as the only men’s tennis players to win at least 1000 ATP matches in the Open era (since 1968).
The biggest bite yet ?
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) November 4, 2020
“[Winning 1,000 matches] means that I am old. That means that I played well for such a very long time because to achieve that number is because I have been playing well for a lot of years and [that] is something that makes me feel happy.”
Playing Well for a Lot of Years
Nadal’s first ATP victory came in May 2002 when he was just 15 years old. Ranked below 580 at that time, he defeated then 81st ranked Ramon Delgado of Paraguay in the first round of his hometown tournament, the Mallorca Open. That victory earned Nadal his first 15 ATP points.
— ATP Tour (@atptour) November 4, 2020
Eighteen years later, Nadal has won over $180M in prize money, 20 Grand Slam singles titles, 35 ATP Tour Masters 1000 tournaments, 21 ATP Tour 500 titles, and two Olympic gold medals. In addition, he has held the no. 1 ranking for a total of 209 weeks, including the year-end no. 1 ranking on five different occasions.
445 of his wins have come on clay surface. His clay-court record of 445-40 or 92% and 60 clay court titles are unprecedented. While clay is his strongest suit, grass is his weakest with a record of 72-20 or a 78% winning percentage. When it comes to hard courts, Nadal is 483-135, including Thursday’s win.
Nadal has a record of 282-39 at all Grand Slam tournaments or a winning percentage of almost 88%. When it comes to ATP Masters 100 events, Nadal’s record is 387-80 or a winning percentage of 83%. He has won a total of 35 Masters 1000 titles which is one off the record currently held by world no. 1, Novak Djokovic. If he wins this tournament, he will tie Djokovic’s record 36 Masters 1000 titles.
Favorite to Win Paris Masters
Nadal picked up his 1,001st victory on Thursday when he defeated Australian veteran Jordan Thompson in straight sets. He now heads to the Paris Masters quarterfinals against Pablo Carreno Busta where he is a massive -654 odds on favorite against his compatriot who is currently listed at +514.
These two Spaniards are not unfamiliar with each other. Nadal and Busta have met six times before and Nadal has won all of their head to head meetings. The pair last met at the ATP Masters 1000 in Rome and Nadal won the match in straight sets.
Barring any unfortunate incident, Nadal is expected to march into the semifinals. Looking farther ahead, the Paris Masters is one of the few titles that has evaded Nadal. He has yet to win this event in seven tries but could end that drought this year.
According to the latest odds board from SportsBetting.ag, Nadal is the -110 betting favorite to win it all with no. 3 Daniil Medvedev coming in second at +500.
Five of the Top 10 seeds are still in play on Friday’s quarterfinals but Nadal has an impressive career 172-92 record against the world’s Top 10 players. That’s a win rate of 65.2 so no doubt he’s favored in Bercy.
At age 34, Nadal is still the no. 2 ranked tennis player in the world. He is coming off a record 13th French Open title, losing only seven games on his way to the championship. The win was his 20th Grand Slam, equaling rival Roger Federer’s mark for the most Grand Slam singles titles. And he’s far from done.
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