Nadal Turning Up Heat On Federer & Djokovic In Big Titles Race
It took Rafael Nadal longer to win his first title in 2019 than he did in any season since 2004, the year he earned his maiden tour-level crown. But the World No. 2 has now captured two crowns in a row after lifting his 12th Roland Garros trophy on Sunday, putting plenty of pressure on Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the race for the most Big Titles, a combination of Grand Slam, Nitto ATP Finals and ATP Masters 1000 crowns.
Nadal, whose Paris victory earned him his 52nd Big Title, is now just one Big Title from tying Djokovic in second place (53) and two from record-holder Federer (54). But by winning Roland Garros, he has matched Djokovic's Big Titles winning rate by capturing one trophy per 3.4 events played. However, since they have both played 179 combined Grand Slams, Nitto ATP Finals and ATP Masters 1000 tournaments, and Djokovic has won 53 titles to Nadal's 52, the World No. 1 has a slightly better conversion ratio.
Nadal, who with 18 Grand Slam victories is now also within just two majors off Federer’s record, can make the Big Titles competition even juicier if he is to win his third Wimbledon title and first since 2010.
With his record-extending Roland Garros victory, Nadal has now captured multiple Big Titles in a season 13 times in his career. If the 33-year-old wins another Big Title this year, it will be the 11th time he has lifted at least three of those trophies in a season.
All eyes will also be on Nadal’s pursuit of Federer’s 20-Grand Slam mark. If the two-time Wimbledon champion triumphs again on the London grass, he will be within one major title of the Swiss for the first time.
“It's a motivation, but it's not my obsession. If you ask me whether I would like it, of course. If that's a goal in my career, no. It's not what makes me get up every morning or go and train and play. It's not the way in which I view the sport, and it's not the way in which I consider my sports career,” Nadal said. “I want to follow my own journey, give myself the best opportunities, and give myself the possibility of competing at the highest level. And if I end up in a position like that of today where I'm the one who won the most Roland Garros [titles] in history, all very well.
“But I don't think my future will be worth any more if I equal Federer's record or if I do something like Djokovic or whatever. I consider that I'm going much further than I dreamt about in my career.”
Current and Former Champions' Big Titles Won (Records Since 1990)
|Player||Grand Slams||Nitto ATP Finals||1000s||Total (Avg)|
|Roger Federer||20/76||6/16||28/135||54/228 (4.2)|
|Novak Djokovic||15/57||5/11||33/111||53/179 (3.4)|
|Rafael Nadal||18/55||0/8||34/116||52/179 (3.4)|
|Pete Sampras||14/52||5/11||11/83||30/146 (4.9)|
|Andre Agassi||8/61||1/13||17/90||26/164 (6.3)|
|Andy Murray||3/47||1/8||14/96||18/151 (8.3)|
|Boris Becker*||2/26||2/6||5/51||9/83 (9.2)|
|Thomas Muster||1/29||0/4||8/53||9/86 (9.6)|
|Gustavo Kuerten||3/33||1/3||5/67||9/103 (11.4)|
|Jim Courier||4/38||0/4||5/71||9/113 (12.6)|
|Stefan Edberg**||3/28||0/4||1/24||4/56 (14)|
|Marcelo Rios||0/26||0/1||5/56||5/83 (16.6)|
|Michael Chang||1/50||0/6||7/86||8/142 (17.8)|
|Marat Safin||2/41||0/3||5/87||7/131 (18.7)|
|Andy Roddick||1/46||0/6||5/75||6/127 (21.2)|
* Becker's four other Grand Slam titles came before 1990.
** Edberg's three other Grand Slam titles came before 1990.