Nadal Claws Closer To Federer & Djokovic In Big Titles Race
Rafael Nadal might have taken 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 after an impressive performance against World No. 1 Novak Djokovic on Sunday to lift his ninth Rome trophy, Nadal left the Italian capital with not just another victory to his name, but a record 34th ATP Masters 1000 title.
With his triumph, Nadal clawed closer to Djokovic and Roger Federer in the race for the most Big Titles — a combination of Grand Slam, Nitto ATP Finals and Masters 1000 crowns. The 32-year-old Spaniard now has 51 of them, trailing Djokovic by two and Roger Federer by three.
Watch Highlights Of The Rome Final:
Roland Garros, the year's second Grand Slam, is less than a week away. So Nadal has put himself in a position to turn up the heat on Federer and Djokovic, potentially moving to just one back of Djokovic and two behind Federer in Paris. Five players (excluding Nadal) have won at least 10 Big Titles overall (since 1990), and Nadal has lifted just the Roland Garros trophy 11 times.
Nadal has now won at least one Big Title in 14 of the past 15 years. And with his five victories at the Foro Italico last week compared to Federer's two, the Spaniard is on the verge of surpassing the Swiss' record for most Masters 1000 wins. Federer leads Nadal 378-377 entering Roland Garros.
Nadal also moved closer to Djokovic for the rate of Big Titles won record. The rivals have both played a combined 178 Grand Slams, Nitto ATP Finals and Masters 1000 tournaments. Djokovic has triumphed once per 3.4 tournaments at those levels, while Nadal has been victorious once per 3.5 events. Both players are well ahead of Federer in that category, as the 37-year-old has won once per 4.2 tournaments.
"What means most to me is this trophy," Nadal said. "Rome is one of the most important tournaments of the year. Part of the history of our sport. To be able to win here again is the main thing."
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Nadal has also turned up the heat on Djokovic in the race for the year-end No. 1 ATP Ranking.
Current and Former Champions' Big Titles Won (Records Since 1990)
|Player||Grand Slams||Nitto ATP Finals||1000s||Total (Avg)|
|Roger Federer||20/75||6/16||28/136||54/227 (4.2)|
|Novak Djokovic||15/56||5/11||33/111||53/178 (3.4)|
|Rafael Nadal||17/54||0/8||34/116||51/178 (3.5)|
|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.