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Rare but worst defeats for Nadal on clay

Rafael Nadal has been dominating the clay court events for a decade. Let's take a look at Nadal's rare but worst defeats on the clay court.

Last updated: 26.04.2019

Rafael Nadal has been dominating the clay court events for a decade. He has been invincible on the red clay and no other player has ever achieved what he has accomplished on this surface. The Spaniard is one of the toughest opponents to beat on any surface and he just gets better when it comes to clay.

Nadal's numbers on a clay court are mind-boggling. He has conquered it all in the last 10 years. He is also known as the ‘King of Clay’. The World No.2 has won the most number of clay titles in the history of Tennis.

It is difficult to believe that someone can dominate Rafa on clay court. The 17-time grand slam champion has lost only a few matches in his career on his preferred surface. It is very rare when the opponent commands the whole match against Nadal on clay. Nadal has tyrannized his opponents on this surface even on his bad day. Once in a blue moon, a player has been all over Rafa on the red clay.

Let's take a look at Nadal's rare but worst defeats on the clay court over the years.

  1. Andy Murray - Madrid Open Finals, 2015

Rafael Nadal entered the 2015 Madrid Masters as a two-time defending champion. He once again had a great run in the tournament and it looked like he would defend his title. But Andy Murray outclassed the Spaniard to conquer his first Masters’ title on clay.

Nadal was aiming for his fifth title in Madrid. It was predicted that Rafa would comfortably beat the Briton as Murray had never defeated Nadal in his six previous meetings on clay. But Andy stunned the Spaniard 6-3,6-2 in front of his home crowd. Nadal played one of the worst matches of his career.

“It's one of the hardest things in tennis to try and win against Rafa on clay, so I'm glad I've managed to do it,” said Murray after the match.

2. Fabio Fognini - Monte Carlo Masters Semifinals, 2019

Fabio Fognini ended Rafael Nadal's winning streak at Monte Carlo Masters. Fognini thrashed the defending champion 6-4, 6-2 in the semifinals.

Rafa has been the 11-time champion in Monte Carlo. He had not lost a set at a clay court event since 2017 when he conceded a set against Kyle Edmund.

Fognini was all over Rafa from the first game of the match. He did not let Nadal come back into the match after the first set lead. The Italian had a chance to bagel Nadal at 5-0 and 40-0 serving for the match. But the Spaniard fought back hard and saved three break points before breaking Fognini's serve. Fabio did not miss his second chance to serve for the match and won the set 6-2.

Nadal played one of his worst match on clay. He said, “ I played one of my worst matches on clay in 14 years.”

3. Stan Wawrinka - Rome Masters Quarterfinals, 2015

Rafael Nadal was eyeing for his record 8th title in Rome at the Rome Masters 2015. He also entered the tournament as the defending champion.

Nadal was aiming to win 3 consecutive titles at Rome. But Stan Wawrinka shattered all his hopes as he defeated him 7-6, 6-2 to reach the last four of the tournament.

Nadal was leading their head-to-head 12-1 before coming into the match. But the Swiss won the match against all the odds, winning his first match against Rafa on clay.

“I didn't have enough leg in some moments today. He played crazy. He hit amazing shots in a lot of moments and especially important ones. I am not very happy with the way I played," Nadal said.

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