Contact Us

The ATP Masters 1000; Career Golden Masters: The Missing Pieces

Only one member of the Big four of tennis has been able to complete the Career Golden Masters. Read on to find more.

Last updated: 07.04.2019
The Big Four Tennis



There are 9 prestigious ATP Masters 1000 tournaments listed on the ATP Men’s tour which are ranked just below the Grand Slams and the year-ending World Tour Finals. These tournaments are spread across only 2 surfaces – 6 on the hard-courts and 3 on clay.

It’s not surprising that the top 3 players in terms of Grand Slam title success are also the top 3 in the list of Masters 1000s winners. As of today, Rafael Nadal has won the most number of Masters 1000s tournaments in history – 33. Not far behind is Novak Djokovic at 32 and Roger Federer at 28. A more stringent analysis would contain success of the 3 players across surfaces (clay and hard), but let’s save that intriguing discussion for another day.


Masters 1000 Wins



Rafael Nadal


Novak Djokovic


Roger Federer


Andre Agassi


Andy Murray


Pete Sampras




Masters 1000s Win-Loss Record


Winning %


Rafael Nadal



Novak Djokovic



Roger Federer



Andre Agassi



Pete Sampras



Andy Murray




Though in terms of match wins, Roger Federer tops the chart, but in terms of overall winning percentage, Rafael Nadal (82.6%) leads the pack, followed by Novak Djokovic (81.7%) and Roger Federer (78.1%).

One of the most profound achievements in the history of the sport is to be able to win the “Career Golden Masters”, which is to win all the Masters 1000 tournaments at least once. Since the advent of the ATP Tour in 1990, only one man has been able to accomplish it, and that is Novak Djokovic, the current world number 1. He completed the set recently in 2018, by winning the one title that has been elusive to him since he started playing - Cincinnati, beating Roger Federer in the final.

The obvious question that comes to mind is how come the other members of the big 4 not been able to achieve this feat? Let’s look at the missing pieces for them.

1.    Roger Federer

Titles missing: Monte Carlo, Rome


Monte Carlo final losses: 2006 (Nadal), 2007 (Nadal), 2008 (Nadal), 2014 (Stanislas Wawrinka)

Rome final losses: 2003 (Felix Mantilla), 2006 (Nadal), 2013 (Nadal), 2015 (Djokovic)


The two titles missing from Roger’s massive collection are both on clay and are considered as Rafael Nadal’s favourite tournaments, having won Monte Carlo 11 times and Rome 7 times. Roger Federer has made it to the finals of both tournaments – Monte Carlo and Rome, 4 times each, falling short every time, mostly to the relentless fighting spirit of Nadal on clay. But the Swiss has been at touching distance to win these titles a number of times, particularly the 5-set classic played in over 5 hours against Nadal in Rome 2006 where the Swiss had 2 match points. Roger is now set to make an appearance on the red dirt after 3 years and is only scheduled to play the Madrid Masters followed by the French Open. Provided the Swiss is at the fag end of his career, there is a high probability that the coveted “Career Golden Masters” will be unattainable.


2.    Rafael Nadal

Titles missing: Miami, Shanghai, Paris


Miami Final losses: 2005 (Federer), 2008 (Davydenko), 2011 (Djokovic), 2014 (Djokovic), 2017 (Federer)

Shanghai Final Losses: 2009 (Davydenko), 2017 (Federer)

Paris Final Losses: 2007 (Nalbandian)


To state that Rafael Nadal has had an illustrious career on clay is an understatement. He has won 24 out of his 33 Masters 1000s on clay – Monte Carlo (11), Rome (8), Madrid (5). The 3 titles missing are without a doubt on the hard courts. He has been more than consistent in Miami, making it to the finals 5 times. He came very close in his first ever Miami final against Roger Federer in 2005, where he led by 2 sets to love and a break and still managed to lose from there. He again came close in Miami in 2011 against a reinvigorated Novak, where the Spaniard lost in the final set tie-break after leading by a set.


It is a well-known fact that the Spaniard has not been able to do well at the tail-end of the ATP season. The other two titles missing in his CV are also the final two Masters 1000s of the season, Shanghai and Paris. He reached the final in Shanghai in 2017 losing out to Federer in straight sets. Apart from this, the year-ending World Tour Finals is also missing from the Nadal’s collection. Though he still has time to complete the set, it remains to be seen whether the Spaniard will be able to fend off injuries which have plagued him throughout his career.


3.    Andy Murray

Titles missing: Indian Wells, Monte Carlo


Indian Wells Final Losses: 2009 (Nadal)

Monte Carlo Final Losses: None


What many people do not know is that barring the big 3, Andy Murray has been one of the most consistent performers in Masters 1000s in recent years with 14 titles and 7 final losses. Only Indian Wells (where he lost in the final in 2009 to Nadal) and Monte Carlo are missing from his trophy cabinet. He even has the year-ending championships (2016) and 2 Olympic Singles Gold Medals to his name (2012, 2016). Andy has been through a difficult phase in the last one year, including hip surgery, and it’s still uncertain whether he’ll be able to compete again at the highest level.



All-in-all, to complete the “Career Golden Masters” is no cake-walk, as it still eludes 3 out of the big 4 players who have dominated the Men’s game in the last 15 years.


Novak Djokovic had lost 5 finals in Cincinnati before he finally won it in 2018. A mind-boggling fact is that the Serb has won all the Masters 1000s at least twice and can complete an unprecedented second “Career Golden Masters” if he wins Cincinnati again any time in his career. According to me, with the current level of play and fitness, winning the last 3 Grand Slams on the trot, he’s surely back to near-peak level, and another title at Cincinnati looks inevitable!



Chase Your Sport

Stay up-to-date on the latest sports news, stats, expert analysis and trends, including cricket, football, wrestling, tennis, basketball, Formula One and more. Find previews, schedules, results of upcoming events, and fantasy tips on Chase Your Sport.