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Rafael Nadal vs. Novak Djokovic vs. Roger Federer: career records, grand slams, big titles

Nadal’s French Open victory was his 14th in Paris and 22nd slam of his career

Rafael Nadal, the “king of clay”, reigned once again at the French Open after winning his 14th Roland Garros title. The Spaniard, who also won this year’s Australian Open, now has a men’s tennis record of 22 grand slams – two more than long-time rivals Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. 

In the Paris final on 5 June, the 36-year-old clinched a “remarkable” 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 victory over Casper Ruud, said Tumaini Carayol in The Guardian. Nadal at Roland Garros is “the closest thing in tennis to untouchable” and “the gap between himself and the rest even after so long, remains astonishing”. 

After writing another chapter into his historic legacy, Nadal’s achievement in Paris is “even more remarkable considering that he struggled with a chronic foot injury”, said ATPTour.com. Speaking during the trophy ceremony, he said: “For me personally, it is very difficult to describe the feelings that I have. It is something that I have never believed. To be here at 36, being competitive again on the most important court of my career. One more title means a lot. It means a lot of energy to try and keep going… I don’t know what can happen in the future but I am going to keep fighting to try and keep going.”

Now on course for a calendar grand slam, Nadal will aim to win the third major of the year at Wimbledon.  

Most grand slam men’s singles titles (all-time) 
  • Rafael Nadal: 22 
  • Novak Djokovic: 20 
  • Roger Federer: 20 
  • Pete Sampras: 14 
  • Roy Emerson: 12

1

2022 grand slam dates

Australian Open
  • When: 17-30 January 2022
  • Where: Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia
  • Women’s singles champion: Ashleigh Barty
  • Men’s singles champion: Rafael Nadal
French Open
  • When: 22 May to 5 June 2022
  • Where: Stade Roland-Garros, Paris, France
  • Women’s singles champion: Iga Świątek
  • Men’s singles champion: Rafael Nadal
The Championships Wimbledon
  • When: 27 June to 10 July 2022
  • Where: All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, London, England 
US Open
  • When: 28 August to 11 September 2022
  • Where: USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, New York, US

2

The ‘GOAT’ debate and big titles

Tennis fans will argue for hours debating the following question: which male player is the greatest of all time? Icons such as Björn Borg, Pete Sampras, John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors get a special mention in the “GOAT” discussion, but for many people it’s a choice of one of the “big three”.

After his victory at the 2022 French Open, Rafael Nadal is now on 22 career grand slams – two clear of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. Nadal is the all-time “king of clay” with 14 French Open victories out of his 22. Djokovic has dominated on Melbourne’s hard courts with nine of his 20 slams coming in Australia. And Federer has eight wins on grass at Wimbledon from his collection of 20 slams. 

Big titles

In terms of big titles – a trophy at a grand slam championship, the Nitto ATP Finals, an ATP Masters 1000 tournament or an Olympic singles gold medal – Djokovic leads the way with 63 after his triumph at the 2022 Italian Open. Nadal now has 59 while Federer has 54.

Big titles won (records since 1990) 

Novak Djokovic: 63

  • Grand slams: 20 
  • Nitto ATP Finals: 5
  • ATP Masters 1000: 38 

Rafael Nadal: 59

  • Grand slams: 22
  • ATP Masters 1000: 36
  • Olympic singles gold medals: 1 (Beijing 2008)

Roger Federer: 54

  • Grand slams: 20
  • Nitto ATP Finals: 6  
  • ATP Masters 1000: 28

3

Rafael Nadal celebrates his 14th French Open title

Rafael Nadal celebrates his 14th French Open title

Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

Rafael Nadal 

  • Nationality: Spanish 
  • Age: 36
  • World ranking: 4
  • Career titles: 89
  • Grand slam titles: 22 (2 x Australian Open: 2009, 2022; 14 x French Open: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2022; 2 x Wimbledon: 2008, 2010; 4 x US Open: 2010, 2013, 2017, 2019) 
  • Big titles: 59 (22 grand slams; 36 ATP Masters 1000 titles; 1 Olympics singles) 
  • Olympic medals: singles gold at Beijing 2008; men’s doubles gold at Rio 2016

4

Novak Djokovic won the Rolex Paris Masters in November 2021

Novak Djokovic won the 2021 Rolex Paris Masters

Tnani Badreddine/ATP Images/Getty Images

Novak Djokovic 

  • Nationality: Serbian 
  • Age: 34 
  • World ranking: 4
  • Career titles: 87
  • Grand slam titles: 20 (9 x Australian Open: 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2019, 2020, 2021; 2 x French Open: 2016, 2021; 6 x Wimbledon: 2011, 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019, 2021; 3 x US Open: 2011, 2015, 2018) 
  • Big titles: 63 (20 grand slams; 5 ATP finals; 38 ATP Masters 1000 titles) 
  • Olympic medals: singles bronze at Beijing 2008

5

Roger Federer is an eight-time Wimbledon champion

Roger Federer is an eight-time Wimbledon champion

Julian Finney/Getty Images

Roger Federer 

  • Nationality: Swiss 
  • Age: 40 
  • World ranking: 68
  • Career titles: 103 
  • Grand slam titles: 20 (6 x Australian Open: 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2017, 2018; 1 x French Open: 2009; 8 x Wimbledon: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2017; 5 x US Open: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008) 
  • Big titles: 54 (20 grand slams; 6 ATP Finals; 28 ATP Masters 1000 titles) 
  • Olympic medals: singles silver at London 2012; men’s doubles gold at Beijing 2008

6

Nadal-Djokovic rivalry: head-to-head record 

Nadal and Djokovic have battled more times in their rivalry than any players in history, ATPTour.com reported. Their quarter-final at the 2022 French Open was the tenth time they had faced each other at Roland Garros.

  • Career matches played: 59
  • Wins: Djokovic 30, Nadal 29
  • Wins on clay: Nadal 20, Djokovic 8 
  • Wins at grand slams: Nadal 11, Djokovic 7 
Previous matches at Roland Garros 
  • Wins at Roland Garros: Nadal 8, Djokovic 2 
  • 2022 quarter-final: Nadal won 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (4)
  • 2021 semi-final: Djokovic won 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-2
  • 2020 final: Nadal won 6-0, 6-2, 7-5
  • 2015 quarter-final: Djokovic won 7-5, 6-3, 6-1
  • 2014 final: Nadal won 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4
  • 2013 semi-final: Nadal won 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7(3), 9-7
  • 2012 final: Nadal won 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5
  • 2008 semi-final: Nadal won 6-4, 6-2, 7-6(3)
  • 2007 semi-final: Nadal won 7-5, 6-4, 6-2
  • 2006 quarter-final: Nadal won 6-4, 6-4 (Djokovic retired with a back and thigh injury) 

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