Rafael Nadal Has Now Beaten Roger Federer More Times Than He Has Any Other Player [Chart]
by Tom Gainey | May 19th, 2013, 11:41 pm

With his emphatic win today at the Rome Italian Open final, Rafael Nadal improved his head-to-head record over rival Roger Federer to 20-10 and 13-2 on the clay courts. The 20 wins over the Swiss are also the most victories Rafa has over any player in his career – it’s also the most Roger has lost to any one player!

Before today, Federer, Novak Djokovic and David Ferrer were all locked in a three-way tie at 19 losses apiece to Rafa. But now it’s Federer who stands alone in that dubious category.

Since turning pro 12 years ago, Nadal has some very, very impressive records over the top players. Here’s a breakdown of those head-to-head numbers by most wins:

Rafael Nadal’s Most Wins Over Opponents (head-to-head record)
Federer, 20-10
Ferrer, 19-4
Djokovic, 19-15
Berdych, 14-3
Murray, 13-5
Verdasco, 13-1
Gasquet, 10-0
Almagro, 10-0
Mathieu, 10-0
Youzhny, 10-4

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28 Comments for Rafael Nadal Has Now Beaten Roger Federer More Times Than He Has Any Other Player [Chart]

Michael Says:

First of all, my hearty congratulations to Rafa and his legion of fans. He has once again proved that he is the undisputed “Emperor of Clay”. I do not think we will be privileged to see another player of his kind atleast for the next 200 years. He is one of his kind. To put it one word, he is a phenomenon.

Michael Says:

As regards the Rafa Vs Roger match, I expected a decent match from Roger honestly. I never expected him to win considering his truncated playing skills with advancing age and the starking fact that when he was not even able to beat Nadal on Clay in his prime, he never will be able to do it with such handicaps when he is on the last stage of his career. But what I am worried is that Roger didn’t deliver a decent match. He played desperate offensive strategy and made far too UEs to hand over the match to Rafa on a platter. Now all that I am wondering is the mystery of the game. How is that a player named Ferrer who has never beaten Roger in his life time is able to take a set off Nadal most of the times he plays him and also to mention Gulbis who almost beat Nadal at Indian Wells and even here. But Roger is always struggling against Nadal and strangely he has no problems with the other players except may be Novak and Andy. Ofcourse many can explain away this saying that it is the form on that particular day which counts. Yet still that never gives an answer to this mystery. Roger nearly beat Nadal at Rome in 2006. It was a case of so near and yet too far . He has played some incredible matches against Rafa which were very close, but today he is looked a pale shadow of his former self. You can explain this by the age factor, speed and inconsistency. But it is clearly a warning sign to Roger that his tennis days are nearing the tail end and he may have to take a call sooner than later. He cannot have this ignominy of being slaughtered on court like a chicken by his rivals.

Rumble Says:

I am surprised people still ask questions like the ones above by Michael.

Its obvious – the one-handed backhand is a HUGE liability, especially on clay – and Nadal is the only good lefty out there that Fed has to play. THAT’S why the Ferrers of the world can still take a set of Nadal but get beat up by Fed, but Fed gets beat up by Nadal on clay.

Its really that simple.

age just makes it worse – throws off movement, throws off timing, more UE. That’s why Fed is less competitive against Nadal now. Last time he played him tough on clay was the 2011 French final.

don’t expect much from Fed anymore. He is old.

Michael Says:


You are spot on !! Do not expect much from Roger. He is getting old. That is the reason I want him to retire early. He cannot have this ignominy of being slaughtered on court by his rivals. Still, he has the game to beat players below the top three. But against the three, he just fizzles out for some reason or other. Not only against Nadal, today Roger is finding it tough even against Novak and Andy who beats him quite easily. I understand that one handed backhand is a liability on clay but Dmitrov recently played very well against Nadal and almost had him. If Dmitrov can do it, why can’t Roger ? In my opinion, Tennis is purely a mind game and Roger has lost the match in his mind. He went into this match in desperate mode not able to search the answers for the riddles Nadal poses by his game. We cannot teach the GREAT Roger, but he needs every bit of advise when he plays Rafa in my opinion.

Margot Says:

Always wanted Fed to go out with “a bang not a whimper” not sure that’ll happen now.

Rumble Says:

Dimitrov is an inch taller and 10 years younger than Fed. Even Fed has beaten Nadal on clay, and taken plenty sets off him on clay – in his hay days though.

The speed of youth is something Fed doesn’t have – quite the opposite. That explains it.

When making comparisons, you have to adjust for differences, otherwise it is meaningless.

I can tell you that Dimitrov is not going to beat Nadal on clay. Not for another year or two.

With Nadal though, once age affects him and he slows down, he will not go down slowly, he will just get slaughtered by every tom dick and harry. His game relies too much on running and retrieving, and those topspins to the backhand. With younger and taller players, he is in trouble if they move well.

Rumble Says:

I hope Fed gets at least one soft draw in a slam – hopefully this Wimbledon. Then he can win his 18th and retire. Just like Sampras’s draw at the 2002 USO, when he didn’t have to beat ANY TOP 5 player to win a slam!!

Imagine how many slams Federer can win, even today, if he gets draws where he doesn’t have to face a top 5 player!!!!!!

Fed doesn’t have Sampras’s luck. Sure has a better record still!

Brando Says:

Thanks Tom- great coverage as always of the game!

nadalista Says:

“It was meant to be a rekindling of the sport’s greatest rivalry, but the meeting of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer yesterday in their first final for nearly two years was about as competitive as a race between a Ferrari and a Fiat 500.”


roy Says:

”With Nadal though, once age affects him and he slows down, he will not go down slowly, he will just get slaughtered by every tom dick and harry. His game relies too much on running and retrieving, and those topspins to the backhand. ”

what a surprise, more idiotic statements from fed minions.

”topspins” to the backhand. oh, the dreaded little glitch in federer’s game. the perpetual excuse.
firstly if fed fans knew anything about tennis they’d understand every single player will play more balls cross court because it’s higher percentage. most rally balls go cross. therefore nadal will always hit more cross forehands and more cross forehands than any other shot because he is FOREHAND DOMINANT.
the idea this is just a cheap tactic is stupid. it’s going to happen with every player nadal plays. the difference is many of the players nadal plays actually have great backhands. UNLIKE federer. that’s why it isn’t an issue for them.

yes, and have any of you every stopped to wonder why federer doesn’t just use his forehand against nadal’s weaker wing? the court is symmetrical. why can’t he just take control with the most amazing, versatile shot in the universe? of course federer does do this during the match but nadal’s backhand doesn’t break down as easily. because it is superior. if federer’s backhand isn’t up to the task like many other players, that’s his problem.

”once age affects him and he slows down, he will not go down slowly, he will just get slaughtered by every tom dick and harry.”

really? like hewitt? a guy with less power who relied more on speed and is still very competitive when fit? who still pushes the top players?

”His game relies too much on running and retrieving, and those topspins to the backhand.”

his game is very complete actually, but if it relies on anything it is the massive forehand and mental toughness. there are plenty of players with his speed. his edge lies elsewhere. a loss in speed will not destroy him.

and if his game relies on topspins to the backhand, explain his wins against murray,djoker,berdych, tall guys who love high balls to their backhands, and every other top player with a great backhand.

you can’t of course, because you talk absolute nonsense.

nadal will be around for years. get used to it.

Giles Says:

@roy. Great post.
Vamos King!!

nadalista Says:

Something caught my eye during the trophy ceremony presentation yesterday: For his runner-up speech, Roger spoke in English, to an Italian crowd. For his winner’s speech, Rafa spoke in PERFECT Italian.

I thought Roger is the multi-lingual sophisticate while Rafa is the provincial savant whose only foray into foreign languages is bad English, or so we have been led to believe by the Roger-centric sycophants in the English speaking world!

One by one, the myths are being peeled off…….

skeezer Says:

Play Tennis much?

Fed has (had)one of the very best backhands in the history of the game, and surely better the your poster love boy. How do you get 17 Slams without one?


Fed handles topspin fine on the BH wing with other players. Its the wicked bounce off the amount of RPMs Rafa hits off his FH thats the problem. Thats it. Thats all there is to it. Its a simple but devastating shot that MOST all players Rafa faces have difficulty. If he didn’t have that FH, he himself would be a minion.

Daniel Says:

Skeeze is right Rafa’s 3000 rpm FH is insane. Nobody was able to hit this mucn spin and power before him and on clay is e magical shot.

Rsutherland Says:

Nadalista – If I may jump in on the language discussion…

(yeah, yeah – I know – post about tennis…17, most weeks at #1, 17, one handed back hand Vs a million rpm forehand, 17…yada yada………17)

Rafa does deserve credit for speaking in Italian…but Italian is quite similar to Spanish. Rafa’s Italian has a thick Spanish accent (for example the single letter ‘s’ between two vowels in Italian is voiced, unlike in Spanish). Rafa makes this common mistake.
To speak French, German and English as fluently (and ‘musically’) as Federer is quite a different proposition.
As in his tennis, Federer’s language skills are quite fluid.
Mind you, I am a huge Rafa fan…

Oh and Nadalista.. I do not post often but I have to take a dig at that awful Skeezer thing when I do.
A short while back you once again fell for that same old Skeezer trick; responding to him as if he were actually reasonable (regarding Nadal). Have you not yet figured out his perpetual Jekyll and Hyde routine when it comes to Nadal?

You, like many others seem like nice, gentile, intelligent people. But really; How many times does it take Charlie Brown to figure out that Lucy is going to pull away the football yet again?

Ben Pronin Says:

Disappointed that Federer couldn’t put up much of a fight, but regardless of his age right now, Nadal is in beast mode.

RZ Says:

That statistic is really a testament to how both men have consistently made the latter rounds (finals, semis, and quarters) of tournaments in order to face one another. So few of those 30 matches have been in the early rounds.

WTF Says:

LOL @ stats.

Rafa really is an overachiever in my opinion. No one believed early on that he could win on anything other than clay. Then he won Wimbledon and people claimed the grass was slowed down to favor him (something Federer once denied), but he’ll never be good enough to win on hard courts. Then he won AO, and people moved the goalposts again saying, yeah but that court is slow, not super fast like the USO. The rest is history. He wins the USO and finds himself playing for a Rafa slam.

I certainly didn’t think he had it in him to win a career slam, but he did it at a younger age than even Fed.

He has the right attitude to keep setting new records. He won’t break Federer’s record on slams won, but he will settle for having won 66% of matches played against Fed and making him his chump.

WTF Says:

I don’t think Fed is the kind that will retire when he’s on top.

He will play until he’s no longer got any realistic chances of winning the big titles. Remember, Agassi played till 36 and made the USO final, losing to none other than Fed, off the back of THREE five setters in a row, including on super saturday. That is a mighty ask for a 36 year old.

If Fed can remain as competitive as Andre post 30, he will keep playing. He still is competitive now, just not favorite to win titles.

Or maybe he will want to win another Wimbledon (hopefully this year) and retire on the spot at his favorite tournament. If he wins it this year, just maybe he will? If not, I can totally see him playing until 36.

Nadalista Says:

@Rsutherland, thank you for your kind information on Rafa and Federer’s linguistic skills, now I know.

Oh, and thank you for alerting me to @skeezer’s dastardly Jekyll and Hyde shinenigans, I consider myself advised.

Nadalista Says:

@WTF, personally, I hope Rafa continues over-achieving, right through RG 2013 for a start!

WTF Says:


Federer’s backhand is weaker than his forehand like most players, but the difference is much bigger for him. It’s clearly weaker than strong backhands like Djokovic and Murray.

Most two handers I’ve seen are stronger and more reliable than his, even though the single hander is more pleasing to the eye.

Nadal uses the same tactics against Fed as he does against other players, but players like Djokovic and Murray can handle his heavy topspin FH much better than Fed can.

Fed won most of his 17 slams not by relying on winning with his backhand but by dictating the play to the other guy and putting the pressure on them. When he plays Rafa, he finds he is the one being pressured most of the time.

skeezer Says:


More reliable maybe, but not more versatile.

Fed dictated very well from the BH, short chips, slice, etc. It was his variety in his hey day that threw off the baseliner. It set up his offense in a way. It wasn’t all about the end, that is the aggressive FH or whatever else to win the point.

Of course we are talking about today, as it is what it is, and yes, Murray and Nole both have more reliable stronger BH.

I am referring to Feds overall career(minus the RN FH).

As an example I loved how Murray ( in the last Slam Fed won in AO ) tried to pound Feds BH the whole match and Fed ate it for lunch coming out the with another Slam title. Fed’s BH was on fire that match.

BTW, thankfully for the game of Tennis, its not playing one guy that makes you one of the all time best, but against a field of players and a variety of surfaces throughout ons career.

Ahsan Najeeb Says:

Agree with Skeezer on Fed’s backhand… You dont become a GOAT if you have a weak backhand… Unfortunately people have short memories and only recent performances and matches stick to their mind…. That is why I believe players have to be v careful in choosing the right time for retirement…. I know its not an easy decision to make because you are not in it for pride and legacy only… you just love the sport and would love to be part of it at any cost.. So I hope Fed gets a chance to make the right decision at the right time

Fed’s backhand has been fabulous throughout his career and during 04-08 era he used to hit a lot of winners with it… It had a lot more strength, quite deceptive and accurate, one of the best slices which is quite a weapon especially on grass and one of the major reasons for his success on grass.. Don’t think you can call it weakat all…. The problem though is his game style… He has been an aggressor throughout his career and it is very difficult for an aggressor to be consistent… Look at Sampras .. he was also an aggressor but could not go beyond 30 because his shots had becomr increasingly inaccurate as he used to go for broke… Aggasi was more of a grinder who will take control of the rally before finishing it … He was able yo remain a top player till 35…. Ferrer is another player which belongs to tjis category… That is why I think Fed has done an exceptional job of prolonging his stay on top for such a long time… He can still be considered as the most consistent player throughout the last decade.. Everyone is aware of the stats… But maybe it will be difficult for him to continue for long just because of his gamestyle

andrea Says:

the bottom line is that Nadal is one the best clay court players the sport has ever seen. whether he’s defeating roger or ferrer or the legions of players that he’s given clay court smack downs to, his prowess on the surface is beyond ridiculous. and to sustain that level for years is equally ridiculous. really, i don’t think any of us believe that there is a player outside of Novak that can threaten Nadal at the FO this year, if Nadal is feeling good.

The Great Davy Says:

And I have beaten Rafael Nadull more than he has beat me. Only Your Great Davy can say this.

Ben Pronin Says:

The bottom line is Nadal is the BEST clay court player the sport has ever seen. Other greats are “one of the best”.

Rumble Says:


Hewitt is still very competitive when fit?? that shows how little you know about tennis.

The MOMENT Hewitt slowed down a bit, he just vanished. Not just from top 5, but from top 20. There was no plan B there.

Same thing with Nadal. His plan A is pretty darn good, especially on clay. But after that?

Anyway, time will tell. He has been hanging tough by winning the French (and only the French) the last few years. He took good advantage of 2010, when Fed had already declined while Djoke hadn’t hit top speed. That’s not happening again. I don’t think he will win any non clay slam again. Even on clay, maybe one more.

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