Which Tennis Record Will be the Most Difficult to Beat?


We have been privileged and blessed to live in an era where the three greatest male tennis players of all time have played for an extended period at the same time. With apologies to Sampras, Lendl, Laver, and other tennis greats, none of them could match the collective power, speed, agility, and sheer will-to-win of Nadal, Federer, and Djoković. 

During their 15 years of dominance, the triumvirate broke countless records and achieved incredible feats that other players could only dream of. Some of these records are mind-boggling, and it will take a herculean performance by some of the upcoming stars to beat them. 

Today, we’ll be debating which record will stand the test of time the longest.

Nadal’s Stunning 12 French Open Titles

If we had to pick a record that even a hundred years from now will probably remain unbeaten, then we can’t look much further than the 12 and counting French Open titles won by Nadal. To get a better understanding of just how difficult breaking this record would be, we’ll try to explain why Rafa is so good on clay, compared to the other surfaces. 

As you are probably aware of, clay is the slowest of all surfaces in tennis, with the ball bouncing a lot higher too. This gives Nadal that extra bit of time to run around the ball and hit as many of his ripping forehands as possible. 

Being a left-handed combined with the incredible topspin Nadal generates in his shots makes his crosscourt forehands so lethal. His athleticism and agility around the slippery clay also represent a significant advantage. Now that we’ve looked at why he’s so good on clay, let’s look at some of the numbers.

Nadal won his first French Open at the age of 19 and two days. He turned 19 on the day he beat the then number one Roger Federer in the semi-final. Rafa went on to win four consecutive French Open titles until the shocking defeat in the 2009 fourth round against Robin Soderling. Of course, he had some injuries that he cited after that match, and he had to withdraw from Wimbledon the same year.

Nadal exerted his revenge on Robin Soderling the following year in the 2010 French Open final when he retook his clay crown. He then won consecutively five FO titles, which put him on nine titles at the end of 2014.

In 2015, the Spaniard lost his second match, and last to date on the FO, losing to Djoković in straight sets in the quarter-finals. The following year, in 2016, he had to withdraw at the third round due to injury. 

In 2017, he came back strong and won in 2018 and 2019 as well, putting him on 12 French Open titles. 

To look at this record historically, the second-most wins at the French Open holds Bjorn Borg who won six times. If we look at it through other Grand Slam numbers, the record for the most Australian Open titles stands with Novak Djoković who won seven

The record for the most Wimbledon Open titles is held by Roger Federer, who won eight times there, and the US Open has been won five times by a few players in the Open era. 

Nadal has a 93-2 win-loss at the French Open and is the most dominant player on a particular surface by any player. Whether you’re a Federer or Djoković fan, you cannot deny the fact that this dominance has never been seen in tennis before. 

Novak Djoković’s 16,950 ATP Ranking Points

Now, the other fantastic record that may even compete with the 12 FO won by Nadal, in terms of the most unbeatable, is Djoković’s 16,950 ATP points. He amassed these points between 2015 and 2016 when he won four consecutive Grand Slams – a feat that neither Nadal or Federer achieved in their careers. 

To put this record into perspective, someone would need to win all four Grand Slams and nine Masters 1000s within 12 months to break it. This was the first time in tennis history that the world number one had more ranking points than the combined total of the world’s number two and three players. 

He did it by winning all four Grand Slams consecutively, becoming the first man to do so on three different surfaces. Rod Laver also won four in a row, but he didn’t do it on three different surfaces.

Djoković also won five Masters 1000s in this period as well as finished runner-up in three of the other four events. The Serb also won the World Tour Finals at the end of 2015 season.

The highest amount of points amassed by Roger Federer was 15,903 back in the 2006 season, and 15,390 by Rafael Nadal amassed between 2008 and 2009 calendar years.

These two records are absolutely stunning, and if he had to pick the two most unbeatable records in tennis, then it would be these two. However, we still give Nadal’s record a slight edge because of the longevity involved. For someone to beat this record would have to be at the top of his game for at least 13 years and win the French Open every single year.

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Stefan Nedeljkovic
Hi, I’m Stefan, and I live for sports. No… I’m serious, I literally live for sports. I grew up within a family unit where my mom was an avid tennis player, my father played football, and my uncles and aunts (all who visited us fairly regularly) played basketball and table tennis at a competitive level. So when we weren’t playing sports, we were watching it. And when we weren’t watching sports, we were listening to it on the radio in the car. So sports have always been a part of the fabric of not only my childhood, but also my adult life too. Personally, I can play most sports. But my favorite is tennis. Here at The Sporty, I’ll be using my all-rounder sports skills to bring you the latest and greatest from the world of sports. But I will also do my best to cover as much tennis related news as I can. So that’s me in a nutshell - game, set and match.