Will Rafael Nadal Break Federer’s Grand Slam Record


After winning the 2019 US Open, Rafael Nadal is closest to Roger Federer than he has ever been in terms of Grand Slam titles won. He has 19 titles, one less than the Swiss Maestro. It’s absolutely astonishing what both of these guys have been doing. In the history of the sport which has gone on for over a century (the Open era began in 1968), no other player has won more than 14 Grand Slam titles.

Federer started winning Grand Slams a lot earlier than Nadal, which is why the gap between has not been a small one. The biggest gap between the two was in 2007 after the US Open. Federer had 12 Grand Slams at that point, and Rafa had three (three French Open titles).

Nadal Has the Age Advantage

Looking at the age, Federer is 38 years old, while Rafa is five years younger. Before Federer started winning Slams, the roughage where a tennis player stopped winning was around 30. Rafa won two Slams at the age of 33, and he doesn’t look like he’s going to end soon.

Let’s be honest here; we all expect him to win at least one more French Open. That feat alone would already put him past the 20 titles won by Roger Federer.

Likewise, Federer may also win another slam, even though many people believe he’s done after the heartbreaking loss at this year’s Wimbledon. After all, he was only one point away from winning his 21st Grand Slam, but we can’t write him off yet. The draw could open up for him, or Nadal and Djoković could get injured (not that we want this to happen).

Also, he beat Nadal six out of their last seven meetings, so by no means we think that Roger is done winning slams. In fact, if we had to put a number in, we believe that Federer will capture one more Grand Slam. But even if he does win one more, Rafa needs two French Opens to match it.

Nadal was asked about his ambitions with Grand Slams and said that he would obviously like to be the player with the most Slams. However, he also added that he still competes because he loves the game. This was a politically correct answer, but we believe all of them will be fighting tooth and nail to get this record as it is probably the most crucial record in terms of the GOAT debate.

For us, having the most Slams doesn’t definitively make you the GOAT; it’s just a part of the argument. It’s safe to say that it’s the most significant part, though, as Grand Slams are the most prestigious tournaments to win.

Nadal and Federer Are Equal in Terms of “Big” Titles Won

Looking at the big titles, Nadal and Federer are now tied. Both have won 54 big titles each. By big titles, we mean the Grand Slams, Masters 1000, and the World Tour Finals. Funnily enough, Novak Djoković is also on 54, so the Big Three are all tied at this number. However, Rafa is the only one of the three to have an Olympic Gold medal in singles.

2020 Will Be Crucial for Nadal

In our opinion, the tennis landscape will be decided next year. We believe that 2020 will be a significant year, with the new guys like Medvedev knocking on the door. So this may be the last year that the Big Three are dominating.

Last three years, every single slam has been won by a member of the Big Three. They are still keeping the young guns out, but the next year could be the year when they are dethroned. Rafa is likely going to win the French Open, Federer has a great shot at Australian Open, given his recent performances there. And Wimbledon will be his biggest chance to win a Grand Slam.

As for Rafa, the US Open will probably be the most likely slam to win besides the French Open.

How Long Can Rafa Keep Up Playing At a High Level?

In terms of longevity, we believe that Rafa will go on for at least four or five more years, and that will give him plenty of opportunities to add new titles to his Grand Slam tally. Even when he’s close to retirement, he’ll just probably play the clay season, especially if he’s still doing well on this surface.

Federer has done kind of the reverse in recent years where he’s not played the French Open a couple of times.

Rafa Has the Edge in Head-to-Head

As for head-to-head, Rafa leads by 24-16, but most of the wins came on clay. Federer leads on the hard courts 11-9, and 3-1 on the grass. In terms of finals they played, Rafa is 14-10 ahead, and in the Grand Slam finals, the Spaniard leads by 10-4. However, six of those wins came on the French Open.

Is Rafa the GOAT?

To sum it up, we don’t see how Nadal is not going to break Federer’s record. He’s still almost unbeatable on clay; he is five years younger, and aside from Djoković, no other player on the ATP tour has managed to find a solution for his topspins. In our humble estimation, he and Djoković will surpass Federer, with Rafa ending up with around 24 titles. This is mind-blowing, to say the least.