Rafael Nadal has been one of the standout performers on the ATP tour for one and a half decades. Together with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, Nadal forms the 'Big 3' trifecta of men's tennis
The Spaniard's 83.2% career win-loss is the best in the Open Era, while his Grand Slam title tally of 19 is only one short of Federer's record of 20. Nadal holds the record for most Grand Slam titles at a single tournament (Roland Garros-12), while he along with Federer are the only players in the Open Era to contest at least 5 finals at all the 4 Grand Slam tournaments.
You may also like: 2019 ended 20-19 for Federer and Nadal atop the Grand Slam title leaderboard. Would 2020 end 20-20?
Nadal is the all-time Masters 1000 title leader (35 titles) and also the all-time Masters 1000 match wins leader (384). The left-hander's 11 titles in Monte Carlo is a record for most titles at a Masters 1000 tournament.
Nadal's triumph at the Principality in 2017 marked the first instance of a player winning 10 titles at a claycourt tournament, a feat that the Spaniard has matched or exceeded at two other tournaments: Roland Garros - 12 titles, and Barcelona - 11 titles.
The 19-time Grand Slam titlist became the only player in the Open Era after Rod Laver (1969) to win 3 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments in the same season, when he lifted titles at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and US Open in 2010. Nadal is the youngest of 5 players in the Open Era to achieve the coveted feat of winning the career Grand Slam.
In exactly 50 tournaments contested by Nadal during the course of his illustrious career, a tally which also includes two team events (Davis Cup and Laver Cup), the Spaniard has reached the final in 35 different tournaments, winning the title at 26 of them. Nadal's record of 69% success in tournament finals is the 9th best in the Open Era, and better than that of his Big 3 peers Djokovic (10th) and Federer (19th).
Nadal has never lost a final in 14 tournaments (12 at Roland Garros, 11 in Barcelona, 5 at the Coupe Rogers, 3 in Stuttgart and 1 apiece at 10 different tournaments). However, despite possessing an exemplary record in title matches, the Spaniard has had his share of near misses or missed opportunities at some tournaments.
Nadal has come up short in the final in 21 different tournaments. Let us have a look at 4 tournaments where the Mallorcan has endured 3 or more final defeats.
#4 Madrid - 3 defeats in 8 finals
One of two players, the other being Federer, to win the Madrid Masters on two different surfaces, four-time Madrid champion Nadal has suffered all 3 of his final defeats in the Spanish capital after the tournament transitioned to clay in 2009.
Nadal went down to Federer in straight sets in the 2009 final, and two years later it was Djokovic who lifted the title at the expense of the Spaniard. After his only successful title defence at the tournament in 2014, Nadal lost to Andy Murray in the 2015 final.
It is at this tournament that Nadal endured a loss against his compatriot Fernando Verdasco for the first time in 14 matches. Nadal squandered a double break lead at 5-2 in the deciding set of the pair's 2012 Madrid Masters Round of 16 clash, in the only edition of the tournament on blue clay.