Rafael Nadal is one of the greatest tennis players of all time and has enjoyed an illustrious career so far. The Spaniard has played 1252 matches as of now, winning 1043 of them.
He has won a total of 91 singles titles including a record 21 Grand Slams and 36 Masters 1000 tournaments. Called the King of Clay, Rafael Nadal has an impeccable record on claycourt, having a win percentage of 92% on the surface. The Spaniard has triumphed in 464 out of 507 matches on clay so far.
Nadal has a win percentage of 78% on both hard and grass courts so far. He won 506 out of 646 matches on the former while winning 71 out of 91 matches on grass.
Over the years, Rafael Nadal has established himself as one of the finest players to grace a tennis court and has been a nightmare for even the best of opponents at times.
The Spaniard has been on the losing end on over 200 occasions so far but very few have a positive head-to-head record against him. Even Roger Federer managed to win only 16 out of 40 matches against him.
So far, only five individuals have won multiple matches against Nadal while also maintaining a positive head-to-head record against him. The list includes some of the finest players of all time along with a few surprising names.
So without any further ado, let us take a look at the five players who have the best head-to-head record against Rafael Nadal.
Honorable Mentions- Oliver Mutis, Joachim Johansson, Lloyd Harris, Paradorn Srichapan and Chris Guccione
#5. Alex Corretja- 2-0
Former World No. 2 and two-time French Open runner-up Alex Corretja beat Nadal on both occasions they played against each other in 2003.
The first match came in the second round of the Torneo Godo in Barcelona. Nadal received a wildcard for the tournament and faced Corretja after prevailing over Juan Antonio Marin in the first round. The then-16-year-old took the first set 6-3 but Corretja bounced back to beat him.
The two met just a few months later at the Madrid Masters. Both Nadal and Corretja received wildcards for the tournament and met in the first round. Once again, the latter won in three sets to reach the second round where he lost to Roger Federer.
#4. Dustin Brown- 2-0
Dustin Brown is one of the most entertaining players of recent times, and he's one of the few players who has won all of his matches against Rafael Nadal.
The first match between the two came at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle back in 2014. Nadal was the top seed in the tournament and received a bye to the second round, where he faced Brown. The German beat him 6-4, 6-1 to seal his place in the quarterfinals.
Nadal and Brown met in the second round of Wimbledon in 2015. The Spaniard was the tenth seed in the competition and reached the second round after beating Thomaz Bellucci in straight sets.
The German took the opening set before Nadal bounced back to win the second. However, Brown took the next two sets to seal his place in the third round of the tournament.
#3. Dominik Hrbaty- 3-1
Dominik Hrbaty, who reached the semifinals of the French Open in 1999, beat Nadal three times out of four encounters between the two. The first of these came in the opening round of the Grand Prix de Tennis de Lyon. Hrbaty won the match 6-3, 7-5 to reach the second round, where he lost to Mikhail Youzhny.
The second meeting between the two came in the final of the 2004 Heineken Open in Auckland. Nadal won the first set 6-4 but Hrbaty took the next two sets to win the fifth title of his career.
The two met in the 2005 Heineken Open as well, with the Slovak winning the first set 6-3. Nadal was forced to retire due to an injury, thus giving Hrbaty the win.
The Spaniard won the fourth and final meeting between the two in the third round of the 2005 Barcelona Open, triumphing 6-1, 6-2. He eventually went on to win the tournament without dropping a single set.
#2. Nikolay Davydenko- 6-5
Nikolay Davydenko was among the best players during the mid and late 2000s but not many would have expected him to have a 6-5 head-to-head record against Nadal. In fact, the Russian beat the King of Clay four times in a row.
Nadal and Davydenko never met at a Grand Slam but did lock horns in three finals, with the latter being triumphant in all three. The Spaniard won all three matches between the two that took place on claycourt, while Davydenko won six out of seven matches that were held on hardcourts.
The last meeting between the two came at the 2012 Madrid Masters, with Nadal winning 6-2, 6-2.
#1. Novak Djokovic- 30-28
No surprises here. Djokovic has the best head-to-head record against Nadal in terms of victories. The two have been involved in one of the fiercest rivalries in tennis history and have played 58 matches, with the Serb leading 30-28.
Nadal and Djokovic's first meeting came in the quarterfinals of the 2006 French Open, which the Spaniard won after the latter was forced to retire due to an injury.
The two have faced each other in 17 Grand Slam matches, with Nadal leading 10-7. They have faced each other in nine Major finals, the most for any two players, along with Nadal vs Federer.
Nadal and Djokovic have played some thrilling encounters over the years, most notably the 2012 Australian Open final that lasted for five hours and 53 minutes. This remains the longest Grand Slam final ever.
The two met twice last year and both matches came on claycourt. Nadal beat Djokovic in the final of the Rome Masters while the Serb beat the Spaniard in the semifinals of the French Open