The ATP Tour's Instagram handle posted a fascinating clip consisting of some of the best shots played on clay through the years. Captioned "Amazing Rallies & Winners On Clay", the post has already garnered more than 316,387 views. It is no surprise of course, that the footage is dominated by 13-time French Open winner and the 'King of Clay' Rafael Nadal. However, most of the clips show Rafa losing points, which is a testament to how well his competitors have to play to beat him on clay.
A new video compilation of the ATP's Best Rallies & Winners On Clay is ruffling a few feathers in the Rafael Nadal fan camp. The video shows a number of thrilling clay rallies, but surprisingly, most of them seem to be going against Nadal. In the first clip, this year's US Open winner Dominic Thiem returns a brilliant Rafa drop shot and gets it just inside the line at the Madrid Open in 2018. Rafa lost that quarterfinal to Thiem.
Similarly, the video shows Nadal losing a point to David Ferrer at the 2013 Rome Masters quarterfinals - a match that Rafa would end up winning in 3 sets before going on to win the title. Then follows a clip of Nadal losing to Federer at the 2006 Rome Masters final that went to five sets before Rafa clinched the title. Another clip shows Rafa losing a point to the then 'King of Clay' Guillermo Coria at the 2005 bRome Masters. Rafa won the match in 5 sets on his tournament debut.
The two best points on the list are by Novak Djokovic against Nadal. The first of them is at the 2016 Rome Masters quarterfinal that Djokovic won in straight sets. Djokovic lost the final that year to Andy Murray. The number 1 clip on the compilation is from a Nadal-Novak Djokovic game at the 2009 Monte-Carlo Masters final. It shows Rafa winning a point in the last set of the game that he won in three sets 6-3, 2-6, 6-1.
Other rallies that find mention in the clip are - Thomas Muster vs Boris Becker 1995 Monte-Carlo Master final that Thomas Muster won, the Gael Monfils vs Fucsovics 2019 Madrid Open round of 32 match won by Monfils, a Boris Becker vs Sergi Bruguera 1991 Monte-Carlo match and a Djokovic vs Murray 2016 Rome Masters final.
Nadal is currently ranked at No. 2 by the ATP. The Spaniard has 9,850 points compared to World No. 1 Djokovic's 11,740. With his French Open win, Rafa is set to earn 2000 points while Djokovic will add 1200 for his second-place finish.