Casper Ruud thinks Rafael Nadal’s astonishing clay dominance put in a shadow the fact that Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are the “second-best ever clay-court players.” Since 2005, Nadal has won 14 French Open titles and he has also won the majority of the clay-court Masters tournaments.
During his career, Federer made 26 finals on clay and won 11 titles – 11 of his 15 defeats in clay finals came against Nadal. Meanwhile, Djokovic has 18 clay titles in his collection and he is the only player to have beaten Nadal in all three clay Masters tournaments.
Federer won one French Open title, while Djokovic will be aiming to win his third title at Roland Garros this year.
Ruud. Federer, Djokovic ‘the second-best ever clay-court players’
“Novak and Roger, they are probably the second-best ever clay-court players.
It’s just that it’s never really talked about because Rafa has all these records, so it’s tough. But anytime you’re playing one of these great guys or great players, it’s tough because you feel like it could be dependent on them a little bit more, especially on clay where the ball is a little slower and they have even more time to get the shots,” Ruud told Eurosport, per Sportskeeda.
Casper Ruud tells what it feels like to face Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic on clay court ð#RafaelNadal #NovakDjokovic #RogerFederer #CasperRuud #Tennis pic.twitter.com/mp71hAla3M — Sportskeeda Tennis (@SK__Tennis) April 7, 2023
Even though clay wasn’t Federer’s top surface, the Swiss was still a strong force on the surface.
Between 2006 and 2009, Federer made four consecutive finals at the French Open. Between 2006 and 2008, Federer was beaten by Nadal in three consecutive French Open finals. In 2009, Nadal suffered a shock defeat to Robin Soderling before the Swiss beat the Swede in the final to win his first and lone French Open title.
On the other side, Djokovic became a French Open champion after beating Andy Murray in the 2016 final. Before beating Murray, Djokovic twice lost the French Open final to Nadal and once to Stan Wawrinka. This year, Djokovic will try to prevent Nadal from winning a record 15th French Open title.