Hubert Hurkacz attains potential unbeatable record against Rafael Nadal on clay after crushing win

Sunday, 12 May 2024 at 00:30
Hubert Hurkacz became the only player to defeat Rafael Nadal on clay in drop 4 games or less since the Spaniard won his first French Open in 2005. At 37 years old and ranked world No. 305, Nadal barely made it to the second round of the Rome Open and fell to the 7th seed in a tough 1-6, 3-6 loss in 1 hour and 33 minutes.
The 10-times Rome champion succumbed to a player who doesn't feel entirely comfortable on clay and had suffered four consecutive defeats at Foro Italico. In what was possibly his last match in Rome, Nadal managed to win only four games, the lowest amount on clay since his first Grand Slam at Roland Garros 19 years ago.

The worst defeat on clay?

Only twice in his career has Nadal suffered defeats of this magnitude on clay. The first time was at the Mallorca Open in 2002. Nadal played his first professional tournament at 15 years and 10 months old, securing a victory in his debut against Paraguayan Ramon Delgado, becoming the 9th player in history to win his first ATP match before turning 16. In the second round, he faced Olivier Rochus, who handed him a 2-6, 2-6 defeat.
nadal trophy rg
Next challenge for Nadal will be at French Open in two weeks
A year later, in 2003, at 16 years old, he reached the third round of the Hamburg Open but suffered a tough loss to Argentine Gaston Gaudio (French Open champion a year later). It took 21 years for Nadal to suffer a similar defeat again.
After that, Nadal suffered a defeat on clay that can be quantitatively approached only once. This happened in the final of the 2015 Madrid Open against Andy Murray, where the British player completely outplayed Nadal and secured victory with a score of 6-3, 6-2.
The King of Clay has won 478 matches on clay since the beginning of his career and has lost only 47 (91%), accumulating 63 titles on the surface.

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