10 players who have beaten Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic but never Rafael Nadal
Because of their contrasting styles of play, a player who is successful against one of the Big-3 is not necessarily guaranteed to be successful against the other two. Sometimes, a player might have even succeeded in beating two of the three, but never gotten past the third.
As it turns out, there are 10 players in total who have scored a win over both Federer and Djokovic but failed to unlock the key to beating Nadal despite their best attempts. Here’s a look at them all:
#1 Fabrice Santoro
Former World No. 1 Fabrice Santoro defeated Roger Federer twice in 11 attempts, beating the Swiss in the 1999 Open de Toulouse and the 2002 Madrid Masters. Against Novak Djokovic, the Frenchman has triumphed once in two meetings — at the 2007 Paris Masters.
Against Rafael Nadal, however, Santoro played only once and ended up losing comprehensively. The duo faced off in the 2007 Qatar Open, where the 21-time Grand Slam champion raced to a quick 6-0, 6-1 win.
#2 Filippo Volandri
Filippo Volandri has a hat-trick of losses against Rafael Nadal
Filippo Voladri took on Roger Federer at the Rome Masters in the 2003 and 2007 editions, losing the former and winning the latter. The Italian won the only meeting against Novak Djokovic too, beating the Serb at the 2004 Croatia Open.
The Mallorcan, on the other hand, won all three meetings against the former World No. 25, besting him at the 2006 Rome Masters and the 2007 Paris Masters as well as their Davis Cup meeting in 2006.
#3 Ernests Gublis
Ernests Gulbis and Roger Federer have met five times on the ATP Tour and the Swiss leads their head-to-head 3-2. His only two losses came at the 2010 Rome Masters and the 2014 French Open. Novak Djokovic has lost to the Latvian only once in their eight meetings till date, doing so at the 2009 Brisbane International.
But against Rafael Nadal, the former World No. 10 never prevailed despite seven attempts. Barring two matches (2011 and 2013 Qatar Open), Gulbis managed to win at least one set but could never go all the way.
#4 Ivo Karlovic
Ivo Karlovic is winless against Rafael Nadal in five attempts
Ivo Karlovic’s sole victory against Roger Federer in 14 attempts came at the 2008 Cincinnati Masters, where the Croat upset the top seed in three sets. Interestingly, Novak Djokovic trails the head-to-head against Karlovic 1-2, losing in the 2008 Madrid Masters and the 2015 Qatar Open.
Rafael Nadal, however, is unbeaten against the former World No. 14 in 5 matches, beating him in two Masters 1000 events (2011 Indian Wells Masters and 2015 Shanghai Masters) and one Grand Slam (2010 Australian Open).
#5 Richard Gasquet
In 21 encounters against Roger Federer, Richard Gasquet has only two wins, both on clay — the 2005 Monte-Carlo Masters and the 2011 Rome Masters. Against Novak Djokovic, the Frenchman has just one win to show for, at the 2007 year-end Championships.
But despite taking on the Spaniard 17 times till date, Gasquet is yet to outclass him even once. The former World No. 1 has defeated him nine times on hardcourt and eight times on claycourt, including thrice at Roland Garros and twice at the US Open.
#6 Radek Stepanek
Radek Stepakek has lost to Rafael Nadal on all four possible surfaces
Both Radek Stepanek‘s victories over Roger Federer in 16 attempts came on clay, where he beat him at the 2002 Swiss Open and the 2008 Rome Masters. The Czech’s only victory against Novak Djokovic came on hardcourt, at the 2006 Rotterdam Open.
Rafael Nadal, on the other hand, has beaten the former World No. 8 on all surfaces, including carpet. The two have never met in a Grand Slam, but the World No. 4 has bested Stepanek in four Masters 1000 tournaments.
In 12 matches against Roger Federer, Tommy Robredo has won only once — at the 2013 US Open. Novak Djokovic has lost to the Spaniard twice in nine meetings, losing in straight sets at the 2005 Paris Masters and the 2014 Cincinnati Masters.
The 21-time Grand Slam champion, though, has won all seven meetings against the former World No. 5. The 34-year-old has lost only one set — at the 2009 Paris Masters, and has bagelled his compatriot twice so far.
Kevin Anderson has taken only one set off Nadal in five matches
Kevin Anderson has only one win each against Roger Federer (seven meetings) and Novak Djokovic (11 meetings), prevailing over the Swiss in 2018 Wimbledon and over the Serb at the 2008 Miami Masters.
Rafael Nadal, however, has come out the victor in all five clashes against the South African, losing only one set along the way. The Spaniard has beaten the former World No. 5 twice in Grand Slams and twice at Masters 1000 tournaments.
#9 Tommy Haas
Tommy Haas has defeated Roger Federer four times in 17 meetings, twice on grasscourt and twice on hardcourt. Against Novak Djokovic, the German has three wins in nine clashes, twice on grasscourt and once on hardcourt.
The 21-time Grand Slam champion, meanwhile, has faced Haas all five times on hardcourt and won every single one of them in straight sets. The last two meetings came at the Australian Open (2009 and 2012), where the World No. 4 ended up reaching the final in both cases.
#10 Marat Safin
Marat Safin has lost both matches against Rafael Nadal in straight sets
Marat Safin has a perfect record against Novak Djokovic, beating the Serb at the 2005 Australian Open and 2008 Wimbledon in straight sets. Against Roger Federer, the Russian has triumphed twice in 12 attempts — the 2002 Kremlin Cup and the 2005 Australian Open.
But the former World No. 1 has been on the losing side both times he took on Rafael Nadal. Safin fell in straight sets to the Mallorcan at the 2007 Canada Masters and the 2009 China Open, the latter of which came in his final year on the ATP Tour.