5 players who have reached the most ATP Tour finals on clay ft. Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic
There is no doubt that Rafael Nadal is one of the greatest ever tennis players on clay, maybe even the best ever when it comes to dominating opponents on the surface.
With 13 Roland Garros titles under his belt, the 21-time Grand Slam champion has won more than twice that of the next-best performer in the tournament’s history in the Open Era — Bjorn Borg with six titles.
But Nadal is not the only one who has shown a proclivity to play on clay. Throughout the years, men’s tennis has witnessed a horde of players who are particularly suited to playing on this surface, so much so that the term “claycourt specialist” has become ingrained in the collective public mind.
One of the metrics that can be used to work out the best players on clay on the ATP Tour (since it was formally restructured in 1990) is the number of semifinals they have reached on the surface across their entire career. Without further ado, here’s a look at five of the top players based on that criteria:
#1 Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic has reached 44 claycourt semifinals till date
By reaching the semifinals at the ongoing Serbia Open, Novak Djokovic achieved his 44th time reaching the stage on clay (17 titles). 11 of those have come at the French Open, out of which he has managed to reach the final on six occasions and win the title twice.
In Masters 1000 tournaments, the World No. 1 has reached 25 clay semifinals, out of which he has reached the final 18 times. 10 of those have ultimately resulted in the Serb lifting the trophy.
#2 David Ferrer
Between 2002 and 2017, David Ferrer reached the semifinals of 50 tournaments on clay, out of which he won 13 titles. Unfortunately, only two of those instances came at Roland Garros, and the Spaniard only reached one final in his career at the tournament.
Although Ferrer did not win a Masters 1000 event on clay, he reached nine semifinals and two finals. In ATP 500 events, the former World No. 3 reached 11 finals from 17 semifinals appearances and ended up winning five titles at that level.
#3 Thomas Muster
Thomas Muster won 35 of the 51 clay tournaments he reached the semifinals of since 1990
The former World No. 1 reached the semifinals of claycourt Masters 1000 tournaments on eight occasions, winning the title six times and finishing as the runner-up one other time.
#4 Carlos Moya
Between 1995 and 2008, Carlos Moya reached 52 semifinals on clay, out of which he won 16 titles. Interestingly, the Spaniard reached only one semifinal, which he capitalized on by going all the way to win his first and only Grand Slam title.
In Masters 1000 tournaments, Moya has reached 8 semifinals on clay and has gone on to reach the final thrice (two titles). The former World No. 1 has progressed to the semifinals of 11 ATP 500 clay events, out of which he reached the final in the last five and secured the trophy thrice.
#5 Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal has reached 80 semifinals on clay till date
Rafael Nadal has reached 80 semifinals on clay till date, out of which the Mallorcan has won 62 titles — the most in ATP history. The World No. 4 has reached 14 semifinals at Roland Garros till date, and has gone on to win the title in all but one of them (2021).
In Masters 1000 events, Nadal has a haul of 37 semifinals to his name. 26 of those have witnessed the 21-time Grand Slam champion lift the trophy, while he has reached the final on seven more occasions. The Spaniard has also reached 21 ATP 500 semifinals on clay, claiming 18 titles along the way.