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Novak Djokovic Roland Garros 2021

Novak Djokovic clay record: How good is he on his least successful surface?


When discussing clay court records of the top men tennis players, the discussion is heavily skewered by the brilliance of Rafael Nadal. We rarely look at Novak Djokovic when it comes to clay, but we really should.

Djokovic is, of course, not the player on clay that Nadal is. But, then again, no one is, and it is unfair to judge anyone against the Spaniard when it comes to the red dirt. Nadal is a brilliant exception and his record over nearly two decades proves it.

What about Djokovic’s record on clay, though? Yes, it doesn’t stand up to Nadal’s but how does it stand up to the rest?

Novak Djokovic win percentage on clay

Of all the three surfaces on the ATP Tour, clay is the one for which Djokovic has the lowest win-percentage. That is misleading, though. It’s not a bad win-percentage at all. In fact, it is quite astonishingly good.

Djokovic has won 80.4% of his 322 matches on clay. To understand just how sensational that is, you need to understand the context.

Indeed, only three men in the history of the ATP have bettered that statistic. Nadal is out on top as you would expect with 91.33%, which is otherworldly. No one will be surprised to see Bjorn Borg in second either. The Swede did not play long enough, but when he still managed 329 matches on clay during his career and win 85.71% of them.

Ivan Lendl is the only other player who can currently boast a better career win-percentage than Djokovic on clay, and only by a slither. He retired having won 81.03% of his matches on the red dirt.

Guillermo Villas (79.9%), Ilie Nastase (77.99%), Ken Rosewall (77.54%) and Jimmy Connors 77.39%) are next.

In terms of active players, other than Nadal the closest anyone can get to Djokovic is Stefanos Tsitsipas. The Greek is currently at 75.5%, just ahead of Casper Ruud (72.29%).

How many clay titles has Djokovic won?

In total, 18 of the 93 career titles have come on clay. Again, Nadal has played a big influence in that. Had it not been for the Spaniard, it’s reasonable to assume Djokovic’s clay title haul would be far greater.

That number should still not be sniffed at, though. In fact, it is exceptional and places Djokovic tenth on the all-time list.

Obviously Nadal is top with 63, and Vilas comes next with a massively impressive 49. Thomas Muster, the brilliant Austrian who was always at home on clay completes the top three with 40.

Borg (32), Manuel Orantes (32), Nastase (30) and Lendl (28) are the next on the list, with Jose Luis Clerc (21) and Mats Wilander (20) completing the compliment of players more successful than Djokovic on clay. You would expect the Serbian to at least haul in the latter two before he is done, though.

Dominic Thiem is next best with regards active players. He has 10 clay titles to his name so far. Meanwhile, Fabio Fognini and Casper Ruud have eight each.

Novak Djokovic clay finals

Djokovic is also in the top ten of all time for the most clay finals. Interestingly, though, this is one list of clay achievements that Nadal does not top.

Vilas reached 77 clay court finals in his career, which is six more than Nadal’s current total of 71.

Novak Djokovic currently has 32 clay court finals to his name, which is enough to put him eighth on the all-time list.

Again, the only active player (other than Nadal) who can get close to Djokovic in this regard is Thiem, who has reached 17 finals on the surface.

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