Tennis – World No. 2 Rafael Nadal, of Spain, leads the ATP Tour when it comes to breaking serve in nine of the past 15 seasons, according to an ATP stats analysis published by the ATP Tour website. Nadal has been the season leader in return games won a record nine times, with the first coming in 2005 and the most recent coming in 2019.
He has also been the return games won leader in the past two years and five of the past seven years. World No. 1 Novak Djokovic came out on top on two occasions – in 2015 and 2011 while Roger Federer does not figure as the leader for this stat in any of the previous years.
Here is a list of the top players for each year from 1991 to 2009 when it comes to return games won.
2019 – Rafael Nadal 34.97% 2018 – Rafael Nadal 36.55% 2017 – Deigo Schwartzman 34.76% 2016 – Rafael Nadal 40.75% 2015 – Novak Djokovic 34.44% 2014 – Rafael Nadal 34.97% 2013 – Rafael Nadal 33.84% 2012 – Rafael Nadal 37.70% 2011 – Novak Djokovic 38.84% 2010 – Juan Ignacio Chela 32.22% 2009 – Rafael Nadal 33.56% 2008 – Rafael Nadal 33.49% 2007 – David Ferrer 36.09% 2006 – Nikolay Davydenko 35.41% 2005 – Rafael Nadal 37.54% 2004 – Filippo Volandri 37.46% 2003 – Guillermo Coria 38.83% 2002 – Lleyton Hewitt 33.06% 2001 – L.
Hewitt 33.48% 2000 – Karol Kucera 31.55% 1999 – Andre Agassi 33.83% 1998 – Karol Kucera 33.51% 1997 – Alex Corretja 33.42% 1996 – Michael Chang 35.28% 1995 – Thomas Muster 35.92% 1994 – Alberto Berasategui 36.83% 1993 – Andre Agassi 37.34% 1992 – Michael Chang 36.70% 1991 – Magnus Gustafsson 36.48%.
Rafael Nadal wins perfect title No. 27 to extend lead over Roger Federer, Djokovic
Winning an ATP title is always a special moment in a player’s career, putting him in the spotlight of many tennis fans around the world. The taste of victory is even better when you claim the crown without losing a set, a specialty of the legends from the past like Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors.
Since the beginning of the ATP Tour in 1990, Rafael Nadal has been the most dominant player in that segment, with 27 ATP titles won without losing a set. The first of those came already in 2004 in Sopot when he was 18, with more coming in Acapulco and Stuttgart in 2005, all on his beloved clay.
Two years later, the Spaniard stood above all the others in Indian Wells with six straight sets triumphs, repeating the feat in Monte Carlo and Barcelona and barely missing a chance at Roland Garros where he lost one set against Roger Federer in the final.
In 2008, Rafa was the player to beat on clay once again, lifting trophies in Monte Carlo and Roland Garros in dominant style and writing history as one of only five players in the Open era who claimed a Major crown without losing a set.
Nadal did the same in 2010 and had the opportunity for another notable trophy without dropping a set at the US Open, beating Novak Djokovic 3-1 in the final. Two years later, Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome proved to be perfect events for Nadal again, with one set lost in the final at Roland Garros against Novak Djokovic.
After Roland Garros 2014, Nadal experienced two and a half rough years due to injuries, returning even stronger in 2017 when he claimed the third Roland Garros title without losing a set, doing the same in Monte Carlo and Barcelona next spring and having to wait for some time to add the 27th trophy of this kind to his collection.
It came at the end of February in Acapulco when Rafa lost only 25 games in ten sets, struggling in only one set against Miomir Kecmanovic and toppling the rivals in all the others to bring the title home and join the legends from the past on the special list, leaving Roger Federer on 21 titles without losing a set and Novak Djokovic on 19.