The 6 men to beat Rafael Nadal at the Italian Open with Novak Djokovic only man to achieve feat more than once

Shahida Jacobs
Rafael Nadal in action
Spain's Rafael Nadal prepares to serve

Rafael Nadal is set for his 19th main draw appearance at the Italian Open and he will start the 2024 edition with an astonishing 90% win record at the ATP Masters 1000 event.

The tennis great is a 10-time champion at Foro Italico having won titles in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2018, 2019 and 2021.

He has a 69–8 win-loss record at the Rome tournament with only six players able to defeat him at the event during his illustrious career and one player has achieved the unique feat of beating him three times.

Players who have beaten Rafael Nadal at the Italian Open:

Novak Djokovic – 2011, 2014, 2016

After winning the 2009 and 2010 editions, Nadal was denied another hat-trick of trophies in Rome as Novak Djokovic beat him in the final of the 2011 tournament. The final itself didn’t live up to expectations as Djokovic won 6-4, 6-4 for his 39th consecutive win on the ATP Tour as he took his unbeaten streak in 2011 to 37–0.

Nadal turned the tables on Djokovic the next year as he won the final before he defeated Roger Federer in the 2013 final, but Djokovic again proved to be his nemesis in 2014 with a 4–6, 6–3, 6–3 victory.

Djokovic’s third win over Nadal in Rome came in 2016 as he defeated his great Spanish rival 7-5, 7-6 (7-4) in the quarter-final.

READ MORE: The 3 men to beat Rafael Nadal in consecutive clay court matches

Juan Carlos Ferrero – 2008

Former world No 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero was the first man to get the better of Nadal in Italy as he defeated his fellow Spaniard in the second round.

Nadal started the 2008 tournament with a 17-0 record as he was the three-time defending champion. In fact, he was 105-1 in matches on clay before the tournament, but went down 7-5, 6-1 against Ferrero.

Stan Wawrinka – 2015

After losing the 2014 final to Djokovic, Nadal’s “lean period” in Rome continued the following year as Stan Wawrinka became only the third player to beat him at Foro Italico.

Wawrinka won 7-6 (9-7), 6-2 as Nadal lost his fifth match on clay that year. It was a precursor of what was to come at Roland Garros as Nadal was beaten in straight sets by Djokovic in the quarter-final before the Serbian went down in four sets in the final against Wawrinka.

Dominic Thiem – 2017

Nadal’s struggles at Rome continued as he went four years without a title with Dominic Thiem joining the exclusive club of players to defeat him at the event.

Seeded eighth, Thiem defeated his esteemed rival 6-4, 6-3 in the quarter-final before losing against Djokovic in the next match. The defeat was a surprise as Nadal had won all 17 of his matches on clay before losing against Thiem. The Spaniard, though, did go on to win the French Open a few weeks later.

Diego Schwartzman – 2020

After winning the 2018 and 2019 titles, Nadal was denied another hat-trick as Argentine Diego Schwartzman stunned him in the quarter-final in Rome as the Argentine won his first match against the Spaniard in 10 attempts.

“For sure it’s my best match ever,” Schwartzman said after his 6-2, 7-5 victory. “I played a few times against the three big champions in tennis. I never beat them until today. I’m very happy.”

Denis Shapovalov – 2021

Canadian Denis Shapovalov is the last man to beat Rafael Nadal at the Italian Open as he claimed a 1-6, 7-5, 6-2 win over the Spaniard in the third round in 2021.

Nadal struggled with a rib injury during the tournament and there were major doubts over his French Open participation, but he played at the clay-court major and went on to be teh last man standing as he won his 14th title at Roland Garros.