The 6 players who have beaten Novak Djokovic at the Italian Open: Rafael Nadal features heavily

Shahida Jacobs
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal

Novak Djokovic has lost only 11 matches at the Italian Open and more than half of those have come against his fierce rival Rafael Nadal.

Tennis great Djokovic will make his 18th main draw appearance at the ATP Masters event in 2024 and his incredible record reads: 78 matches played, 67 matches won, 11 matches lost with his win-loss percentage at 86%.

The 24-time Grand Slam winner has won six trophies at Foro Italico with those title runs coming in 2008, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2020 and 2022.

In case you were wondering, he beat Stan Wawrinka in his first-ever final and followed it up with wins over Nadal in 2011 and 2014 while fellow Big Three rival Roger Federer was on the receiving end in the 2015 final.

READ MORE: The 6 men to beat Rafael Nadal at the Italian Open

In 2020 he beat Diego Schwartzman to lift his fifth title while his most recent final win was over Stefanos Tsitispas.

The six players to have beaten Novak Djokovic in Rome:

Rafael Nadal – 2007, 2009, 2012, 2018, 2019, 2021

The King of Clay was the first player to beat the Serbian in Rome as he got the better of the 20-year-old Djokovic in the quarter-final in 2007. Djokovic, though, returned with a bang the following year as he won the title with a three-set win over Stan Wawrinka in the final.

But his nemesis Nadal was back to haunt him in the 2009 final as the Spaniard won 7-6 (7-2), 6-2 before beat Djokovic again in the 2012 final, this time winning 6-4, 6-4.

Defeat No 4 against Nadal at Foro Italico came in the semi-final in 2018 as the top seed won 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 while the final two losses against Nadal came in the finals in 2019 and 2021 with the Spaniard winning 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 and 7-5, 1-6, 6-3 respectively.

Fernando Verdasco – 2010

Spaniard Fernando Verdasco claimed the last of his four wins over Djokovic in the quarter-final in Rome in 2010 as he defeated the Serbian 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 6-4 in three hours and 17 minutes.

Tomas Berdych – 2013

After losing the 2012 final against Nadal, Djokovic suffered another last-eight defeat as he went down against 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 against Tomas Berdych.

Djokovic was serving for a place in the semi-finals at 6–2 and 5–2 up, but lost focus went down in three sets as Berdych claimed only his second win in 15 matches against the Serbian.

“I played very well and was two points from winning. Then the entire match changed.”

Andy Murray – 2016

Following back-to-back titles, Andy Murray denied Djokovic a hat-trick in 2016 as he defeated the top seed in the final, winning 6-3, 6-3 for his first win on clay against Djokovic in five attempts.

Djokovic was unimpressed that play was allowed to continue despite the courts being slippery as he felt the surface was “too dangerous”.

“To me it’s also ridiculous that the chair umpire, who doesn’t wear tennis shoes and wears the casual shoes, comes out and just slides on the line and says “okay, the court is good” or not,” the Serbian said.

“If you keep on going for the reasons that are only familiar to himself, then the risk for an injury is much higher than it can be.”

Alexander Zverev – 2017

Djokovic lost back-to-back finals in Rome as 20-year-old Alexander Zverev stunned the Serbian in the 2017 showpiece match.

What made Zverev’s win even more impressive was the fact that he didn’t face a single break point.

“He didn’t get much from my side. I played very poor today. Just couldn’t find any rhythm,” Djokovic said.

Holger Rune – 2023

Djokovic’s most recent defeat at the Italian Open came in the quarter-final in 2023 against rising star Holger Rune in yet another rain-affected match.

The 20-year-old Rune won 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 as Djokovic clashed with chair umpire Mohamed Lahyani over the playing conditions.