Rafael Nadal has played almost 1,000 matches in his career against hundreds of opponents and, due to both his dominance on all three surfaces as well as her unprecedented dominance on clay, almost no one on earth can say they’ve got the better of Rafael Nadal — almost no one except his first-round opponent on Monday night at the U.S. Open, 18-year-old Borna Coric.
Last October, Coric, then 17, beat Nadal in straight sets in Basel when Rafa was battling an appendix injury that would later lead to surgery. That gave the young Croatian a 1-0 record against Nadal that he’ll bring into Monday’s late match at Arthur Ashe Stadium. How many others can boast having a winning record against Rafa? Not many.
Roger Federer is a pathetic 10-23. Andy Murray doesn’t fare much better at 6-15. The rest of the top 10 (Kei Nishikori, San Wawrinka, Tomas Berdych, David Ferrer, Marin Cilic and Milos Raonics) is 15-68 against Rafa, with only Berdych (4-19) and Ferrer (6-23) having more than two wins against him.
So who else can boast what Coric can (at least for the next 10 hours of so?) Nick Kyrgios is famously 1-0 against Nadal after upsetting him at Wimbledon last year. Dustin Brown is the only active player to be 2-0 against Nadal, thanks to two grass wins, including one at Wimbledon this year.
That’s it. One, two, three. Of all active players with a current ATP ranking, it’s only Coric, Kyrgios and Brown who can boast a winning record against Rafa. Given the dip in the Spaniard’s recent play, it may not be that way for long, so revel in it while you can, gentleman (and Kyrgios). And if Borna Coric needs any inspiration for Monday’s match, look no further than Brown, who followed up a win in his first match against Nadal with a Grand Slam win in his second.