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View Full Version : Better claycourter: Justine Henin or Arantxa Sanchez Vicario?


Lionheart392
05-07-2009, 03:03 PM
I thought it'd be interesting to see who people think ranks higher in the claycourt history books, Justine Henin or Arantxa Sanchez Vicario? Henin won 4 French Opens as opposed to Sanchez's 3, and also won 3 in a row whereas Sanchez never managed to win the title back to back. However, Sanchez made 6 finals compared to Henin's 4, and I'm sure many would argue that she had stronger competition to win her titles than Henin, as well as being unfortunate to play in an era dominated by Graf and Seles.

grafselesfan
05-07-2009, 03:18 PM
Sanchez never beat both both Graf and Seles to win the French. She never won a French during Seles's prime either. She won a French when Seles was 15, while Seles was off with the stabbing, and when Seles was past her prime in 1998. Graf was a better matchup for her than Seles and she had some success. However the only French she won beating Steffi was 1989. 1994 she didnt have to face either Seles or Graf, but beat an on fire Mary Piece.

I would have to say Henin. I would rate Seles over Henin even with 1 less French but not Sanchez. She was a great clay courter who still had more competition overall on clay, but she never dominated on clay or at the French like Henin. Her French Open tiles are 4 to 5 years apart each showing great longevity but not anything remotedly close to dominance. Henin won 3 in a row and 4 in 5 years.

boredone3456
05-07-2009, 03:30 PM
Vicario slightly in my opinion. She was a much tougher opponent on clay in the 90's against a much deeper clay court field than Justine had to deal with. Also, Arantxa's game was picture perfect for clay and while she had success on other surfaces and won the US Open she was a clay court specialist at heart, her game was a clay court game, whereas Henin evolved her game into more of a power game on other surface. Arantxa played during the same clay court Era as , Graf, Seles, Erratic but still potentially deadly Sabatini, and the deadly when on fire Pierce. Henin had weaker competition, but only got 1 more French. Although yes she retired early and had she stuck around I do think she wins more. Arantxa was often overshadowed by her competition, but her game was modeled to clay, whereas Henin was sort of a hybrid. At their respective bests it would be a fight, but I think Arantxa's impeccable footspeed could wear down Henin, who even on clay preferred shorter points and suffered at times in long rallies.

grafselesfan
05-07-2009, 03:31 PM
Vicario slightly in my opinion. She was a much tougher opponent on clay in the 90's against a much deeper clay court field than Justine had to deal with. Also, Arantxa's game was picture perfect for clay and while she had success on other surfaces and won the US Open she was a clay court specialist at heart, her game was a clay court game, whereas Henin evolved her game into more of a power game on other surface. Arantxa played during the same clay court Era as , Graf, Seles, Erratic but still potentially deadly Sabatini, and the deadly when on fire Pierce. Henin had weaker competition, but only got 1 more French. Although yes she retired early and had she stuck around I do think she wins more. Arantxa was often overshadowed by her competition, but her game was modeled to clay, whereas Henin was sort of a hybrid. At their respective bests it would be a fight, but I think Arantxa's impeccable footspeed could wear down Henin, who even on clay preferred shorter points and suffered at times in long rallies.

Those are all good arguments. I think this is a case that could be argued either way, it certainly isnt clear what the answer is. Good choice for a poll.

One additional thing I would argue for Henin though is her game has no major technical weakness. The Sanchez forehand is a big one. Henin's forehand, despite not being her better side, is far more penetrating and solid than Sanchez's. She would go after that alot if they played on any surface and it would be a big test for Sanchez to cope and overcome that, even on clay. Henin has the bigger serve too although I think her serve is overrated. Sanchez had a nice solid and reliable serve. Not as big as Henin's, but alot more steady and reliable whose service quality flucuated wildly from day do day.

boredone3456
05-07-2009, 03:52 PM
Those are all good arguments. I think this is a case that could be argued either way, it certainly isnt clear what the answer is. Good choice for a poll.

One additional thing I would argue for Henin though is her game has no major technical weakness. The Sanchez forehand is a big one. Henin's forehand, despite not being her better side, is far more penetrating and solid than Sanchez's. She would go after that alot if they played on any surface and it would be a big test for Sanchez to cope and overcome that, even on clay. Henin has the bigger serve too although I think her serve is overrated. Sanchez had a nice solid and reliable serve. Not as big as Henin's, but alot more steady and reliable whose service quality flucuated wildly from day do day.

Those are very true points to. Henin would be all over Arantxa's forehand, especially if Arantxa tried hitting it to Henin's backhand, which would probably be a recipe for disaster. Arantxa would probably be limited in her attack against Henin because I doubt she would want to hit into her backhand, and she definitely would want to avoid allowing Henin to hit her backhand crosscourt.

I would say the one weakness that Arantxa could try to exploit would be to draw Henin into long rallies. I know this would be more of a defensive/counterpuncher strategy, but against Henin it would go over well I think, the longer the point, the harder it would be for Henin when factoring in Vicario's speed. Henin otherwise had little technical trouble, although her head would be questioned against the constant run you down wear you out style of Arantxa, Henin would need to be able to mentally and physically grind her out. Thats where the test would be between the two. Arantxa's speed vs Henin's head. Both had very solid clay court shots and Arantxa's serve, while weaker, on clay at least wouldn't be a huge issue to deal with.

grafselesfan
05-07-2009, 04:14 PM
Those are very true points to. Henin would be all over Arantxa's forehand, especially if Arantxa tried hitting it to Henin's backhand, which would probably be a recipe for disaster. Arantxa would probably be limited in her attack against Henin because I doubt she would want to hit into her backhand, and she definitely would want to avoid allowing Henin to hit her backhand crosscourt.

I would say the one weakness that Arantxa could try to exploit would be to draw Henin into long rallies. I know this would be more of a defensive/counterpuncher strategy, but against Henin it would go over well I think, the longer the point, the harder it would be for Henin when factoring in Vicario's speed. Henin otherwise had little technical trouble, although her head would be questioned against the constant run you down wear you out style of Arantxa, Henin would need to be able to mentally and physically grind her out. Thats where the test would be between the two. Arantxa's speed vs Henin's head. Both had very solid clay court shots and Arantxa's serve, while weaker, on clay at least wouldn't be a huge issue to deal with.

Sanchez would have to try and turn it into a running match and not a hitting match. She doesnt match up well with Henin from the forehand side, and while Sanchez has an excellent backhand she still probably loses the battle even off that side since that is Henin's bread and butter. Sanchez would need to avoid alot of straightforward hitting rallies, try and make running rallies back and forth as much as she could. She would also need to hit alot of heavy topspin or moonballing type shots since she cant outhit Henin from either wing if they are just hitting clean drives. However that is all easier said than done since Henin herself is very quick and moves very well, especialy on clay where she is very comfortable moving. Henin does get frusterated sometimes when opponents make her hit extra balls, like I said on the other thread people dont realize how much her game became similar to Williams or Davenport type players in her prime years after she redid her body and game with that demanding weights and training program. That would be what Sanchez would have to try to do, use as much variety to throw Henin off as possible, including alot of drop shots, and try to get back as many of Henin's big shots as possible and frusterate Henin into mistakes. I have no doubt Sanchez is mentally tougher than Henin and this is one area that could give her an opening too.

Comparing Henin to Sanchez I would say they are pretty close on both clay and grass. I would say on hard courts Henin is miles superior though, and that is the huge difference between the two players.

CEvertFan
05-07-2009, 09:23 PM
Sanchez would have to try and turn it into a running match and not a hitting match. She doesnt match up well with Henin from the forehand side, and while Sanchez has an excellent backhand she still probably loses the battle even off that side since that is Henin's bread and butter. Sanchez would need to avoid alot of straightforward hitting rallies, try and make running rallies back and forth as much as she could. She would also need to hit alot of heavy topspin or moonballing type shots since she cant outhit Henin from either wing if they are just hitting clean drives. However that is all easier said than done since Henin herself is very quick and moves very well, especialy on clay where she is very comfortable moving. Henin does get frusterated sometimes when opponents make her hit extra balls, like I said on the other thread people dont realize how much her game became similar to Williams or Davenport type players in her prime years after she redid her body and game with that demanding weights and training program. That would be what Sanchez would have to try to do, use as much variety to throw Henin off as possible, including alot of drop shots, and try to get back as many of Henin's big shots as possible and frusterate Henin into mistakes. I have no doubt Sanchez is mentally tougher than Henin and this is one area that could give her an opening too.

Comparing Henin to Sanchez I would say they are pretty close on both clay and grass. I would say on hard courts Henin is miles superior though, and that is the huge difference between the two players.

I would agree with what you said. I also think that Arantxa would be up to the task of turning a match into a running game. She would get absolutely EVERYTHING back and frustrate the heck out of Henin. Arantxa's superior mental toughness would also serve her well against the mentally weaker Henin.

It's a VERY close call between the two but I would go with Sanchez-Vicario by a hair. Vamos!

scootad.
05-09-2009, 11:56 AM
Well, i think there are two different questions at work here

1) who is the better clay court player overall?
2) who would you favor head to head if they were to play?

I would have to favor Henin in both instances. Its true that both ASV & Henin's best surfaces were clay. But given the circumstances (including the field they competed against, the scorelines in which they won their French Opens and FO warmup tournaments) I'd favor Henin as being more impressive on the resume.

I also favor her head-to-head. As was mentioned earlier, I don't think ASV's game would match up well at all with Henin's. Henin would expose ASV's weaker forehand. Moonballing & extending the rallies wouldn't work too well either, IMO.

Warriorroger
05-10-2009, 01:18 AM
Sanchez Vicario no doubt in my mind. She just had the misfortune in being in the era of two women who dominated all. (-grass for Seles). I don;t think Seles and Graf are clay court experts, but their game was so good, it was good on all surfaces and great on some surfaces.

Rickson
05-10-2009, 08:35 PM
Justine is better on clay.

thalivest
05-10-2009, 08:40 PM
I like Aranxta but lets be real here people. Henin atleast 7 times out of 10 would win on any surafce since she has too much firepower, weaponary, and raw talent for Sanchez Vicario. On hard courts it would probably be 9 times out of 10. On clay and grass closer but still Sanchez would only win when Henin had enough of an "off" day for her fighting spirit and retrieving skills to be able to make any difference. On a pretty good day Henin would just outhit and outclass Sanchez, even on clay.

Rickson
05-10-2009, 08:43 PM
And now that she shortened her name, she has another advantage.

DMan
05-10-2009, 10:59 PM
Well, i think there are two different questions at work here

1) who is the better clay court player overall?
2) who would you favor head to head if they were to play?

I would have to favor Henin in both instances. Its true that both ASV & Henin's best surfaces were clay. But given the circumstances (including the field they competed against, the scorelines in which they won their French Opens and FO warmup tournaments) I'd favor Henin as being more impressive on the resume.

I also favor her head-to-head. As was mentioned earlier, I don't think ASV's game would match up well at all with Henin's. Henin would expose ASV's weaker forehand. Moonballing & extending the rallies wouldn't work too well either, IMO.

I agree with everything you said.

gj011
05-11-2009, 03:07 AM
Henin of course. Sanchez also benefited from Seles stabbing.

Warriorroger
05-11-2009, 12:41 PM
Henin of course. Sanchez also benefited from Seles stabbing.

So did you, it gave you a stage to sicken us with your personality.

CEvertFan
05-11-2009, 02:49 PM
If Henin could overwhelm Arantxa with power and placement (like Graf was sometimes able to do on clay) then Henin wins. But if Arantxa is playing her best tennis and getting to everything then I give her a very good chance of beating Henin.

Henin is no Graf though, so I think she'd have a tougher time trying to overwhelm Arantxa with pure power. Arantxa at her peak was the best defensive baseliner I have ever seen and her footspeed and footwork were almost as good as Graf's (who I still think moved the best out of all the women ever) so I think a lot of you are underestimating her. Henin isn't a mental giant either so there is a very good chance she'd crumble under the relentless retrieving of Sanchez-Vicario.

grafrules
05-11-2009, 03:00 PM
Henin's mental game is actually way overrated by some. She is nowhere near as mentally tough as Graf, Seles, Sanchez, both Williams, even Sharapova. She wins through skill and the overall quality of her game. Almost every match she wins, including almost all her late round wins of her 7 slams, she outplayed her opponent to win. She won those matches via that, not be superior nerve, steely determiantion, amazing fight. The only opponent she wins partialy through mental toughness against is Clijsters. OK so she is tougher mentally than Clijsters, that is the equivalent of serving better than Dementieva. Against players like Davenport and Mauresmo watching their matches I find her mental game only about equal to theirs, and they arent exactly giants of the mental game. I think people tend to point to just one or two matches, like her cramping coming from brink of defeat so many times win vs Capriati in the 03 U.S Open semis. Yes in that match she was a mental giant that day. However that is just one match, it isnt indicative of her overall mental game.

Of course there would be alot more to the matchup than just the mental game. Just throwing that in though.

grafrules
05-11-2009, 03:08 PM
If Henin could overwhelm Arantxa with power and placement (like Graf was sometimes able to do on clay) then Henin wins. But if Arantxa is playing her best tennis and getting to everything then I give her a very good chance of beating Henin.

Henin is no Graf though, so I think she'd have a tougher time trying to overwhelm Arantxa with pure power. Arantxa at her peak was the best defensive baseliner I have ever seen and her footspeed and footwork were almost as good as Graf's (who I still think moved the best out of all the women ever) so I think a lot of you are underestimating her. Henin isn't a mental giant either so there is a very good chance she'd crumble under the relentless retrieving of Sanchez-Vicario.

That makes sense. I guess part of it though is whether you think Henin plays mostly just a pure straightforward power game even on clay, or whether she actually uses alot of variety. I am split on that one. I think as time went on she leaned more and more to just the former though, again even on clay.

Even Graf had a very tough time beating Sanchez on clay. Graf has never beaten Sanchez Vicario in straight sets at the French Opens in many encounters. In fact the only easy win either had at the French was in Sanchez Vicario's favor. That just goes to show how tough Aranxta was at the French. Seles had an easier time with Sanchez at the French since she hammered the ball so well off both sides so there wasnt anyplace for Sanchez to go to get a bit more breathing room during her retrievals. Seles also was a bit more consistent than Graf on the slow clay, generally made fewer unforced errors when forced to hit more winners in a point.

grafselesfan
05-16-2009, 03:56 AM
Even though I voted for Henin I think this poll should be closer. I had a hard time deciding who to pick and I thought the poll would be alot closer than this. Henin was much more dominant on clay but she faced a really weak clay court field, and she doesnt have even close to the longevity on clay of Sanchez either.

egn
05-16-2009, 05:08 AM
Steffi Graf
Mary Pierce
Monica Seles (post prime)

Kim Clijsters
Mary Pierce (way way past her prime)
Kuznetsova
Ivanovic

Yea looking at group 1 v. group 2 I would take post prime Monica Seles to beat 30 year old pierce, Kuz and Ivanovic..Clijisters might be the only tough one. Primed Graf easily beast everyone that Henin beat and Pierce at 20 beats easily the last 3. I kind of don't like the fact that people say well Henin dominated...as if Vicario would not have dominated in Henin's era. Vicario was consistently pushing it on clay. Vicario has 19 clay court titles compared to Henin's 12. In Vicario's whole career she had only 3 exits early than the QF at the French Open same goes for Henin but Vicario played twice as many slams. I don't know how Henin would fare in Vicario's era and I guess it is unfair to say Vicario would perform in Henin's era, but Vicario's 3 slams were harder to win than Henin's 4. What great clay courter, prime or post prime did Henin face from 2005 onward?

cork_screw
05-16-2009, 06:08 AM
Justine isn't a "great" clay courter let alone "the best," she was a very good all around player that translated well on clay. But the woman's field just doesn't have any good clay court specialists and that's why she had her little mini domination. Most woman like to hit the ball hard and flat. There aren't too many who mix in spins. I guess Patty Schneider does a little of it, but still I wouldn't consider her a "nadal" or specialist.

julesb
05-17-2009, 04:33 AM
Steffi Graf
Mary Pierce
Monica Seles (post prime)

Kim Clijsters
Mary Pierce (way way past her prime)
Kuznetsova
Ivanovic

Yea looking at group 1 v. group 2 I would take post prime Monica Seles to beat 30 year old pierce, Kuz and Ivanovic..Clijisters might be the only tough one. Primed Graf easily beast everyone that Henin beat and Pierce at 20 beats easily the last 3. I kind of don't like the fact that people say well Henin dominated...as if Vicario would not have dominated in Henin's era. Vicario was consistently pushing it on clay. Vicario has 19 clay court titles compared to Henin's 12. In Vicario's whole career she had only 3 exits early than the QF at the French Open same goes for Henin but Vicario played twice as many slams. I don't know how Henin would fare in Vicario's era and I guess it is unfair to say Vicario would perform in Henin's era, but Vicario's 3 slams were harder to win than Henin's 4. What great clay courter, prime or post prime did Henin face from 2005 onward?

Sanchez barely beat a 16 year old Serena at the French the year she won her 3rd French. Based on that she isnt even as good as Serena on clay so how can she be better than Justine a way greater clay courter than Serens.

Jim Courier fan
05-19-2009, 12:44 PM
hardenne ...

egn
05-19-2009, 02:40 PM
Sanchez barely beat a 16 year old Serena at the French the year she won her 3rd French. Based on that she isnt even as good as Serena on clay so how can she be better than Justine a way greater clay courter than Serens.

Barley? Huh..she took 3 sets. Won her last two sets 7-5, 6-3..where is that barely it was not some 18-16 third set..what about Justine who in 2005 could barley beat Ana Medina Garrigues a not even top 10 player..going 3 sets does not mean barely beat it means it took you three sets.

TennisExpert
05-22-2009, 12:14 PM
Justine is the answer

julesb
05-22-2009, 12:41 PM
Barley? Huh..she took 3 sets. Won her last two sets 7-5, 6-3..where is that barely it was not some 18-16 third set..what about Justine who in 2005 could barley beat Ana Medina Garrigues a not even top 10 player..going 3 sets does not mean barely beat it means it took you three sets.

You obviously dont even remember the match. Sanchez was down 6-4, 5-2, and two points from losing in the second set more than once, that is more than enough to say she barely beat a 16 year old Serena in the year she won her 3rd French Open. Yet Justine is a far superior clay courter to Serena without doubt, and Sanchez was lucky as heck to beat a 16 year old Serena while still in her championship days on clay.

llgc8080
05-22-2009, 04:35 PM
Even though I voted for Henin I think this poll should be closer. I had a hard time deciding who to pick and I thought the poll would be alot closer than this. Henin was much more dominant on clay but she faced a really weak clay court field, and she doesnt have even close to the longevity on clay of Sanchez either.

One hundred percent agree

Tennisfan!
05-23-2009, 04:51 AM
henin i think

matchmaker
05-23-2009, 06:07 AM
Henin, no doubt. It is only the fact that she was good at non clay surfaces that seems to cast doubt on her clay abilities, which is, off course, absurd. Apparently some posters prefer very limited players and then say they were specialists on one particular surface.

Nalbandian great
05-27-2009, 04:51 PM
Vamos Arantxa!!!!!!!!!!!

blinkinrogue
06-03-2009, 08:12 AM
henin, duh. Her not losing a single set in 2 back-to-back FO titles, says a lot. you underestimate these other players on clay, but off course they cant win in FO because justine is there.

just watch past matches of both players and its very clear who plays better on clay.

Argento full
06-04-2009, 05:14 PM
Justine all the way! :)

blinkinrogue
06-07-2009, 12:29 PM
with svetlana winning this year's FO, justine has already beaten a couple of former and future FO winners, en route to her 4 titles :)

flying24
06-07-2009, 01:23 PM
I dont know how anyone assumes Sanchez would be as dominant as Henin was even vs the same field. Sanchez in 1990 as defending champion at the French lost to Mercedes Paz (who the heck is that) in the 2nd round. In 1993 during her absolute prime with no health problems she was destroyed 6-2, 6-2 by Mary Joe Fernandez in the semis. In 1997, the year after her 5th final there, and the year before her 3rd title there, she was destroyed 6-2, 6-2 in the quarters by Martina Hingis who never won the French Open. Henin in 2004 lost embarassingly early to Tatiana Golovin when she was dealing with a serious viral infection that had her skip time after the French including Wimbledon, then skip the rest of the season after the U.S Open and not play again until March 2005. That is it.

flying24
06-07-2009, 01:40 PM
Steffi Graf
Mary Pierce
Monica Seles (post prime)

Kim Clijsters
Mary Pierce (way way past her prime)
Kuznetsova
Ivanovic

Yea looking at group 1 v. group 2 I would take post prime Monica Seles to beat 30 year old pierce, Kuz and Ivanovic..Clijisters might be the only tough one. Primed Graf easily beast everyone that Henin beat and Pierce at 20 beats easily the last 3. I kind of don't like the fact that people say well Henin dominated...as if Vicario would not have dominated in Henin's era. Vicario was consistently pushing it on clay. Vicario has 19 clay court titles compared to Henin's 12. In Vicario's whole career she had only 3 exits early than the QF at the French Open same goes for Henin but Vicario played twice as many slams. I don't know how Henin would fare in Vicario's era and I guess it is unfair to say Vicario would perform in Henin's era, but Vicario's 3 slams were harder to win than Henin's 4. What great clay courter, prime or post prime did Henin face from 2005 onward?

Past her prime Seles had a losing record to Jana Novotna on clay, a serve/volley player of course whose worst surface was clearly clay. Dont be so sure she is better than Kuznetsova who has been a consistently strong performer at the French since 2004 now. As for 30 year old Pierce and Ivanovic, Henin's real final was vs Clijsters in the semis both years anyway. Considering Pierce is an enigma, her being 30 doesnt neccessarily mean much though, as she was playing outstanding tennis in 2005, in fact perhaps her best overall season ever. Pierce is 3-1 vs Seles on clay from 1997-2000, and Seles in 1992 even had a close match on clay with 17 year old completely unknown Pierce. Dont be so sure Seles of 1998 takes Pierce of 2005 on clay either. Clay is the surface Seles seemed to dislike playing Mary most. Overall I think Ivanovic is a flake but from 2007 French- 2008 French she was in 3 slam finals and 1 other semi. Not sure past her prime Seles even takes her. Post stabbing Seles didnt do well vs any players who made her run, and Ana during her 14-month blip which might forever remain her best ever tennis would sure make her run with that forehand of hers.

As for Pierce, Pierce was in her first slam final in 1994 and totally choked and lost momentum with the rain delay. Then again I have no doubt she still would have trounced the badly collapsing performance of Pierce in the 2005 final and the collapsing Ivanovic also in her first slam final in 2007. Clijsters is spooked by Henin so probably plays better vs someone else. Kuznetsova in 2006 vs Pierce in 1994 not sure if it is the final with the rain delay(any other round Pierce of 94 destroys of course).

One very key thing to remember is Henin won her 2003 final vs Clijsters, 2005 final with Pierce, 2007 final with Ivanovic by downright destructive scorelines. Even the 2006 final with Kuznetsova was fairly easy. So go ahead, give her a much tougher opponent, as she has LOTS of margin for a tougher opponent and still being able to win it seems. You cant say that about Sanchez who won the 89 and 98 finals by the skin of her teeth (granted beating Graf in 89 by any margin was phenomenal), and the 94 final which was her easiest was about similar to Henin's toughest in the 2006 final.

blinkinrogue
06-09-2009, 08:53 AM
^ plus henin also beat serena williams twice pre-finals, a FO winner herself, who despite clay being her worst surface, is no slouch in clay at all, even giving jennifer capriati all sorts of trouble, another good player on clay. justine beat kuzzy too pre-finals.

Steffi-forever
10-10-2009, 09:43 PM
Arantxa!

I know that 4 FO is better than 3, but Sanchez made 6 finals and Henin 4.
Sanchez made 10 Semis to only 5 for Henin.
Sanchez made 13 Quarters to only 5 for Henin.
Sanchez is 7313 at the FO and Henin has only 35 wins and 4 losses.

Sanchez won 19 titles on clay and made more than 35 finals overall. Henin won 12 titles and made only 15 overall.
And now the fields. 1990s > 2000s.

Steffi-forever
10-10-2009, 09:47 PM
Sanchez barely beat a 16 year old Serena at the French the year she won her 3rd French. Based on that she isnt even as good as Serena on clay so how can she be better than Justine a way greater clay courter than Serens.

Justine barely beat a 33 year-old Martinez at the FO 2005.

BTURNER
10-11-2009, 09:29 AM
I, personally, could care less whether titles are in a row or not. Sanchez reached the final more often, and had the toughest clay court era bar none to get those titles in.

grafselesfan
10-11-2009, 09:18 PM
I, personally, could care less whether titles are in a row or not. Sanchez reached the final more often, and had the toughest clay court era bar none to get those titles in.

There is no doubt Sanchez Vicario played in the deepest clay court field in history. Graf is a top 3 clay courter all time, Seles is a top 5, Sanchez herself a top 10, and Sabatini, Pierce and Martinez easily top 20 if not even top 15. Fernandez, Majoli, Hingis, even Maleeva, Zvereva, and Coetzer are all excellent clay courters as well.

Henin by contrast faces a very deep womens field on hard courts especialy, and in her case probably on grass, but certainly on clay where she dominates. That being said I fully expect her to add another multiple French Opens upon her return and then it will be impossible to even compare Sanchez to her regardless of their competition. However now I agree you could easily rank Sanchez ahead based on her playing in the toughest clay court era in history.

srinrajesh
10-16-2009, 01:33 AM
Voted Henin but it is very close as Arantxa played in a better clay court field and had more longevity. So I would actually put it as a tie currently and if Henin would rank higher if she goes on to win 1-2 more during her return...

statto
10-17-2009, 05:39 PM
I'm surprised how one-sided the poll is, but the gap is going to get even wider as Henin gets some more French Open titles under her belt.

grafselesfan
10-21-2009, 04:41 PM
I'm surprised how one-sided the poll is, but the gap is going to get even wider as Henin gets some more French Open titles under her belt.

I dont know why your surprised. I gave Sanchez more consideration than most but the fact is Henin has 1 more French (the first stat people usually look at), but also has been far more completely dominant on clay with 4 French titles in 5 years vs 3 in 10 years. Also Henin winning more French Opens amongst the current womens clay court field is a no brainer. It might not be too late for her to tie or surpass Chris's record, though I wouldnt neccessarily consider her the greatest clay courter ever even if she did that.

Wuornos
11-01-2009, 10:42 PM
I have voted for Sanchez. I agree with those posters who make the point about the strength of opposition during the Sanchez era and I believe this coupled with her results is sufficient evidence to give her a slight advantage over Henin at their respective peaks.