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NLBwell
06-07-2009, 08:30 PM
In the French finals telecast someone made the comment that Federer may be the 3rd best ever on clay besides Borg and Nadal? What do you guys think. How about we keep it to the Open Era to be simpler.

Other contenders would be:
Vilas
Lendl
Wilander
Kuerten

and maybe some others that don't come to mind right now.

What do you think?

BigServer1
06-07-2009, 08:33 PM
He's not. He's the second best (overall) of the last few years, but he'd need another 1-2 FO titles minimum to be considered third best ever. 3 FO titles, 3 FO finals, 5 clay masters shields...Then you can make a case, but not with just one FO and a handful of finals.

Fedexeon
06-07-2009, 08:34 PM
Haha. Although i am a big Federer fan, i don't think that he's the 3rd best ever.. We have players like Muster, Vilas who were more dominant than Federer on clay, obviously!

CyBorg
06-07-2009, 09:06 PM
I mentioned this on another board. Federer appears to be very similar to Laver on clay. Very good, but not necessarily great. Not primarily a clay courter, but solid on it nonetheless.

RCizzle65
06-07-2009, 09:18 PM
He is good on the surface, but no, I wouldn't call him 3rd best, and I don't even really know much about great clay players outside of Nadal and Borg.

DarthFed
06-07-2009, 09:20 PM
Definitely not up there with the greats overall but for his era he's most certainly 2nd

@CyBorg i agree..and it's ironic since he grew up on the dirt..but then again so did murray..and look how that turned out

Steve132
06-08-2009, 09:03 AM
For me Borg and Nadal are clearly the two best on clay in the Open era, followed by Lendl. After that (in chronological order) I would have Rosewall, Laver, Vilas, Wilander, Muster, Kuerten and Federer. Federer is in the top 10 but probably not in the top 5.

grafselesfan
06-08-2009, 09:05 AM
In the last 25 years these would be my top clay courters in order:

1. Nadal
2. Lendl
3. Kuerten
4. Wilander
5. Muster
6. Courier
7. Federer
8. Bruguera
9. Ferrero
10. Agassi

FlamEnemY
06-08-2009, 09:07 AM
Top 3 - no way. I'd easily give him top 15 though. Maybe top 10.

InvisibleSoul
06-08-2009, 09:22 AM
He's not. He's the second best (overall) of the last few years, but he'd need another 1-2 FO titles minimum to be considered third best ever. 3 FO titles, 3 FO finals, 5 clay masters shields...Then you can make a case, but not with just one FO and a handful of finals.
Disagree.

Well, I'll be first to say I don't know where he ranks in terms of the best claycourters of all time, but I disagree with your argument.

Let's say Nadal is the best claycourter of all time. Let's say he is SO good that he basically cannot lose. Even IF Federer were the second best claycourter of all time, he still wouldn't win hardly any tournaments because Nadal would always be in his way. So just because Federer "only" has one FO title, it does NOT automatically mean he is not the 2nd or 3rd or whatever best claycourter of all time.

P_Agony
06-08-2009, 09:29 AM
He's not, but he doesn't have to be. He's likely the best hard court player ever, and he's a good contender on grass too.

theduh
06-08-2009, 10:55 AM
No not this year. Fed is the number 1 clay courter this season.

veroniquem
06-08-2009, 10:58 AM
Federer is probably the best overall (resultwise), so I really don't know why his fans would even care about his specific ranking on clay!

samster
06-08-2009, 11:01 AM
Federer is probably the best overall (resultwise), so I really don't know why his fans would even care about his specific ranking on clay!

Nice compliment from a Nadal fan.

mental midget
06-08-2009, 11:03 AM
it's a stretch, but not a completely outrageous one, to say that without nadal in the picture, sunday's win could have potentially been his 5th straight rg title.

imo he could hold his own with anybody on that list, but if we're talking records, he's still behind an awful lot of guys. at least one more win, to go with his three finals, and maybe he starts to creep into the conversation with guga, etc.

EtePras
06-08-2009, 11:30 AM
He is not a grinder with a huge topspin forehand and plays behind the baseline. So I can't consider him an all time great on clay, no matter what results he gets. For the same reason, I put McEnroe above Borg on grass.

BERDI4
06-08-2009, 12:10 PM
In the last 25 years these would be my top clay courters in order:

1. Nadal
2. Lendl
3. Kuerten
4. Wilander
5. Muster
6. Courier
7. Federer
8. Bruguera
9. Ferrero
10. Agassi

You forgot Vilas. He has the record of most consecutive wins on clay. I don't think Agassi or Ferrero were better than him on clay.

Jack the Hack
06-08-2009, 01:10 PM
Here are the top 10 players with the most career titles on clay:

1 Guillermo Vilas 46
2 Thomas Muster 40
3 Ilie Nastase 31
4 Bjorn Borg 30
5 Manuel Orantes 29
6 Ivan Lendl 28
7 Rafael Nadal 25
8 Jose-Luis Clerc 21
9 Mats Wilander 20
10 Andres Gomez 17

With the French Open title, Federer now has 9 clay court titles. 4 straight French Open finals with one championship is impressive, and we'll see where Federer ends up by the time he retires. However, calling him a top 5 clay court player ever is incorrect at this point. In my opinion, the top 5 is:

1. Borg (6 French titles, 30 overall clay titles).
2. Nadal (4 French titles, 25 overall clay titles, so far).
3. Lendl (3 French titles in 5 finals, 28 overall clay titles.)
4. Wilander (3 French titles in 5 finals, 20 overall clay titles.)
5. Vilas (1 French title in 4 finals, 1 US Open on clay, 46 overall clay titles.)

Guys like Kuerten (3 French, 14 overall clay titles), Nastase (1 French, 1 US Open on clay, 31 overall clay titles), Bruguera (2 French, 13 overall clay titles), Courier (2 French in 3 finals, 5 overall titles), and Muster (1 French, 40 overall clay titles) could either round out the top 10, or be argued into the top 5.

In order for Federer to break into the top 5 to 10 clay court players in the Open era, he needs to win the French Open at least one more time and start collecting more clay court tournament trophies. With another 5 to 7 years on tour (which he says he wants to do), there is definitely a chance that he could scale into this category... but he's not in the top 5 (or 3) clay court players of the Open era right now.

InvisibleSoul
06-08-2009, 02:08 PM
Once again, if Nadal is the #1 claycourter of all time, how do you expect Federer to win a lot of titles even IF he was #2 or #3 or whatever?

He may very well be a better claycourter than the person with the second or third most amount of claycourt tournament victories, but by virtue of him having to deal with playing the best claycourter of all time, he doesn't get to win tournaments.

Make sense?

zagor
06-08-2009, 02:11 PM
Here are the top 10 players with the most career titles on clay:

1 Guillermo Vilas 46
2 Thomas Muster 40
3 Ilie Nastase 31
4 Bjorn Borg 30
5 Manuel Orantes 29
6 Ivan Lendl 28
7 Rafael Nadal 25
8 Jose-Luis Clerc 21
9 Mats Wilander 20
10 Andres Gomez 17

With the French Open title, Federer now has 9 clay court titles. 4 straight French Open finals with one championship is impressive, and we'll see where Federer ends up by the time he retires. However, calling him a top 5 clay court player ever is incorrect at this point. In my opinion, the top 5 is:

1. Borg (6 French titles, 30 overall clay titles).
2. Nadal (4 French titles, 25 overall clay titles, so far).
3. Lendl (3 French titles in 5 finals, 28 overall clay titles.)
4. Wilander (3 French titles in 5 finals, 20 overall clay titles.)
5. Vilas (1 French title in 4 finals, 1 US Open on clay, 46 overall clay titles.)

Guys like Kuerten (3 French, 14 overall clay titles), Nastase (1 French, 1 US Open on clay, 31 overall clay titles), Bruguera (2 French, 13 overall clay titles), Courier (2 French in 3 finals, 5 overall titles), and Muster (1 French, 40 overall clay titles) could either round out the top 10, or be argued into the top 5.

In order for Federer to break into the top 5 to 10 clay court players in the Open era, he needs to win the French Open at least one more time and start collecting more clay court tournament trophies. With another 5 to 7 years on tour (which he says he wants to do), there is definitely a chance that he could scale into this category... but he's not in the top 5 (or 3) clay court players of the Open era right now.

You're giving Vilas nod over Guga and Courier?

joeri888
06-08-2009, 02:13 PM
You're giving Vilas nod over Guga and Courier?

Winning 46 titles on clay.. I don't know how long the clayseason was back then, but that's impressive

zagor
06-08-2009, 02:21 PM
Winning 46 titles on clay.. I don't know how long the clayseason was back then, but that's impressive

Impressive but for me not enough to overlook the fact that Guga and Courier have more FOs,Courier especially I consider to be underrated claycourter,the guy navigated through some very tough draws at the FO(especially in 92).

callitout
06-08-2009, 02:27 PM
Here are the top 10 players with the most career titles on clay:

1 Guillermo Vilas 46
2 Thomas Muster 40
3 Ilie Nastase 31
4 Bjorn Borg 30
5 Manuel Orantes 29
6 Ivan Lendl 28
7 Rafael Nadal 25
8 Jose-Luis Clerc 21
9 Mats Wilander 20
10 Andres Gomez 17

With the French Open title, Federer now has 9 clay court titles. 4 straight French Open finals with one championship is impressive, and we'll see where Federer ends up by the time he retires. However, calling him a top 5 clay court player ever is incorrect at this point. In my opinion, the top 5 is:

1. Borg (6 French titles, 30 overall clay titles).
2. Nadal (4 French titles, 25 overall clay titles, so far).
3. Lendl (3 French titles in 5 finals, 28 overall clay titles.)
4. Wilander (3 French titles in 5 finals, 20 overall clay titles.)
5. Vilas (1 French title in 4 finals, 1 US Open on clay, 46 overall clay titles.)

Guys like Kuerten (3 French, 14 overall clay titles), Nastase (1 French, 1 US Open on clay, 31 overall clay titles), Bruguera (2 French, 13 overall clay titles), Courier (2 French in 3 finals, 5 overall titles), and Muster (1 French, 40 overall clay titles) could either round out the top 10, or be argued into the top 5.

In order for Federer to break into the top 5 to 10 clay court players in the Open era, he needs to win the French Open at least one more time and start collecting more clay court tournament trophies. With another 5 to 7 years on tour (which he says he wants to do), there is definitely a chance that he could scale into this category... but he's not in the top 5 (or 3) clay court players of the Open era right now.

Great work Jack, but without breaking it down further into GS and MS titles it really doesnt mean anything. Umag and Rome are the same when you just count numbers. RG is obviously head and shoulders above other titles then MS and after that who cares.

jelle v
06-08-2009, 02:30 PM
Federer isn't even top 5 imo.. probably not even top 8..

Bruguera doesn't get mentioned often enough in this top X greatest clay courter discussion. :-|

I think i would rate Lendl #3, and Bruguera #4 or so.. Kuerten #5 or so.. Sadly I have never seen Vilas play, so my top 10 clay courters lacks in that department.

Jack the Hack
06-08-2009, 04:03 PM
You're giving Vilas nod over Guga and Courier?

I could understand the argument for Guga over Vilas for #5. Guga won 3 French Opens in 3 finals, but only had 14 overall clay titles. Vilas made 4 French Open finals and won 1, but also won the US Open on clay, and has the most clay court titles of anyone in the Open era with 46. To me, that was more impressive. However, who really cares?

My point was that Federer is not the third best clay court player in the Open era, and in fact, there are a half dozen or more players with better clay court resumes right now.

Great work Jack, but without breaking it down further into GS and MS titles it really doesnt mean anything. Umag and Rome are the same when you just count numbers. RG is obviously head and shoulders above other titles then MS and after that who cares.

I understand what you are saying, but the "Masters Series" designation for events did not begin until the early 90s. Back in the 70s and 80s, various tournaments gained and lost prestige, depending on who was sponsoring them and how many points the ATP gave out at the time. I started playing and following tennis roughly around 1982 when I was 10 years old. Outside of the Slams, I didn't have a lot of awareness of what the big events were before around '85 or so. If there is someone else that would like to take a crack at what the equivalant of a Master Series event was in the 70s and early 80s, try to determine who won what, and adjust the tournament figures I supplied... be my guest!

The problem is that some events lose prestige, and it's hard to tell what was big at one time. For instance, for the past dozen years or so, the Hamburg tournament has been a Masters Series. However, they lost that designation this year. If someone 20 years from now looks at the stats, will they understand that Federer won several of the "big" clay court events beyond Roland Garros (like Hamburg and Madrid) if the big events have shifted to Rio and Mexico City by then?

raiden031
06-08-2009, 04:17 PM
I think losing 1 SF and 3 F all against ONE player (Nadal) and then winning the title when Nadal is out of the picture will show that Fed is a GREAT clay court player. It was a matter of bad luck that Nadal was in his way. That just solidifies how good Nadal realy is on clay that he can beat a great clay player like Federer so many times in a row in a final.

zagor
06-08-2009, 04:38 PM
I could understand the argument for Guga over Vilas for #5. Guga won 3 French Opens in 3 finals, but only had 14 overall clay titles. Vilas made 4 French Open finals and won 1, but also won the US Open on clay, and has the most clay court titles of anyone in the Open era with 46. To me, that was more impressive. However, who really cares?

My point was that Federer is not the third best clay court player in the Open era, and in fact, there are a half dozen or more players with better clay court resumes right now.

Okay,was just interested in your reasoning.I myself would definitely put Guga in top 5 but I see your side of the argument as well.

Agree about Fed not being the third best claycourter.

NLBwell
06-08-2009, 07:56 PM
The argument that Fed doesn't show how good he is in number of titles could also apply to Vilas being second behind Borg.