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View Full Version : A look at the best players never to win the French Open


Laurie
05-24-2012, 03:07 PM
I did an article on the best players never to win Wimbledon two years ago. But I've never seen article re the French, so done this. Read on....

With the clay season underway and Roland Garros coming up, it will be interesting to look at the best players never to win the title there.

http://burnstennis.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/look-at-best-players-never-to-win.html#!/2012/05/look-at-best-players-never-to-win.html

svijk
05-24-2012, 04:20 PM
i'd include another sub category called 'best players on clay never to win FO' and that woul include the likes of Coria, Corretja etc.

tennis_pro
05-24-2012, 04:29 PM
Novak Djokovic would fit in there too. 3 MS on clay with several other finals, a couple of semis, quarters at the French, has 2 wins against Nadal and Federer on the surface.

egn
05-24-2012, 04:30 PM
Yea this might be the 'best players' to never win the french, but not the best clay court players. I'd think more along the lines of Coria, Corretja, Clerc etc.

Mustard
05-24-2012, 04:33 PM
Best players never to win the French Open, in no particular order:

Guillermo Coria
Andrei Medvedev
Alex Corretja
Alberto Berasategui
Marcelo Rios
Felix Mantilla
Alberto Mancini
Raul Ramirez
Jose-Luis Clerc
Vitas Gerulaitis
Eddie Dibbs
Victor Pecci
Harold Solomon
Henri Leconte
Pancho Gonzales
Zeljko Franulovic
Pete Sampras
Jimmy Connors
John McEnroe
Boris Becker
Stefan Edberg
Arthur Ashe
John Newcombe
Manuel Orantes

Hood_Man
05-24-2012, 04:42 PM
You really need to have Coria. I know it's a "What If?" scenario, but the damage done to him from losing that final to Gaudio may well have robbed tennis of the true clay rivalry of the last decade between him and Nadal (almost went up a double break in the 5th set of their Rome '05 final).

I haven't seen him play many matches, but from the ones I have seen he was an absolute demon.

Mustard
05-24-2012, 04:47 PM
You really need to have Coria. I know it's a "What If?" scenario, but the damage done to him from losing that final to Gaudio may well have robbed tennis of the true clay rivalry of the last decade between him and Nadal (almost went up a double break in the 5th set of their Rome '05 final).

I haven't seen him play many matches, but from the ones I have seen he was an absolute demon.

Coria suffered from the service yips from July 2005 onwards, though. The 2004 French Open final didn't have anything to do with that. Heck, since that match, Coria had already built up a rivalry with Nadal based on those 2005 Monte Carlo and 2005 Rome finals, especially the latter. The Monte Carlo final didn't have both players playing well at the same time until near the end of the match, while the Rome final was back and forth the whole way, an absolute classic.

And yes, tennis misses Coria a lot, especially at this present time of the tennis calendar.

Tenez101
05-24-2012, 04:50 PM
It's gotta be Sampras. Followed by Edberg, Becker, and Coria.

Edit: DERP, I forgot about Connors and McEnroe...

nadal_GOAT_king
05-24-2012, 04:53 PM
Best players never to win the French Open, in no particular order:

Guillermo Coria
Andrei Medvedev
Alex Corretja
Alberto Berasategui
Marcelo Rios
Felix Mantilla
Alberto Mancini
Raul Ramirez
Jose-Luis Clerc
Vitas Gerulaitis
Eddie Dibbs
Victor Pecci
Harold Solomon
Henri Leconte
Pancho Gonzales
Zeljko Franulovic
Pete Sampras
Jimmy Connors
John McEnroe
Boris Becker
Stefan Edberg
Arthur Ashe
John Newcombe
Manuel Orantes

add Miroslav Mecir and Thomas Enqvist

welcome2petrkordaland
05-24-2012, 04:54 PM
I do remember Coria and am sorry that he disappeared, had the services yips, pussed out, whatever you wanna call it... but I see him like David Ferrer in terms of any possible rivalry with Nadal on clay: very good, very fast, but in the end TMG (too much game) from Nadal to quote BG. It goes back to the middle weight vs. the heavyweight thing IMO

nadal_GOAT_king
05-24-2012, 05:00 PM
Novak Djokovic would fit in there too. 3 MS on clay with several other finals, a couple of semis, quarters at the French, has 2 wins against Nadal and Federer on the surface.

HAHAHAHAHA :p

Mustard
05-24-2012, 05:02 PM
add Miroslav Mecir and Thomas Enqvist

Yes, you can add them as well.

tennis_pro
05-24-2012, 05:06 PM
Yes, you can add them as well.

What:???:?

Mecir? Enqvist?

Might as well put Berdych, Del Potro, Tsonga, Murray and Ferrer in there.

Mustard
05-24-2012, 05:11 PM
What:???:?

Mecir? Enqvist?

Might as well put Berdych, Del Potro, Tsonga, Murray and Ferrer in there.

You talk like they're nobodies. Mecir is one of the best players never to win a major, a French Open semi finalist and a Hamburg champion to boot. Enqvist won 3 masters series titles and was an Australian Open runner-up, although admittedly, he wasn't as good on clay as he was on hardcourts.

NadalAgassi
05-24-2012, 05:16 PM
Enqvist is not even close to one of the best players or best clay courters to not win the French. You are going to the extreme of ridiculous to include him. I dont even think of him as a player who was unfortunate to not win a major, he just wasnt good enough, and clay was his worst surface by a long ways.

nadal_GOAT_king
05-24-2012, 05:18 PM
You talk like they're nobodies. Mecir is one of the best players never to win a major, a French Open semi finalist and a Hamburg champion to boot. Enqvist won 3 masters series titles and was an Australian Open runner-up, although admittedly, he wasn't as good on clay as he was on hardcourts.

yup. Mecir regularly tormented the Swedes, particularly Wilander

tennis_pro
05-24-2012, 05:18 PM
You talk like they're nobodies. Mecir is one of the best players never to win a major, a French Open semi finalist and a Hamburg champion to boot. Enqvist won 3 masters series titles and was an Australian Open runner-up, although admittedly, he wasn't as good on clay as he was on hardcourts.

They weren't even remotely close to winning the French Open. Connors had some bigger achievements than the 2 put together despite missing out his best 5 years at the French.

Enqvist, lol. COME ON.

ninman
05-24-2012, 05:32 PM
Coria actually led 3-0 with a double break in the final set of Rome 05.

Evan77
05-24-2012, 05:39 PM
Coria ... that's all I can say ... and yeah, some of you are j/k but please don't bring Djokovic into this ... he is still an active player.

Mustard
05-24-2012, 05:40 PM
They weren't even remotely close to winning the French Open. Connors had some bigger achievements than the 2 put together despite missing out his best 5 years at the French.

Enqvist, lol. COME ON.

It says "best players" never to win the French Open. Enqvist isn't a shoe in, but he did win 3 masters series titles and was runner-up of the Australian Open. Mecir is a much stronger candidate though, and I should have included him in my original list. Mecir reached 3 Hamburg finals (winning 1), reached a Rome final and a French Open semi final. He thrashed Wilander twice on clay in 1985, just weeks before Wilander won the French Open.

NadalAgassi
05-24-2012, 05:43 PM
Enqvist, lol. COME ON.

I think he made the round of 16 at the French a couple times. I guess we should scan for any player who made the round of 16 at the French more than once and include them on the list. Andy Roddick would have been one of the best to never win the French if he hadnt gotten cramps in that 3rd round match with Hewitt in 2003. Especialy when he is a far superior player (ignoring clay abilities) than Enqvist, and actually won titles on clay. Which just puts into perspective how ridiculous this is getting.

Mustard
05-24-2012, 05:44 PM
I think he made the round of 16 at the French a couple times. I guess we should scan for any player who made the round of 16 at the French more than once and include them on the list. Andy Roddick would have been one of the best to never win the French if he hadnt gotten cramps in that 3rd round match with Hewitt in 2003. Especialy when he is a far superior player (ignoring clay abilities) than Enqvist, and actually won titles on clay. Which just puts into perspective how ridiculous this is getting.

2001......

kishnabe
05-24-2012, 06:58 PM
yup. Mecir regularly tormented the Swedes, particularly Wilander

He was known for being Lendl Lapdog.

kishnabe
05-24-2012, 07:06 PM
Best players never to win the French Open, in no particular order:

Guillermo Coria 2004 Ouch
Andrei Medvedev 1999 was his best Chance, happy he smoked Sampras and gave Agassi the prize he deserved
Alex Corretja Don't care
Alberto Berasategui Best Topspin forehand before Nadal
Marcelo Rios Mental Choker, should have beat Steroid Scizzorkicks at Aussie
Felix Mantilla LOL, Only significance was he ruined Federer rome conquest
Alberto Mancini Don't know him
Raul Ramirez Don't know him
Jose-Luis Clerc Talented Argintine
Vitas Gerulaitis Not exactly a great clay court player apart from 80 RG final, should have beat Borg at 77 Wimby. Luckily won Aussie
Eddie Dibbs Don't know him
Victor Pecci Fantastic clay courter, loved how he played against Borg
Harold Solomon Good Clay courter, 77 finalist I think
Henri LeconteTalented on grass, not on clay
Pancho Gonzales Should have won every slam
Zeljko Franulovic Don't know him
Pete SamprasLOL, Thank god he never won.....though hope he did make the 96 final to get trounced by Micheal
Jimmy Connors Never won because he was stubborn
John McEnroe Why did lendl have to beat him that day
Boris Becker 1989, should have been his...
Stefan Edberg Should have never let Chang in the match
Arthur Ashe Very good at the other 3 majors, Clay not so much
John NewcombeSandV on clay lol
Manuel OrantesChoked at the French and should not have beaten Connors at the US Clay



10 Bold Statements

TMF
05-24-2012, 07:15 PM
Come on Mustard. You can't even squeeze in Soderling on you list when he's miles ahead of many of those players. Why? Oh wait.....he beat your Nadal who was going for his 5th RG.

Mustard
05-24-2012, 09:33 PM
He was known for being Lendl Lapdog.

Mecir also destroyed Lendl at 1987 Miami. It was an even bigger domination than the 7-5, 6-2, 7-5 scoreline suggests. By the way, Gerulaitis won 2 Romes, including a 5 set win over Vilas in the 1979 final, and was runner-up of the French Open in 1980. Solomon was the 1976 French Open runner-up, losing to Panatta.

Come on Mustard. You can't even squeeze in Soderling on you list when he's miles ahead of many of those players. Why? Oh wait.....he beat your Nadal who was going for his 5th RG.

Include Soderling then. But your rating of him is ridiculous.

sbengte
05-24-2012, 09:51 PM
Stefan Edberg Should have never let Chang in the match

Ugh ! And to think that Edberg lost out on a career slam when he lost a 5 set final to a 17 year old fluke slam winner :(

Laurie
05-25-2012, 04:52 AM
I did think quite hard about including Guillermo Coria, I saw him play at the 2004 French Open and he was an extremely talented player on the clay, he was a very smooth mover, really glided across the surface, I enjoyed watching him play.

In the end, I decided to go for players who really excelled on all other surfaces except the clay, or at least didn't quite get to hold the trophy up at the French. 1984 is a long time ago now obviously but had McEnroe won that day, it may have opened the way for other attacking players to win the French. It's a pity an attacking player / serve volleyer found it impossible to win, even when they tried to adapt their game by mixing it up from the baseline.

I've done a womens list, which is just as interesting when you see who didn't win at the French. I will publish that next week.

MaiDee
05-25-2012, 06:49 AM
Mecir also destroyed Lendl at 1987 Miami. It was an even bigger domination than the 7-5, 6-2, 7-5 scoreline suggests. By the way, Gerulaitis won 2 Romes, including a 5 set win over Vilas in the 1979 final, and was runner-up of the French Open in 1980. Solomon was the 1976 French Open runner-up, losing to Panatta.



Include Soderling then. But your rating of him is ridiculous.

Zeljko Franulovic:
Singles caree titles 9
F.O. runner up (1970)
Best rankings top 20 (1970)
Career record 334-262

Robin Söderling:
Singles caree titles 10
F.O. runner up (2009,2010).
Wimbledon QF (2010)
USO QF (2009, 2010).
Best rankings 4
Career record 310–170

Söderling is much better player than Franulovic ever was.

kishnabe
05-25-2012, 09:46 AM
Mecir also destroyed Lendl at 1987 Miami. It was an even bigger domination than the 7-5, 6-2, 7-5 scoreline suggests. By the way, Gerulaitis won 2 Romes, including a 5 set win over Vilas in the 1979 final, and was runner-up of the French Open in 1980. Solomon was the 1976 French Open runner-up, losing to Panatta.


Mecir will always be the guy who could have beaten Lendl where it mattered but didn't.
I know Gerulatis was a quick player, didn't know he had a good clay resume. I guess his 84 French Open match where he look like a dead man against some player allways gave me the impression that he wasn't good on the dirt.

Ugh ! And to think that Edberg lost out on a career slam when he lost a 5 set final to a 17 year old fluke slam winner :(

I liked Chang and would have liked him to win a slam if didn't have to ruin Edberg or Becker chance at the FO that year.

Edberg Becker 5 set Semi was the true final. One of those two should have went on to win the whole thing. Becker had many semi but Edberg made it only once. A pity it did not go his way.

Edberg-Chang, and McEnroe- Lendl FO finals of the 80's are the most hurtful to the stomach.

reversef
05-25-2012, 12:18 PM
Best players never to win the French Open, in no particular order:

Guillermo Coria
Andrei Medvedev
Alex Corretja
Alberto Berasategui
Marcelo Rios
Felix Mantilla
Alberto Mancini
Raul Ramirez
Jose-Luis Clerc
Vitas Gerulaitis
Eddie Dibbs
Victor Pecci
Harold Solomon
Henri Leconte
Pancho Gonzales
Zeljko Franulovic
Pete Sampras
Jimmy Connors
John McEnroe
Boris Becker
Stefan Edberg
Arthur Ashe
John Newcombe
Manuel Orantes
Much too many players in your list, Mustard IMO. Leconte for example? A top player who reached one slam final with a game suited for grass? No. Berasategui? Not so great.
Those 2 are players that I could watch. I will not venture to the Gerulaitises and Oranteses. They are not from my generation at all.

reversef
05-25-2012, 12:21 PM
I do remember Coria and am sorry that he disappeared, had the services yips, pussed out, whatever you wanna call it... but I see him like David Ferrer in terms of any possible rivalry with Nadal on clay: very good, very fast, but in the end TMG (too much game) from Nadal to quote BG. It goes back to the middle weight vs. the heavyweight thing IMO
No way. Coria was so much better than Ferrer. I quite like David Ferrer, but he will always be as good as his opponent allows him to be. Coria was in another dimension. With a little bit more mental toughness (and despite his small stature), he would have been the second best CC player after Nadal during all those years.

Ocean Drive
05-25-2012, 12:54 PM
Enqvist was never a dangerous clay court player. He only made the third round of a Masters series (or super nine) a couple of times and never even reached the Roland Garros quarter finals.

Marat Safin deserves a mention. Beat Agassi and Kuerten aged 18 in 1998. Was a contender in 2000 and looked like he was going to win in 2002 before making a mess of it vs. Ferrero in the semi's, who he always seemed to play well against. Safin could play on clay, he was just never lucky. 2001 he had a back injury, 2003 he was out, 2004 he had what was it, 12 blisters over both hands? 2005 is when he had the serious knee injury in the clay court season that ruined his career...

I would like to have seen Becker win it, never quite made it on the red stuff. Shame he didn't reach a final. That match against Edberg where he looked like he was going to pull it out after being two sets down...

Magnus Norman would have had more chances to win if he wasn't so ridiculously injury plagued. 2000 was a very exciting clay court season.

Ocean Drive
05-25-2012, 12:56 PM
No way. Coria was so much better than Ferrer. I quite like David Ferrer, but he will always be as good as his opponent allows him to be. Coria was in another dimension. With a little bit more mental toughness (and despite his small stature), he would have been the second best CC player after Nadal during all those years.

Coria was a serious threat, he had 100x more game than Ferrer ever has. A true clay courter. I didn't really appreciate him fully until he was gone. So powerful for a small man and genial drop shots.

NadalAgassi
05-25-2012, 01:10 PM
On clay Coria is in another league from Ferrer. Ferrer is probably better on other surfaces, but Coria on clay is much better than Ferrer on any surface.

tennis_pro
05-25-2012, 01:49 PM
I think he made the round of 16 at the French a couple times. I guess we should scan for any player who made the round of 16 at the French more than once and include them on the list. Andy Roddick would have been one of the best to never win the French if he hadnt gotten cramps in that 3rd round match with Hewitt in 2003. Especialy when he is a far superior player (ignoring clay abilities) than Enqvist, and actually won titles on clay. Which just puts into perspective how ridiculous this is getting.

Roddick looks like a clay court specialist compared to Enqvist.

He has a better win % at the French (50%>47%), more titles on clay (5>2), way better record at the Masters level (2 Rome semis, 1 quarter, 1 Madrid quarter, he never really played in Monte Carlo so he probably would get 2 or 3 titles there (lol), Enqvist never reached a single Masters QF on clay).

Soon we will have to include Martin Verkerk as well. In fact, he's had more big wins on clay at the 2003 FO than Roddick and Enqvist put together in their careers.

kiki
05-25-2012, 02:01 PM
Mecir will always be the guy who could have beaten Lendl where it mattered but didn't.
I know Gerulatis was a quick player, didn't know he had a good clay resume. I guess his 84 French Open match where he look like a dead man against some player allways gave me the impression that he wasn't good on the dirt.



I liked Chang and would have liked him to win a slam if didn't have to ruin Edberg or Becker chance at the FO that year.

Edberg Becker 5 set Semi was the true final. One of those two should have went on to win the whole thing. Becker had many semi but Edberg made it only once. A pity it did not go his way.

Edberg-Chang, and McEnroe- Lendl FO finals of the 80's are the most hurtful to the stomach.

Vitas reached a final, a semi ( always Borg) and a QF (Wilander) at Paris.He also won 2 Italian Open, with a great win over Vilas in 1979, in one of the longest and hardest finals ever played on a clay court.he had a very good clay court record, that also includes the WCT Tournament of Champions at Forest Hills, in 1980.In the final set of the final, he simply baggeled a certain John Mc Enroe.

kiki
05-25-2012, 02:01 PM
Much too many players in your list, Mustard IMO. Leconte for example? A top player who reached one slam final with a game suited for grass? No. Berasategui? Not so great.
Those 2 are players that I could watch. I will not venture to the Gerulaitises and Oranteses. They are not from my generation at all.

Your taste is really poor.

kiki
05-25-2012, 02:04 PM
10 Bold Statements

Orantes should not beat Connors at the Forest Hills final??? hahaha.He was just a set away from beating Borg ( a much better clay courter than Connors) a year before.And destroyed Jimmy , again in US soil, at the 1977 Indianapolis final.Indy was the greatest clay court event played in the US, except the 1975 to 1977 US Open.

mattennis
05-25-2012, 02:06 PM
Yannick Noah won RG because of his net game. It was great to watch at the time (maybe I'll re-watch it this weekend) how he defeated Lendl in the QF and Wilander in the final.

Today it would be almost impossible (to win RG mainly at the net) but Noah did it in 1983 and of course other players did it earlier (Panatta, Laver, Roche...)

mattennis
05-25-2012, 02:09 PM
Orantes was possibly the 3rd best clay court player of the 70s. He won like 30-something clay court tournaments.

kiki
05-25-2012, 02:10 PM
Yannick Noah won RG because of his net game. It was great to watch at the time (maybe I'll re-watch it this weekend) how he defeated Lendl in the QF and Wilander in the final.

Today it would be almost impossible (to win RG mainly at the net) but Noah did it in 1983 and of course other players did it earlier (Panatta, Laver, Roche...)

Very true.And Victor Pecci lost a tight 4 sets final against peakest Borg playing the same style.he had defeated Barazutti,Solomon,Vilas and Connors before that.And he would beat Borg at Montecarlo and again Vilas at Rome in 1981.

Another great S&Vér ( although he could play some fine backcourt tennis too) was mexican Raul Ramirez, who reached twice the semifinals.

Laurie
05-25-2012, 02:54 PM
Yannick Noah won RG because of his net game. It was great to watch at the time (maybe I'll re-watch it this weekend) how he defeated Lendl in the QF and Wilander in the final.

Today it would be almost impossible (to win RG mainly at the net) but Noah did it in 1983 and of course other players did it earlier (Panatta, Laver, Roche...)

Any idea why Noah wasn't a factor at other majors?

Laurie
05-28-2012, 04:36 AM
one for the women

http://burnstennis.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/look-at-best-female-players-never-to.html#!/2012/05/look-at-best-female-players-never-to.html

roundiesee
05-28-2012, 04:52 AM
Am I right to say that Boris never even won a clay court tournament, let alone the French Open? He just never seemed to get lucky on the stuff. Remember that 5 set epic with Muster?

kiki
05-28-2012, 05:58 AM
Any idea why Noah wasn't a factor at other majors?

Didn´t have a good drugs dealer in the other venues...

dh003i
05-28-2012, 06:48 AM
Include Soderling then. But your rating of him is ridiculous.

I would think that the list would first focus on finalists who never won.

TMF
05-28-2012, 09:24 AM
I would think that the list would first focus on finalists who never won.Include Soderling then. But your rating of him is ridiculous.


True. Some of the players on his list never made the final, yet a 2 times finalists(Soderling) is left out.

I know Soderling is not a likeable guy(especially from rafa fans), so that can explain why he's left out. But then we have Rios, who's arguably the most hated player.

Mustard
05-28-2012, 09:45 AM
True. Some of the players on his list never made the final, yet a 2 times finalists(Soderling) is left out.

I know Soderling is not a likeable guy(especially from rafa fans), so that can explain why he's left out. But then we have Rios, who's arguably the most hated player.

Look, I said include Soderling, didn't I? What more do you want? Rios won all the clay-court masters and has been world number 1 for 6 weeks, so he's obviously going to be on the list.

At the drive in
05-28-2012, 09:50 AM
Pete Sampras. The title didn't specify 'best claycourter never to win the French Open'. By all rights, Sampras was the most successful player to never win RG, although he wasn't a very good clay courter.

M Dean
05-28-2012, 10:38 AM
Yes, you can add them as well.

Mustard, sorry but giving Enquist an "ok" for the list is a big "mishit"... I mean Enquist was a great ball striker, had some nice wins (had somewhat Agassi's nummber), could be described as an underachiever. He lacked on the net play & variety, but from the baseline, especialy on HC he was deadly! But on clay, sorry he in not even close to be in the same league as the players you previously mentioned on the list. To be honest Goran was a much better player on clay than Thomas (although Goran lost the first 5 matches against him on HC :)), Mecir is a completely diferent story! ;) Stich (from that era) would be a much better choice.

I think this is the first time that I felt that you made an bigger "mishit", but generaly you are one of the more "reasonable" guys here. :)

Sorry for the bad English...

Mustard
05-28-2012, 10:50 AM
Mustard, sorry but giving Enquist an "ok" for the list is a big "mishit"... I mean Enquist was a great ball striker, had some nice wins (had somewhat Agassi's nummber), could be described as an underachiever. He lacked on the net play & variety, but from the baseline, especialy on HC he was deadly! But on clay, sorry he in not even close to be in the same league as the players you previously mentioned on the list. To be honest Goran was a much better player on clay than Thomas (although Goran lost the first 5 matches against him on HC :)), Mecir is a completely diferent story! ;) Stich (from that era) would be a much better choice.

I think this is the first time that I felt that you made an bigger "mishit", but generaly you are one of the more "reasonable" guys here. :)

Sorry for the bad English...

I know what you mean. Enqvist's achievements on clay are minimal but the topic title doesn't say the best clay-courters necessarily, just best players. But I do remember Enqvist beating Kafelnikov at the 1998 French Open, which was impressive.