View Full Version : American dominance on clay.
06-13-2006, 05:43 PM
Yes it did happen. For those of us who are old enough it started with Michael Chang in the late 80's and culminated with Jim Courier's back to back titles in the early '90's. Let's not forget that Andre made two finals appearances at the French during that time too. It was brief but it can happen. The problem is that it took some of the most talented and hard-working players of their generation to pull it off. Chang, Agassi and Courier were never masters of clay. But they learned enough about the surface to win. Chang and Courier were decent at sliding on the clay and Agassi was simply talented enough to take the ball on the rise and inflict a hardcourt game on clay. My point being, the US produces talented players but for today's international game you have to start training on clay early on. And, it has to be european red clay. The green har-tru courts just don't play the same. I'm going to hold out hope that we'll see another talented american generation in my lifetime make an impact like those three did.
06-13-2006, 06:19 PM
This is all true if the USTA can provide the courts or another means of providing. Not all players are privillaged enough to play on European clay courts. Because most clubs in America have har-tru
06-13-2006, 06:22 PM
Evert and Westside have them plus more i think, that should help
06-13-2006, 07:09 PM
Mardy Fish may be the closest thing to the next American claycourter. I suppose this is not very heartening for the future of Americans at the French.
America need more good players who play the Chang style rather than the attacking style. Good defense bolstered by great accuracy strengthed by incredible speed rather than pull-the-trigger weapons. But then again, this kind of player wouldn't be extremely successful on hard courts, so I guess an American wouldn't develop like this.
06-14-2006, 08:28 AM
Yes it did happen. For those of us who are old enough it started with Michael Chang in the late 80's and culminated with Jim Courier's back to back titles in the early '90's. Let's not forget that Andre made two finals appearances at the French during that time too. It was brief but it can happen.
Andre lost to Gomez in 1990
The 1991 final was all-American: Courier def. Agassi
Agassi won RG in 1999
06-14-2006, 09:12 AM
I think there is a difference between "dominance" and "competitive". In the era cited by draven a few Americans were competitive.
06-14-2006, 09:24 AM
Courier was dominant, look how many claycourt specialists he destroyed in '92:
64 W Thomas MUSTER (AUT) 7-6 6-4
32 W Francisco CLAVET (ESP) 6-2 6-2
16 W Sergio BRUGUERA (ESP) 6-3 6-2
QF W Cristian MINIUSSI (ARG) 4-6 6-4 6-1
SF W Carl-Uwe STEEB (GER) 5-7 6-1 6-2
FR W Carlos COSTA (ESP) 7-6 6-0 6-4
1992 Roland Garros
128 W Niclas KROON (SWE) 7-6 6-4 6-2
64 W Thomas MUSTER (AUT) 6-1 6-4 6-4
32 W Alberto MANCINI (ARG) 6-4 6-2 6-0
16 W Andrei MEDVEDEV (UKR) 6-1 6-4 6-2
QF W Goran IVANISEVIC (YUG) 6-2 6-1 2-6 7-5
SF W Andre AGASSI (USA) 6-3 6-2 6-2
FR W Petr KORDA (TCH) 7-5 6-2 6-1
And he was a huge favorite to 3-peat in '93(lost final to Bruguera)
Agassi was the favorite in '90/91 & was 2nd favorite in '92.
US was the best claycourt nation in early 90s(they even used clay when they hosted Davis Cup ties!)
There are many reasons for decline, but it wouldn't hurt if the current Americans became fitness freaks like Courier.
06-14-2006, 09:28 AM
I hate to admit it, but Bolletieri produced some great players back then. People down play Courier, but his results don't lie. People also downplay Agassi's claycourt prowess. If you make 3 French Open finals, and win one, you are one of the better claycourt players. Certainly, better than what Gaudio, Nalbadian, Safin, Costa and Coria have done.
06-14-2006, 06:46 PM
Obviously the USTA needs to get with the program. The green American play is doing NOT GOOD for American youth. The kids NEED to play on the true clay the European clay not this American muck. If the USTA should get kids playing on clay at a YOUNG age then they will learn.
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