Best Clay-Courter to Never Win Roland Garros 1990-2009

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Michael Bluth, Nov 16, 2009.

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Who was the best clay-courter never to win Roland Garros 1990-2009?

  1. Marcelo Rios

    4 vote(s)
    16.7%
  2. Alex Corretja

    5 vote(s)
    20.8%
  3. Guillermo Coria

    11 vote(s)
    45.8%
  4. Andriy Medvedev

    4 vote(s)
    16.7%
  1. Michael Bluth

    Michael Bluth Semi-Pro

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    I was wondering who people thought was the best clay-courter never to win Roland Garros since 1990. Here are my four nominations, who among these was the best on clay and yet failed to take the ultimate clay court crown?

    Alex Correjta: Won the title in Rome in 97(d. Rios) and made the finals of Roland Garros twice in 98 and 01, losing to prime Moya and prime Kuerten. Made the finals of Hamburg 96(l. to Carretero) and Monte Carlo 97(l. to Rios). Made at least the quarterfinals of RG five years in a row(98-02)

    Guillermo Coria: Reached the RG finals once and absolutely should have won. Won Hamburg 03(d. Calleri) and Monte Carlo 04(d. Schuettler). Made finals of Monte Carlo 03(l. to Ferrero) and 05(l. to Nadal). Made final of Rome once(l. to Nadal).

    Andriy Medvedev: Similarly to Coria reached the final of Roland Garros and lost after leading two sets to love over Agassi. In 93 and 94 lost to eventual champion Bruguera, and in 97 lost to eventual champion Kuerten in five sets. Won Hamburg 94(d. Kafelnikov), 95(d. Ivanisevic), 97(d. Mantilla) as well as Monte Carlo 94(d. Bruguera)

    Marcelo Rios: Never got past the quarterfinals of Roland Garros, though in 98 he lost in 4 sets to the eventual champion Moya. However, he did win all 3 of the clay Masters, Monte Carlo 97(d. Corretja), Rome 98(d. Costa) and Hamburg 99(d. Zabaleta). Reached the final of Monte Carlo 99(l. to Kuerten) and Rome 97(l. to Corretja).

    Which of these was the best? My personal vote goes to Medvedev as the best clay-courter never to win Roland Garros.
     
    #1
  2. NonP

    NonP Professional

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    Medvedev had the most potential, but based on the stats only, Correjta.

    P.S. Correjta also won Rome in '97.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2009
    #2
  3. Michael Bluth

    Michael Bluth Semi-Pro

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    I did put in there that Corretja won Rome in 97.
     
    #3
  4. NonP

    NonP Professional

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    You're right, I missed that. My bad.
     
    #4
  5. flying24

    flying24 Banned

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    I would say it is between Rios or Corretja. I would go with Rios though as while Corretja clearly has the better French Open record, Rios had so much success in Masters titles and more proven ability to beat the very best on the surface IMO. Medvedev would be 3rd IMO. He should have won that 99 French, and was considered a real hopeful to win the French around 93-94. However Rios still beats him in Masters performance and Corretja in overall French Open performance.

    Coria briefly shone during a weak clay court spell, most of all in 2004 after Ferrero went down with illness and injury (Kuerten was already finished, and Moya going down when he began his rise in 2003) and before Nadal and Federer really emerged as forces on the surfaces. In 2005 he was already bypassed by both an 18 year old Nadal and Federer in clay court ability, and being threatened by Davydenko and others on the surface. He then catipulted mentally. He wasnt ever that good though and IMO only had a real shot to win the French in 2004 since the field was so bad that it allowed someone of his limited ability to briefly be the guy to beat on clay, and even vs the no competition field in 2004 he still wasnt able to make much of it only winning 1 Masters and losing the French.
     
    #5
  6. droliver

    droliver Semi-Pro

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    Corretja. It's really not even close based on actual results. He was 2nd or 3rd best on clay for about 6-7 years on clay in a tough era
     
    #6
  7. egn

    egn Hall of Fame

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    Rios then Coria then Corretja then Med.
     
    #7
  8. kishnabe

    kishnabe G.O.A.T.

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    Med since he play ok on clay/
     
    #8
  9. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Medvedev was beaten by the eventual champion so often at the French Open. He was extremely unfortunate never to win the tournament. The two years that Bruguera won the French Open (1993 and 1994) were Medvedev's best chances of winning the tournament. He also had a big chance in 1997, and of course that 1999 final where he dominated the first 2 sets.

    Coria was the pre-tournament favourite to win the 2004 French Open and basically did everything that tournament but actually win it. The standing ovation he got during the trophy ceremony was the biggest I've ever seen for a runner-up.

    Rios was the pre-tournament favourite to win the 1998 French Open, and the second favourite behind Kuerten to win the 1999 French Open, but both times lost in the quarter finals (1998 to eventual champion Moya, and 1999 to Hrbaty) and he never got beyond that stage of the French Open in his whole career. Alex Corretja was a top clay court player for a lot longer period of time than both Rios and Coria, but I never considered him the favourite to win the French Open like I did with Rios and Coria, despite Corretja finishing as French Open runner-up in 1998 and 2001.

    Coria had rotten luck his whole career on the ATP tour, with the failed 2001 drugs test because of ATP supplements, failing to win the French Open between 2003-2005 when he was amongst the favourites or the favourite, and then getting the service yips in the summer of 2005 which went on to ruin his game and eventually forced his retirement.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2011
    #9
  10. Q&M son

    Q&M son Professional

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    Coria without any doubt
     
    #10
  11. Michael Bluth

    Michael Bluth Semi-Pro

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    Interesting that a lot of people think Coria was the best. For me he seemed to be the worst.

    He lost the one RG final he made against clearly weaker opposition than Medvedev in his one GS final, or Corretja in his two. His two MS titles were won over weak opponents in the finals. In 03 he lost in straight sets to Verkerk who never made it past the second round of a slam before or since when he was the second-best clay-courter in the world after Ferrero.

    Even if he hadn't fallen apart after 05, he wouldn't have won anything major competing against Fed and Nadal. Fed even beat him in 04 in Hamburg, before his peak level on clay and during Coria's.

    I can understand him being ranked over Rios though since he did better at Roland Garros.
     
    #11
  12. Tongueincheek

    Tongueincheek Banned

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    Coria.. 4 sure.. then IMO Magnus Norman. He was an awesome player on the dirt.
     
    #12
  13. Clay lover

    Clay lover Hall of Fame

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    Damn if you asked this question last year I surely would have put ROGER FEDERER, a no brainer. Now it's hard to say, I'll go for Medvedev, he's underrated.
     
    #13
  14. kalic

    kalic Professional

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    +1
    Forget results and just watch his old matches. He was flawless on clay. Rome final against Nadal (3:2) was IMO the best claycout match ever.
     
    #14
  15. flying24

    flying24 Banned

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    The votes for Coria are a JOKE!! That guy is so overrated.
     
    #15
  16. flying24

    flying24 Banned

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    Thank you. Someone with an actual brain.
     
    #16
  17. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Try watching his clay court matches in 2003-2004. His talent was unbelievable.
     
    #17
  18. Michael Bluth

    Michael Bluth Semi-Pro

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    Don't get me wrong, Coria was an excellent player and should have won that Roland Garros, but his results are clearly weaker than Corretja and Medvedev. Corretja has two RG finals against prime Moya and prime Kuerten, both of which are much tougher opposition than Gaudio. As for Medvedev, Agassi is also a tougher opponent than Gaudio, seeing as Gaudio never made the quarters of Roland Garros before or since 04.

    From 03-04, Coria's prime, won tournaments where the real big guns on clay weren't in his path. Whenever he ran into them, he lost. Examples include Monte Carlo 03 against Ferrero, and Federer in Hamburg 04.
     
    #18
  19. boris becker 1

    boris becker 1 Rookie

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    corretja
    stich
     
    #19
  20. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Has any other tennis player ended their career without a slam and yet got within 1 point of winning a slam during their career? Coria has to live with that.
     
    #20
  21. flying24

    flying24 Banned

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    I have watched him and he is still insanely overrated. Yes he has some nice touch and a nice backhand. However his forehand is just ok, his serve is weak, and he does not have the physically or mental strength to really hang in with the big boys, even on clay. He is a talented lightweight with nice feel, great speed, and alot of saavy and guile how to play on clay, but not someone with the weapons or abilities to really beat the best. When he played Ferrero when Ferrero was still at his best he was destroyed. He only started doing well vs Ferrero in 2004 when Ferrero collapsed with injuries and illness. He was also outplayed by Federer when they played on the surface, even before Federer was playing his best tennis on clay yet.

    The idea he was ever going to win the French in any year other than 2004 is laughable for starters. He had zero chance vs Ferrero in 2003, it would have been a mugging like the Monte Carlo final. As it was he couldnt even get a set off journeyman Verkerk in the semis. In 2005 he had no chance vs Nadal or probably even Federer. As it was he couldnt beat a pre prime Davydenko in the round of 16. His 3 best years ever at the French he lost to Verkerk, Gaudio, and a pre prime Davydenko, making the final only once with none of Federer, Nadal, or Ferrero ever in his potential path to that final. As it is 2004 is probably the only year in history he would have had a chance to win the French in his prime.

    He was lucky to peak on clay sort of in between Kuerten and Ferrero and before Federer and Nadal, with the exception of Ferrero in 2003, Federer in 2005, and an 18 year old pre prime Nadal in 2005. Even vs that shallow field mostly depleted of all the greater clay courters who owned him, he achieved very little with only 2 Masters titles and 1 French Open runner up.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2009
    #21
  22. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

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    I would have to go with Corretja. Not only did he have the numbers, he had them against a very tough clay court field. People probably remember Coria more as he was a more recent player, but as Flying said Coria's game, despite some clay fluidity, was not as all around or deadly on the surface as Corretja.
     
    #22
  23. Michael Bluth

    Michael Bluth Semi-Pro

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    Exactly. And Coria's MS titles on clay came against weak opponents in Calleri and Schuettler.

    To me, Corretja was the most consistent of the four, as evidenced by his five consecutive quarterfinal or better finishes from 98-02 and the two finals. He also lost a tough four-setter with Costa in 02 in the semis; if he had won that match, he would have had his best chance at the title ever against a choking, unfit Ferrero.
     
    #23
  24. Michael Bluth

    Michael Bluth Semi-Pro

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    Forgot to write the second part of my post:

    I would choose Medvedev because I feel his peak level was the highest even if Corretja was the most consistent.
     
    #24
  25. vive le beau jeu !

    vive le beau jeu ! G.O.A.T.

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    good point. he is the only one in this situation in the open era, and possibly in the whole tennis history.

    interestingly, a player, john bromwich, lost 2 slam finals having held match point(s) [1 in AO 1947, 3 in W 1948].
    but he also won 2 AO [1939, 1946] ! ;)
     
    #25

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