Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by timnz, May 18, 2009.
The last page of this thread has been the source for some major lol for me, I must say.
After all Wilding won more clay court titles than anybody including 2 World Hard Court Championships on Clay (equivalent to Roland Garros), so he should be in the top ten. As good as Kuerten was on Clay he can't rate higher than Lendl or Wilander because, though he won Roland Garros like them, they also got two other finals there (Guga zero) and won many more clay court titles than he did.
I got a good laugh out of this rankopedia. Witness their all time greatest mens players ever rankings:
-Andre Agassi at #4 all time ahead of Rod Laver. :lol:
-Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg above Ken Rosewall, Bill Tilden, and Pancho Gonzales
-Andy slamless Murray above Guillermo Vilas, Ilie Nastase, and Mats Wilander
-Andy Roddick also above Mats Wilander,
The womens are even better though:
-Martina Hingis the #6 women player all time ahead of Margaret Court (in addition to higher than Henin, Serena, Venus, and a bunch of double digit slam winners)
-Kim Clijsters ahead of both Suzanne Lenglen and Helen Wills Moody
-Maria Sharapova ahead of Helen Wills Moody (Sabatini was also ahead of Wills Moody before I voted)
-Sabatini, Davenport, Mauresmo, and Capriati all ahead of Maureen Connolly
-Ana Ivanovic over Maria Bueno
-Anna Kournikova ahead of Maria Bueno, Virginia Wade, and Jana Novotna
It just shows how a lot of these so called opinion polls are just popularity polls in actuality. How else would Anna Kournikova be on the list?
Sorry. I do tend to rate Laver conservatively in order to compensate for a personal bias. I thus hope to result in a balanced and objective rating.
Also I try to avoid "coulda and woulda ifs," particularly regarding injuries. (The Pro ban is another story.)
This does appear to be an Open-Era ONLY list. (I could not open the link to ascertain the correctness here.)
I do think that any list of great clay-courters to leave off Cochet, Lacoste, and Borotra is oddly configured.
Wow.. Federer in front of great Ivan Lendl
yea nadal is def #1, i think even with only 4 RG he still beats borg with the most consecutive matches
Well, of course. Lendl was a weekend, country club player.
Why is Wilding not on anybodys lists? I mean he won more Claycourt titles than anyone in history. He was pretty much unbeatable on the surface for 5 seasons in a row. And its not just because people are leaving the old timers off their lists - I see people have the Cochet, Lacoste etc.
I'm willing. Can you tell us more about Wilding?
(To me he's mostly just a name.)
Before the World Hardcourt Championship came into being in 1912 the top European Clay court tournament was Nice. Wilding won that 3 times. He also won the other prestiguous Clay court tournament Monte Carlo 5 times (a record he shares with Nadal). The French Open didn't exist (in terms of being open to all players anyway) but the international world hardcourt championship (Actually played on clay) was the true forerunner of the French Open (not the 'French Club members only' french championships). Wilding won that twice. Accoding to Wildings davis cup team mate Norman Brookes (who was such a good player himself he pushed a peak Bill Tilden to the limit in matches when he Brookes was in his '40's), Wildings best surface was clay, even though he had won Wimbledon on grass 4 times. From the 1911 season to the 1914 season he hardly lost a match on the surface (open to input here, I'm actually wondering if he was in fact unbeaten on clay during that period). He won 18 titles on clay alone in his last 2 seasons (!913 & 1914). Basically in the 1910's before the first world war he was the Nadal of that period. I'm sure he would have gone on but unfortunately he was killed in World war 1 in 1915.
Is there any way to estimate how many equivalents to the FO (international field, deep draw on clay) he won?
Should we say two? Or more?
Nadal is definetly the clay court goat
But Borg is definitely the clay-court GOAT (to date).
Most dominant performance ever in a major, 1978 French Open win by Borg, 127 games won, 32 games lost. Twenty one sets out of twenty one sets won. Defeated Vilas in the final with a loss of only five games.
Clay Major Equivalents
Between the two World Hardcourt Championship wins, Championship of Europe in 1905 (Clay ?), Nice wins, Monte Carlo & other wins - I'd say 5 to 7 equivalents.
Have a look at:
He won a lot of clay court tournaments outside of those mentioned as well. A lot of the tournaments were best of 5 sets.
Be good to get one of the great historians on this bulletin board to confirm though.
Haven't you heard?
- If Federer didn't choke against Nadal he would've been the greatest on clay.
- If Federer used more drop shots against Nadal, he would have been the clay GOAT.
- If Nadal didn't direct all his shots to Federer's bh, Fed would've have been the greatest on clay.
- If Roger, didn't have mono those 4 years he lost to Nadal at the French, he could've been the greatest on clay.
- If Nadal didn't fistpump after every point, federer would've been the greatest on clay.
- If Federer's serve didn't collapse everytime he faced Nadal, he could've been the greatest on clay because Fed's serve is on par with Pete's.
These are the reasons why Federer should be ahead of Lendl on the clay greats-list.
lol great post
You know Borg #1 I have been doing some serious soul searching and I actually am putting Borg as the clay court GOAT. Now I think Nadal is #2 but this cronic injury "xcuse" thing is making me drop Nadal down.
Borg and his camp conducted themselves with consistency, nobility and aplomb.
Just thought U might like to hear that.
He was definately the "Ice Man".
The greatest clay court player that ever lived. Also in the top with the other GOATs. Laver, Pete and Fed.
I love it and agree with you. Yet, I have major respect for Nadal and I think he's got a shot at catching Borg. If he does that, depending on how he does that, at that point I may concede that he is in fact #1 on clay. Yet, in my book, Borg is still the Clay King and among the Greats of all time, which are Borg, Federer, Laver, and Sampras in my opinion. That's great to hear. It sounds like you may have some newfound respect for Bjorn Borg. I tell you, he deserves his place in the Game. He toiled for many years and had such a bright, but abbreviated career. He was a class act in Tennis too. Per Harry Hopman, he was a "complete credit to the Game". It's hard to get top Borg in many respects. Very unique. Like the quote from Nastase, he does not seem like he's from the same planet in some ways. Thanks.
Nadal has a few chinks to his resume now, compared to Borg. It's hard to ignore:
- the awful fourth round loss at RG during what should be his peak/prime
- the four dominant years on red clay, compared to Borg's five (in a row)
If Nadal dominates again this year then he's push the latter total to five. But that still won't change the fact that he'll have that 2009 disappointment sitting in between.
We can look back at Borg's career and say that at his peak he was untouchable. He has that mystique. Nadal lost some of mystique last year.
Actually, Reggie Doherty holds the record for the most Monte Carlo titles - six (1897-99 and 1902-04). I'd certainly include not only Tony Wildiing, but also both of the Doherty brothers in a discussion on the GOAT on clay.
I counted 68 tournament wins on clay for Wilding from the 112 overall tournament titles listed for him in the wikipedia entry.
Given that Nadal would miss the next couple months and Wimbledon as the defending Champion with an injury soon after his French Open defeat I dont think the French Open loss to Soderling will mean of anything in the evaluation of his career if he rebounds strongly.
Here's a chronological list of Tony Wilding's tournament wins on clay (the list is not meant to be definitive):
1. Poseldorf Cup, Hamburg, Germany
2. Championships of Europe, Bad Homburg, Germany
3. Le Touquet, France
1. Riviera Championships, Menton, France
2. Championships of Cannes, Cannes, France
3. Championships of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain (the Spanish Championships were closed to overseas players at this point, so Wilding can’t have won it, as stated in wikipedia)
4. Wiesbaden, Germany (Wilding won both the Wiesbaden Cup and the Championships of Wiesbaden at this tournament)
5. Championships of Austria, Prague, Bohemia
6. Championships of Bohemia, Prague, Bohemia (Wilding appears to have won this tournament in addition to the Championships of Austria, although the tournaments might have been played concurrently)
7. Carlsbad, Austria
8. Franzensbad, Bohemia
9. Marienbad, Austria (Wilding won both the Auersperg Prize [the “Cup”] and the Championships of Marienbad events at this tournament)
10. Bad Homburg, Germany
11. Baden-Baden, Germany
1. South of France Championships, Nice, France
2. Wiesbaden, Germany (again, Wilding won both the Wiesbaden Cup and the Championships of Wiesbaden at this tournament)
3. Championships of Austria, Prague, Bohemia
4. Championships of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
5. Championships of Budapest, Budapest, Hungary
6. Marienbad, Austria (again, Wilding won both the Auersperg Prize [the “Cup”] and the Championships of Marienbad events at this tournament)
7. Franzensbad, Bohemia
8. Carlsbad, Austria
9. Swiss Championships, Lucerne, Switzerland
10. Baden-Baden, Germany
[The chronology is probably slightly incorrect for tournaments 6-8 above]
1. Championships of the Italian Riviera, San Remo, Italy
2. Monte Carlo, Monaco
3. South of France Championships, Nice, France
4. Championships of Cannes, Cannes, France
5. Metropole Hotel, Cannes, France
6. Wiesbaden, Germany (for the third year in a row Wilding Wilding won both the Wiesbaden Cup and the Championships of Wiesbaden at this tournament)
7. Lille, France
8. Bordeaux, France
9. Dieppe, France
10. Baden-Baden, Germany
1909 – Wilding did not play in Europe in this year, nor, probably, on clay
1. South African Championships, Johannesburg, South Africa
2. Championships of the Italian Riviera, San Remo, Italy
3. Leopold Club, Brussels, Belgium
4. Lille, France
5. Brussels, Belgium
6. Ostend, Belgium
7. The Hague, Holland
8. Évian-les-Bains, France
9. Sapicourt, France
1. Championships of the Italian Riviera, San Remo, Italy
2. Monte Carlo, Monaco
3. Riviera Championships, Menton, France
4. South of France Championships, Nice, France
5. Championships of Cannes, Cannes, France
1. Monte Carlo, Monaco
2. Deauville, France
1. Monte Carlo, Monaco
2. Riviera Championships, Menton, France
3. World Hard Court Championships, Paris, France
4. Deauville, France
5. Le Touquet, France
6. Montreux Autumn Meeting, Montreux, Switzerland
7. Montreux Palace Autumn Meeting, Montreux, Switzerland
1. Carlton Club (1st Meeting), Cannes, France
2. Bordighera, Italy
3. Beaulieu, France
4. Cote d’Azur Championships, Cannes, France
5. Monte Carlo, Monaco
6. Riviera Championships, Menton, France
7. South of France Championships, Nice, France
8. Nice Country Club Tournament, Nice, France
9. Championships of Cannes, Cannes, France
10. Carlton Club (2nd Meeting), Cannes, France
11. World Hard Court Championships, Paris, France
Wilding also won the “Forme-Becharat Cup” in Menton in 1911, 1913 and 1914, but this event was probably played concurrently with the Riviera Championships.
This gives Wilding a total of 68 clay court tournament wins (known so far). The 1914 World Hard Court Championships was Wilding’s last ever win in a singles tournament.
Ooooh. Dripping with sarcasm.
Watch out: TMF might be watching.
It will, because he did play and he did lose. However rebounding strongly will certainly make a difference.
Borg also lost twice to Panatta at the french open
True but this didnt break the 5 year run of complete dominance on clay of Borg that CyBorg was referring to (1977-1981 I am pretty sure).
You are welcome, Man.
Well I have been watching more of his matches and how he and his CAMP conducted themselves and realized he was greater than I thought originally. Nadal gets knocked down mainly due to his camps bizzare behavior.
I think the thing that threw me off was that I did not realize how efficient his movement was. He hit with big topspin too. After closer analysis of his strokes his strokes are not as bad as I thought as well. Somewhat ecclectic. Not as pretty as Lavers but not as funky as Connors or Macenroes.
Well, this is incredibly impressive (& thanks very much for the work getting this detail) Does that give Wilding a place in the list of the best clay courters?
Since the Grand Slams weren't settled on until the late 20's or early 30's - (from 1912 to 1923 there were three recognised world championships - Grass (Wimbledon), Clay (World Hardcourt championship) and Indoor (Word covered court championship) what do you think are the equivalent clay majors for Wilding? I'm thinking pre-1912 - he won Nice combined with Monte Carlo 5 times and also won the Championships of Europe on Clay in 1905. Combined with the 2 World Hard court championships - that is equivalent to 8 clay majors. (you could throw in a couple of Riviera Championships as well). Plus I am thinking that he has the record for most clay court tournament tournament victories in history (more than L. Doherty?) he should at least get a mention on the best clay courters list.
“Well, this is incredibly impressive (& thanks very much for the work getting this detail) Does that give Wilding a place in the list of the best clay courters?
"Since the Grand Slams weren't settled on until the late 20's or early 30's - (from 1912 to 1923 there were three recognised world championships - Grass (Wimbledon), Clay (World Hardcourt championship) and Indoor (Word covered court championship) what do you think are the equivalent clay majors for Wilding? I'm thinking pre-1912 - he won Nice combined with Monte Carlo 5 times and also won the Championships of Europe on Clay in 1905. Combined with the 2 World Hard court championships - that is equivalent to 8 clay majors. (you could throw in a couple of Riviera Championships as well). Plus I am thinking that he has the record for most clay court tournament tournament victories in history (more than L. Doherty?) he should at least get a mention on the best clay courters list.”
I copied those tournaments from the list of Tony Wilding’s singles tournament victories included in wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Wilding
I’m sure that virtually all of those 62 tournaments were played on clay. I’m not sure that, for example, Wilding won two tournaments in Montreux in 1913, but it is more difficult to check up on some results than others. Regardless of this, he was still a great player, on any surface. But especially on clay, where he won about sixty per cent of this singles titles. I don't know who has won the most clay court titles in history.
You could certainly argue that the World Hard Court Championships were the precursor to the modern French Championshps/French Open. Monte Carlo also tended to attract the top players most years (the men competed for the Monte Carlo Cup). As far as I can see, Wilding played Monte Carlo five times and won it five times (1908, 1911-14). The Riviera tournaments in general had quite small draws, especially in the early years, but a lot of the top players did compete in them. That’s why they are worth remembering. You can find many of the early draws, not just from the Riviera tournaments, here: www.tennisarchives.com Don't forget German tournaments like Bad Homburg, Wiesbaden and Baden-Baden, which also had some excellent top-class draws (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=320958).
Anyway, if you like Wilding, keep an eye out for a results thread I’m going to create in the next few days. It will have virtually all of the final results from all of the tournaments where Wilding won the singles title, plus the dates (some of them approximate) and the surface of the court. The total of 112 overall singles titles for him is accurate.
On the List?
Thanks - I'll look forward to your list.
Would you agree then that Wilding deserves a place in the list of the top clay courters of history?
"Would you agree then that Wilding deserves a place in the list of the top clay courters of history?"
I am leaning toward putting him on the list.
The hard part is calculating how many FO (or clay slam) equivalents he might have.
I guess a player can only play the tournaments that are available to him.
From 1905 to 1912 Wilding played and won the major clay court championships available eg the Championships of Europe in 1905, Nice multiple times, Monte Carlo many times, the various important German tournaments. I think, as I have said it probably comes out about 6 to 8 major combined with 2 World Hard Court championships on Clay (from after 1912) won in 1913 and 1914.
Do we rate a players strength solely on their 'major equivalents'. I agree they are the most important titles but some weight should be given to number of titles too and it would appear that Wilding has the most clay court titles of anyone in history.
But, I agree it is hard to work out equivalents.
Its a shame Tennis is not like golf where it was understood that the Majors have changed over time, and it was clear what they were at any one stage.
The majors for tennis were only clear from 1912 to 1924 (Covered court championships, Wimbledon, World hard court championships), and then they changed from the mid-20's/early 30's onwards (to our present 'Grand Slam' events). Its hard to pick what the majors were from 1877 to 1911 inclusive.
^^^Wow! Sounds like he'd be right up there with Borg and Nadal.
Where Wilding Rates
Sorry, I'm probably getting a tad carried away
He probably lists around the 5 to 10 level I think.
"I am leaning toward putting him on the list.
"The hard part is calculating how many FO (or clay slam) equivalents he might have."
I don't think people thought in those terms back in Wilding's day, when the tennis set-up was very different from what it is nowadays. It might be better to divide tennis history into different eras, with the first one extending from around the early 1880s up until the First World War. This would probably be fairer to the early players.
No, you are correct. Yet it's a good place to start, and maybe the easiest method by which to compare over many decades and different eras, and thus to rank.
20. von Cramm
26. Frank Parker
29. Sven Davidson
For me, Vilas is better than Kuerten. Vilas won just one French because of Borg, but he won USOPen on clay too. Kuerten won 3 times the French, but beating Corretja and Norman.
In 1977 Vilas beat Gottfried in the final, who only won 3 singles titles on clay, all of them on American green clay as well. 1977 was the only time that Gottfried progressed beyond the last 16 at the French in 13 attempts. In 12 appearances in Rome, Gottfried reach 1 semi-final and 0 finals.
Corretja is regarded by many people as the best, or at worst one of the best, players to have never won the French over the past 20 years. From 1998-2002 he reached 2 finals, 1 semi-final and 2 more quarter-finals at the French, and he won the title at Rome in 1997. Corretja >>> Gottfried.
It's less clear cut with Norman, but he had won the title at Rome in 2000, beating Kuerten in the final, so he was no slouch on clay either.
Guga also beat Ferrero twice en-route to his French titles in 00 and 01. Ferrero was already a dangerous clay court opponent in 00. In 01 he had won titles at Estoril, Barcelona and Rome (beating Kuerten in a 5 set final) and finished as the runner-up at Hamburg. Many people tipped him to dethrone Kuerten that year, but Guga thrashed him in their semi-final. Not to mention that Guga beat the 96 champion Kafelnikov in both his quarter-finals in 00 and 01 as well.
And of course Guga's title run in 97 is regarded as one of the most impressive grand slam campaigns in the open era, with him beating Muster, Medvedev, Kafelnikov and Bruguera along the way.
Vilas can count himself extremely lucky that Borg was absent at the French in 77, given how badly he was owned by him on clay. Even in 77 Borg won both their clay court matches at Nice and Monte-Carlo pretty easily. The only times he beat Borg on clay were in the 73 Buenos Aires final when a 17 year old Borg was leading and then had to retire after colliding with the umpire's chair, and in the world team cup in 80 which Borg treated as an exho. And of course, Vilas was slaughtered by Borg in the 75 and 78 French finals, winning 0 sets and a combined total of just 14 games. He did beat some strong clay court opponents en-route to his title in 77, Franulovic (who was fading by then though), Fibak and Ramirez, but still Guga's title runs in 97 and 01 are both more impressive in my opinion. It's a lot more debable with Guga's 00 run.
Borg got one major flaw to his resume.. if he was the greatest claycourter why didnt he win USO when it was played on clay
I think you all have Federer too high but generally a very interesting and (very welcome!) civil discussion.
I'd also include the Dohertys in the discussion. A list of some of their clay court singles victories can be found here:
Borg - US Open - 1975-1977
Borg didn't hit his peak until sometime in 1977. I am not sure how he went at the US Open in that year (did he compete - not sure that he did). 1975 and 1976 were before his peak (I know he won the French in 1974/1975). He didn't like American clay court as much as European - the surface didn't suit him as well, plus Jimmy Connors was a great player on American clay. His head to head on clay with Borg from 1974 to 1976 was 3-0 I believe.
Did Borg play the US Open in 1977 (the last one on clay)?
They certainly won the top clay court titles of their time (and personally I think that Laurie was the best pre-world war one player, even though I am a fan of Wilding), but the number of their clay court titles, with full respect to their abilities, wasn't up there with someone like Wilding ie 13 to 16 Clay court titles each compared to over 60 for Wilding.
He did. Borg was injured, having missed all the summer events leading up to the US Open, and had to retire in the fourth round match against Dick Stockton (even at one set apiece at the time).
Of course, the US Open was then on har-tru - not red clay, which is what we refer to as 'clay' today. No event on the men's tour is on har-tru anymore. Houston was, I think, the last one.
I think it makes more sense to separate red clay and har-tru and treat them as different surfaces.
but still its the closest thing to red clay.. if he could win on other surfaces why not har-tru?? I mean USO still counted as a claycourt tournament back then and some of the other claycourt specialists didnt seem to have trouble playing there. I still think its a flaw in Borgs resume!
Separate names with a comma.