Tiers for claycourt greats.

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Cesc Fabregas, Apr 18, 2009.

  1. Cesc Fabregas

    Cesc Fabregas Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Messages:
    8,316
    What tier would you have for the best claycourter ever? mine is

    Tier 1: Borg, Rosewall and Nadal

    Tier 2: Lendl, Laver, Wilander

    Tier 3: Courier, Bruguera, Kuerten, Muster, Vilas.
     
    #1
  2. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2007
    Messages:
    5,544
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Cochet possibly first tier. Hard to say. Segura also very good on clay. Tony Trabert probably tier-2. Hans Nusslein in the conversation.

    Gimeno probably tier-3. Budge, Von Cramm...
     
    #2
  3. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,341
    Kuerten is possibly in the second group. Laver was pretty great on clay. He defeated Rosewall numerous times although Rosewall did hold the edge.
     
    #3
  4. egn

    egn Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2008
    Messages:
    4,973
    Kureten is as good as Wilander on clay in my opinion.
     
    #4
  5. Xuxa Kuerten

    Xuxa Kuerten Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    Messages:
    236
    Location:
    São Paulo, Brazil
    Considering last 30 years:

    Tier I: Borg, Nadal, Kuerten

    Tier II: Muster, Vilas, Lendl, Wilander

    Tier III: Bruguera, Courier

    Tier IV: Ferrero, Federer, Corretja
     
    #5
  6. Chelsea_Kiwi

    Chelsea_Kiwi Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2009
    Messages:
    1,526
    I think Federer deserves a mention like 3rd or maybe 4th tier you don't get to 3 FO finals without being a good claycourter. I also think another reason that is good for him is that he has lost the finals to the best claycourter of all-time so he deserves to be mentioned.
     
    #6
  7. egn

    egn Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2008
    Messages:
    4,973
    Vilas should be tier three with Brug and Courier he had one really good year on clay 1977..never repated it.
     
    #7
  8. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    Messages:
    31,165
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Vilas holds the record with 46 clay court tournament wins.

    He also held the record for consecutive clay court match wins (53) until Nadal broke that record and surpassed him.

    He deserves to be in Tiers 1 or 2, IMO.
     
    #8
  9. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,341
    Vilas wasn't only good in 1977, he was always one of the best clay court players in the world. He was just overshadowed by Borg.

    I have some names to throw in the pot. How about Ilie Nastase, Manuel Santana and Andres Gimeno for tier 2 or 3?
     
    #9
  10. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,646
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    Adriano Panatta?

    Could he actually S & V on clay, and beat Borg doing it?
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2009
    #10
  11. Borgforever

    Borgforever Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Messages:
    1,564
    Yes, he did -- most certainly at that too...

    When he first beat a 17-year old baby Björn at RG 1973 Borg was scared of Adriano and made a weak match while Panatta was very sharp -- but Adriano's finest victory was clearly his RG 1976 QF victory over the Swede.

    Panatta had a great serve when he was on song which really opened up his attacking game alternating between constructing his net advances staying back after his serve and classic S & V -- mixing it up, as it were -- somewhat similarly in style as a Nastase or a Laver or a 3rd set RG 1979 final version of Pecci. Such a performance took some amazing talent and skill to pull off against Borg -- and Adriano made it that hot day in Paris.

    To get you some idea of how this rare and effective tactic took visual shape -- you can see a hazy resemblence in these fine krosero-stamped clips of Pecci going like Panatta on Borg in that particular moment in the match:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCyYtZO_R9M

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jGn0ZIZtaM&feature=related

    While I must point out at the same time that no player ever made it through an entire match and won against Borg after 1976 -- and when Panatta scored this victory against Borg that year Björn was at a strange crossroads in his life and career.

    He was actually blue in his mood -- so saddened by 1975 and his blowout losses on faster surfaces against Ilie and Jimbo and every expert's condemnation of him as "fantastic on clay, yes, but on faster surfaces HE WILL NEVER WIN. Grass -- you must be joking?" -- that kind of talk...

    He wanted fast-court success at any price and clay was of minor importance. He had already defended his RG title, crushing almost everybody (at 19!) losing only one set en-route to his second RG -- but Wimby and other faster surfaces was the only thing on his mind. So his perf at RG in 1976 was uninspired -- Borg's personal motivation was always key -- his lacklustre form, weak serving, uncreative rallies invited defeat. Jauffret was close but got to 10-8 in the 5th (a sensation in itself -- and a warning sign) and then came Adriano on fire.

    Borg also fell in love with Mariana during that tourney -- she consuming his thoughts and his worry that he'll amount to nothing at Wimby, USO and indoors and everybody's cruel recognition of that fact staring him in the eye all through his future. All that teen angst. A master -- with clay feet...

    But kudos to Panatta anyway who was one of the most talented players of the era who could beat anybody on his day which wasn't too seldom. Search Panatta Borg on YT and some clips show bits out of their match-ups but they are sadly very short and the image quality leaves a lot to be desired so to speak. So to get a fuller feel of their kind of dynamic the Pecci footage is actually more illuminating since there's more points and one can actually see the tennis ball which is IMO of singularly major importance...

    But it's important to stress that no-one after Panatta managed to keep such a level against Borg for such a sustained period of time without him doing his amazing Houdini-trick and raise his game further and ride out the storm...

    I mean Pecci was on peak-fire that tourney -- and he never made it in the end either...

    From the ones I've seen I can only imagine Rod, Ken, Pancho and Rafa to be able to maybe win once or so against Borg on clay when The Ice Man was peak...
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2009
    #11
  12. droliver

    droliver Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2008
    Messages:
    672
    Location:
    Birmingham, AL U.S.A.

    Muster, Kuerten, Bruguera, & Vilas should be tier 2 IMO. (just a notch below the all time best)

    For tier 3 I'd put the "Very Good" in that group: Agassi, Courier, Correja, Federer, A. Costa
     
    #12
  13. egn

    egn Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2008
    Messages:
    4,973
    Tier I - Borg, Nadal, Rosewell
    Tier II- Wilander, Lendl, Kureten, Laver
    Tier III- Muster, Villas, Bruguera
    Tier IV- Courier, Nastase, Ferrero, Ornates, Panatta
    Tier V- Federer, Kodes, Corretja, Moya, Noah, Gomez, Agassi

    Sums up my opinion on most of the people mentioned in my opinion. Note ordering in tier was no specific order just first thoughts to my head.
     
    #13
  14. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2007
    Messages:
    4,486
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    Ferrero and Orantes should be demoted to Tier V and Kodes elevated to tier IV IMO. Other than that I mostly agree.
     
    #14
  15. egn

    egn Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2008
    Messages:
    4,973
    ornates has 30+ clay titles and a clay slam even though it was the us open..but his prime lines up with borg. Kodes played in a weak clay field in my opinion and I have Ferrero high I guess cause his peak was great andhe got cut short.
     
    #15
  16. Xuxa Kuerten

    Xuxa Kuerten Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    Messages:
    236
    Location:
    São Paulo, Brazil
    I've chosen Vilas to be on my tier II due to his consistency on RG. He did only won once, but reached another 3 finals and another 5 quarterfinals (the last one when he was already 34 yo).
     
    #16
  17. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2007
    Messages:
    4,486
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    Orantes's prime lines up with Borg? I am sorry but I dont see that. It doesnt line up with prime Borg from 1977 to 1981 atleast. Orantes's prime was really 1972-1976. Of course even pre-prime was incredibly hard to beat on clay. Still there are probably quite a few great clay courters in their primes who could have held onto a 2 set to 0 lead vs a pre prime Borg in his first slam final which Orantes couldnt do at the 74 French Open. He didnt have to face Borg to win his U.S Open, granted he had to face Connors who at that point in time was an even tougher opponent anywhere but red clay, even on green clay, but that also says what point in his career Borg was then although still extremely good.
     
    #17
  18. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,341
    Excellent list. Not that it means much but I've often wondered about the possiblility of Nastase playing any of these guys if he was on his game, which wasn't that often. His best on clay was better than most of these players. Just a dream about potential fun match ups.
     
    #18
  19. egn

    egn Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2008
    Messages:
    4,973
    Very good point. It doesnot really line up with Borg's prime. I just feel even pre-prime Borg was a far better clay court player than most.
     
    #19
  20. imalil2gangsta4u

    imalil2gangsta4u Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2009
    Messages:
    1,751
    Location:
    Houston, Tx
    federer definetely deserves to be on some kind of list lol. hes lost to nadal in rg finals, but its nadals best surface and what he grew up on.
     
    #20

Share This Page