Originally Posted by timnz
I created this thread in May of 2009 (before the French Open that year). At the time Nadal was behind Borg in Roland Garros wins - he only had 4 at that stage - so I had Nadal at second. But given that Nadal is at 7 now (and with all his other clay titles) - I think we now have to proclaim him number 1 all time on the surface. He will eventually get the record for the most open era clay titles (Vilas holds that record for the time being), but even if he doesn't he still is the best of all time on that surface.
(I will say that I am certain that Borg would have won the 1977 and 1982 French Opens if he had competed in them - but that's down to him - Nadal shouldn't be penalised because Borg didn't show up).
Even before this RG it was rather clear Nadal had the best overall record on clay, at least in the open era, unless you believe RG should be the one and only measure. The most important tournaments in the red clay season were much the same then as now: MC, Rome, RG... and Nadal has a whole bunch of titles in all those tournaments, a lot more than Borg. He also has more clay titles overall, and his career winning percentage on the surface is an astonishing 93%, almost 7 full points ahead of Borg -- an enormous difference, really. It is very hard, probably impossible, to find that level of domination by any player on one particular surface for such a long period (Sampras on grass, dominant as he was, had a 83.3 winning percentage by comparison).