Better clay courter: Muster or Kuerten?

Musterrific

Semi-Pro
But he usually did not beat them in RG and also most of the times didn’t even reach them as he lost to “not so great” cc like Rafter, Sampras, Stich, Becker etc. Even Gomes and Kuerten while on paper good/great clay courter were not peak when they faced and beat Muster. What I can give him are his losses against Courier who was indeed a tough opponent in 92 and 93. Anyways, Kuerten has a lot more wins against strong CC than Muster, even his post-surgery win against prime Federer is something I wouldn’t expect Muster to be able to do.
RG '88 - Muster's breakout season. Very solid year, getting into the top 20. Lost to Becker in 3rd round at the French, who was an elite player at the time. I don't see that as a bad loss. No way he would have beaten Leconte in the next round anyway, never mind Wilander if he'd somehow made the final.

RG '89 - obviously he didn't play that year because of the accident. He was ranked 6 in the world at the start of RG, so if he hadn't been injured, we can look at the draw of the 6th seed, Jakob Hlasek, to get an idea of what Muster would have faced. Gomez in 2nd round, Mancini in 4th round, Edberg in QF, Becker in SF - yeah I really can't picture Muster getting through that nightmare at that stage of his career even if he'd been healthy.

RG '90 - legitimately could be seen as a lost opportunity. He arrogantly dismissed Gomez as "over the hill" prior to their SF (having dispatched him in Rome just a couple of weeks earlier), and paid the price for his hubris. 50-50 chance he would have beaten Agassi in the final if he'd made it.

RG '91 - Muster was injured in '91 and had a horrible year overall, the worst of his career during his prime period, so losing to an ATG like Sampras at RG was not a shameful result, despite it being Sampras' worst surface by far. Even then, Muster was up 4-2 in the fifth set before choking it away. Even if he had won that, I doubt he would have gone very far - 4th round max where he would have faced an inspired Stich.

RG '92 - I agree, losing to peak Courier during a so-so season for Muster was not unexpected. Would have had a very tough draw anyway judging by Courier's path to the title.

RG '93 - Muster had a very solid season that year, especially on clay, but had the misfortune of running into peak Courier again in the 4th round. If he'd managed to sneak out a victory there however, he would have had quite a favourable draw against Prpic, Krajicek, and Bruguera, all of which I would have liked his chances against, so perhaps '93 should have been a title run for him at RG given his strong form that year.

RG '94 - certainly the loss against a pre-prime Rafter at '94 RG in the third round was a baffling lost opportunity, especially seeing how great he played to defeat Agassi in the previous round. Just goes to show that Muster's kryptonite was S&V players who could keep the points short, disallowing Muster to get into his beloved rhythm and torturing his opponents through relentless grinding. Didn't help either that his ability to hit effective passing shots was very weak for a player of his calibre. As I said earlier, if he'd gotten past Rafter he would have faced Bruguera, who he very likely would have beaten, because there was nothing about Bruguera's game that troubled him. In the semis he would have faced Courier, who beat him at RG in '92 and '93. I forget how well Courier was playing in '94, but I doubt Muster would have beaten him at that stage in their careers on any surface. If by some miracle he managed to defeat him, Berasategui, one of his pigeons, would have been ripe for the picking in the final.

RG '95 - finally puts it all together and wins the title during a legendary season, but not before coming within 2 points of losing against Costa in the QF. Imagine that upset had occurred? We would be sitting here today wracking our brains trying to figure out how a player of Muster's amazing clay court prowess never managed to even make the final at the French...

RG '96 - Muster's biggest blunder. He tore through the warm-up tournaments in dominant fashion much as he had done in '95, looking unstoppable until his 4th round meeting with Stich (who almost didn't enter the tournament). Stich, by displaying confidence and bravado prior to the match by claiming he wasn't intimidated by Muster and that he liked his chances against him, possibly got into Muster's head a bit, who at that point was used to opponents just rolling over for him on clay. And sure enough, Stich produced a 4 set upset that very few would have thought possible. Had that not happened, Muster's last three opponents would have been Pioline, Rosset, and Kafelnikov, none of whom I believe would have stood a chance against him. There's very little excuse for Muster not to have won the '96 French considering he was still at the peak of his powers.

RG '97 - Not sure I'd necessarily include '97 RG as a blown opportunity for Muster, despite choking away the match against Kuerten in the 3rd round. He re-tooled his game that year to focus on hardcourt and produced his best ever results on that surface, but his clay game suffered immensely. I'm not convinced that had he managed to hold on to victory against Kuerten that he would have defeated either Medvedev or Kafelnikov that year given his lousy clay form.

RG '98 - He was in serious decline by '98 and entered the tournament unseeded. Transformed into the ultimate darkhorse however and played very well to unexpectedly make it to the QF before falling to Mantilla, part of a strong contingent of young Spanish clay court experts. Perhaps could be seen as another missed opportunity because he had just beaten Mantilla 2 weeks earlier in Rome, and had positive head-to-head records against Moya and Corretja (especially Corretja, who he utterly dominated), the other two strong players of this new "Armada" who would have awaited him in the final 2 rounds of the tournament. Was '98 RG there for the taking for Muster in a sudden, late career surge that nobody saw coming?? One really has to wonder, though I'm not entirely convinced he could have pulled off besting the trio of young, talented Spaniards in a row.

RG '99 - Muster just running on fumes at that point and just showed up to collect a 1st round cheque. No chance of producing a notable result.

In conclusion, when looking at his overall clay court career achievements, elite abilities on that surface, yearly form and health, and historical draws of the French Open, he really should have managed to find a way to win the RG championship in '90 and especially in '96, and possibly '93 or '94 as well, with a special mention to '98!
 
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13GATOSNEGROS

Semi-Pro
All those Muster-Bashers should have shared a few balls with T.M.
In the end, it was usually the same: they lost. But in their talking, it was never Muster, who beat them; they had a bad day, they made too many faults, too many birds in the sky, too hot, too cold, the wind ... even though, they all hated to play Muster, like a living nightmare.
And - of course - Muster only beat weak players and the tournaments he won: the "Mistelbach-Open", "Toxteth69-Open", "Anchorage100" or "BasraMickeyMouseClub" and "Vienna Stadthallenturnier für Buben über 166cm Körpergröße".
All you Muster-Bashers, sittin at home, playin with your laptops tonite, and then, tomorrow: go back to your boring jobs and MAYBE once or twice/week play tennis with some other specialists with fat bellies, followed by the highlight, a few beers. hey, another chance to talk about overrated pros and how unfair evil world treats you. bonus: the us-open; everybody's talkin.

PS: Novak D is a ...... .
 

rafa_prestige89

Professional
All those Muster-Bashers should have shared a few balls with T.M.
In the end, it was usually the same: they lost. But in their talking, it was never Muster, who beat them; they had a bad day, they made too many faults, too many birds in the sky, too hot, too cold, the wind ... even though, they all hated to play Muster, like a living nightmare.
And - of course - Muster only beat weak players and the tournaments he won: the "Mistelbach-Open", "Toxteth69-Open", "Anchorage100" or "BasraMickeyMouseClub" and "Vienna Stadthallenturnier für Buben über 166cm Körpergröße".
All you Muster-Bashers, sittin at home, playin with your laptops tonite, and then, tomorrow: go back to your boring jobs and MAYBE once or twice/week play tennis with some other specialists with fat bellies, followed by the highlight, a few beers. hey, another chance to talk about overrated pros and how unfair evil world treats you. bonus: the us-open; everybody's talkin.

PS: Novak D is a ...... .
Take it easy Gatonegro, I think you missed the point here, we're not comparing Muster to us Talk Tennis players with our boring jobs, but to Gustavo Kuerten, 3 times French Open champion like true a clay court specialist.
 

tkramer15

Rookie
But he usually did not beat them in RG and also most of the times didn’t even reach them as he lost to “not so great” cc like Rafter, Sampras, Stich, Becker etc. Even Gomes and Kuerten while on paper good/great clay courter were not peak when they faced and beat Muster. What I can give him are his losses against Courier who was indeed a tough opponent in 92 and 93. Anyways, Kuerten has a lot more wins against strong CC than Muster, even his post-surgery win against prime Federer is something I wouldn’t expect Muster to be able to do.
Both Courier and Kuerten, based upon their greater overall peaks regardless of surface, get the nod over Muster. The Ultimate Tennis Statistics GOAT list agrees with this, and I feel that the list fairly evaluates players' full bodies of work. As I have vouched for before on this message board, both Ferrero and Moya are ranked well ahead of Bruguera. Muster is ahead of all three and slots in right behind Kafelnikov, Kuerten and Ivanisevic. Goran and Muster are virtually tied.

https://www.ultimatetennisstatistics.com/goatList

I don't post on here to be combative. It's mostly entertaining to flesh out these debates. We're dealing with subjective arguments in many cases. But I feel it's necessary to stand up for the Austrian when I see dismissive remarks that are steeped in opinion not supported by fact.

muster would lose against ferrero, while kuerten beat him twice at paris. muster is 95 % hard work and 5 % talent, kuerten is 70 % talent and 30 % hard work
This is what I'm getting at. While I understand we're dealing with subjectivity and some opinion, nothing here is based on objective facts.

I did some research on opponents that Muster lost to at RG, since the claim has been made that other top players (mainly Courier) never would have lost to the likes of them. I also looked at how Courier performed against the wave of younger talents that entered the scene in the mid-90s.

Courier vs. Stich (Stich won the series 7-5; Courier led 2-1 on clay and won their only RG meeting)
Courier vs. Sampras (Sampras won the series 16-4; Courier led 2-1 on clay; the pair split two RG meetings)
Courier vs. Becker (Becker won the series 6-1; no meetings on clay)
Courier vs. Rafter (Rafter won the series 3-0; no meetings on clay; Rafter won 1994 matchup on slow HC at Indian Wells and in 1997 and 1999, past Courier's prime)
Courier vs. Kuerten (Courier won the series 1-0; only meeting was in Feb. 1997 Davis Cup tie in Brazil on clay)

So, Courier was 11-32 against Stich, Sampras, Becker, Rafter and Kuerten. It's true that few of those meetings were on clay, but Courier did in fact lose twice to Stich and Sampras on clay in best of five matches. To degrade Muster for losing to such players at RG, while stating that Courier never would've lost to said players, is pure speculation and is highly dubious when compared to raw facts. Muster's combined record against these players was a slightly worse 5-20, which included 0-6 combined vs. Kuerten and Rafter, 2-9 vs. Sampras, 2-3 against Stich and 1-2 against Becker.

Courier vs. A. Costa (Series tied 2-2; A. Costa won the 1995 RG 4th rd. matchup)
Courier vs. A. Corretja (Corretja won series 4-0; three meetings on hard, one on clay; final two meetings in 1998 and 1999)
Courier vs. Moya (Courier won the series 2-1; all three meetings in 1999; Courier won on grass and indoor carpet, Moya won on outdoor hard)
Courier vs. Berasategui (Berasategui won the series 2-0; meetings in 1994 and 1996 on clay and hard)
Courier vs. Rios (Rios won the series 3-0; two meetings on clay in 1996 and 1997 were decided in third set tiebreaks)
Courier vs. Mantilla (Mantilla won the series 2-1; all three meetings on clay in 1998)
Courier vs. Kafelnikov (Kafelnikov won the series 5-1; split two clay meetings)

Courier was 6-19 against notable ATP players Kafelnikov, Moya, Rios, Albert Costa, Corretja, Berasategui and Mantilla. Yes, many of those meetings occurred after Courier's early '90s prime. But this illustrates the double standard when looking at Muster, who peaked later and thus had to face a number of talented players who were nowhere to be found just a few years prior. Surely, there were good players in the early '90s who weren't around by 1995ish, but it cannot be denied that the aforementioned players raised the level of the tour, particularly on clay.

Kafelnikov, Moya and Rios all reached number one in the world. Kafelnikov won two slams, including RG, and won 26 out of 46 tour level finals. Moya won RG, reached the Aussie Open final and won 20 out of 44 finals reached. Rios came up short at the slams (reached the '98 Aussie final), but won five Masters titles and 18 total tournaments. Corretja reached two RG finals and won 17 events, including two Masters titles and the ATP Championship. Berasategui reached the French final and won 14 clay tournaments. Mantilla reached the RG semis and won 10 clay tournamnents, including Rome.

Muster went a combined 30-11 against Kafelnikov, Moya, Rios, Albert Costa, Corretja, Berasategui and Mantilla. 5-1 vs. A. Costa, 8-1 vs. Corretja, 4-4 versus Moya, 4-1 vs. Berasategui, 3-1 vs. Rios, 2-2 vs. Mantilla and 4-1 vs. Kafelnikov. Throw in Muster's domination of Bruguera (12-3) and it becomes clear how good Muster was against the other top clay court contenders.

What does all of this mean?

Nothing definitive of course. Although draws and certain situations are simply random and part of the sport, there is evidence to support the notion that Muster simply had bad luck in his early round draws at the French that often prevented him from getting into the second week. Although posters have speculated that Courier would not have lost to players such as Stich, Rafter, Sampras, Becker or Kuerten at RG, the fact is that Courier lost 32 times to these players in his career. Moreover, Courier struggled to beat the influx of younger talent that arrived in the mid-90s that Muster largely dominated.

It's impossible to know whether Muster would've done more in the early '90s without the knee injury. Perhaps he peaks earlier and fades earlier (like Courier). Evidence does suggest; however, that Muster was simply the victim of continually drawing dangerous players who would've posed problems for anyone, even Courier, in the early rounds of slams. Courier was unquestionably better during his 3 year+ peak. Timing is often crucial and while Muster was simply not on Courier's level in the early '90s, his prime 3-4 year window was arguably much deeper and more difficult than what Courier faced on clay.
 

buscemi

Hall of Fame
Both Courier and Kuerten, based upon their greater overall peaks regardless of surface, get the nod over Muster. The Ultimate Tennis Statistics GOAT list agrees with this, and I feel that the list fairly evaluates players' full bodies of work. As I have vouched for before on this message board, both Ferrero and Moya are ranked well ahead of Bruguera. Muster is ahead of all three and slots in right behind Kafelnikov, Kuerten and Ivanisevic. Goran and Muster are virtually tied.

https://www.ultimatetennisstatistics.com/goatList

I don't post on here to be combative. It's mostly entertaining to flesh out these debates. We're dealing with subjective arguments in many cases. But I feel it's necessary to stand up for the Austrian when I see dismissive remarks that are steeped in opinion not supported by fact.



This is what I'm getting at. While I understand we're dealing with subjectivity and some opinion, nothing here is based on objective facts.

I did some research on opponents that Muster lost to at RG, since the claim has been made that other top players (mainly Courier) never would have lost to the likes of them. I also looked at how Courier performed against the wave of younger talents that entered the scene in the mid-90s.

Courier vs. Stich (Stich won the series 7-5; Courier led 2-1 on clay and won their only RG meeting)
Courier vs. Sampras (Sampras won the series 16-4; Courier led 2-1 on clay; the pair split two RG meetings)
Courier vs. Becker (Becker won the series 6-1; no meetings on clay)
Courier vs. Rafter (Rafter won the series 3-0; no meetings on clay; Rafter won 1994 matchup on slow HC at Indian Wells and in 1997 and 1999, past Courier's prime)
Courier vs. Kuerten (Courier won the series 1-0; only meeting was in Feb. 1997 Davis Cup tie in Brazil on clay)

So, Courier was 11-32 against Stich, Sampras, Becker, Rafter and Kuerten. It's true that few of those meetings were on clay, but Courier did in fact lose twice to Stich and Sampras on clay in best of five matches. To degrade Muster for losing to such players at RG, while stating that Courier never would've lost to said players, is pure speculation and is highly dubious when compared to raw facts. Muster's combined record against these players was a slightly worse 5-20, which included 0-6 combined vs. Kuerten and Rafter, 2-9 vs. Sampras, 2-3 against Stich and 1-2 against Becker.

Courier vs. A. Costa (Series tied 2-2; A. Costa won the 1995 RG 4th rd. matchup)
Courier vs. A. Corretja (Corretja won series 4-0; three meetings on hard, one on clay; final two meetings in 1998 and 1999)
Courier vs. Moya (Courier won the series 2-1; all three meetings in 1999; Courier won on grass and indoor carpet, Moya won on outdoor hard)
Courier vs. Berasategui (Berasategui won the series 2-0; meetings in 1994 and 1996 on clay and hard)
Courier vs. Rios (Rios won the series 3-0; two meetings on clay in 1996 and 1997 were decided in third set tiebreaks)
Courier vs. Mantilla (Mantilla won the series 2-1; all three meetings on clay in 1998)
Courier vs. Kafelnikov (Kafelnikov won the series 5-1; split two clay meetings)

Courier was 6-19 against notable ATP players Kafelnikov, Moya, Rios, Albert Costa, Corretja, Berasategui and Mantilla. Yes, many of those meetings occurred after Courier's early '90s prime. But this illustrates the double standard when looking at Muster, who peaked later and thus had to face a number of talented players who were nowhere to be found just a few years prior. Surely, there were good players in the early '90s who weren't around by 1995ish, but it cannot be denied that the aforementioned players raised the level of the tour, particularly on clay.

Kafelnikov, Moya and Rios all reached number one in the world. Kafelnikov won two slams, including RG, and won 26 out of 46 tour level finals. Moya won RG, reached the Aussie Open final and won 20 out of 44 finals reached. Rios came up short at the slams (reached the '98 Aussie final), but won five Masters titles and 18 total tournaments. Corretja reached two RG finals and won 17 events, including two Masters titles and the ATP Championship. Berasategui reached the French final and won 14 clay tournaments. Mantilla reached the RG semis and won 10 clay tournamnents, including Rome.

Muster went a combined 30-11 against Kafelnikov, Moya, Rios, Albert Costa, Corretja, Berasategui and Mantilla. 5-1 vs. A. Costa, 8-1 vs. Corretja, 4-4 versus Moya, 4-1 vs. Berasategui, 3-1 vs. Rios, 2-2 vs. Mantilla and 4-1 vs. Kafelnikov. Throw in Muster's domination of Bruguera (12-3) and it becomes clear how good Muster was against the other top clay court contenders.

What does all of this mean?

Nothing definitive of course. Although draws and certain situations are simply random and part of the sport, there is evidence to support the notion that Muster simply had bad luck in his early round draws at the French that often prevented him from getting into the second week. Although posters have speculated that Courier would not have lost to players such as Stich, Rafter, Sampras, Becker or Kuerten at RG, the fact is that Courier lost 32 times to these players in his career. Moreover, Courier struggled to beat the influx of younger talent that arrived in the mid-90s that Muster largely dominated.

It's impossible to know whether Muster would've done more in the early '90s without the knee injury. Perhaps he peaks earlier and fades earlier (like Courier). Evidence does suggest; however, that Muster was simply the victim of continually drawing dangerous players who would've posed problems for anyone, even Courier, in the early rounds of slams. Courier was unquestionably better during his 3 year+ peak. Timing is often crucial and while Muster was simply not on Courier's level in the early '90s, his prime 3-4 year window was arguably much deeper and more difficult than what Courier faced on clay.
This works both ways, though. In 1991, Courier beat Larsson, Todd Martin, Edberg, Stich, and Agassi to win the French Open. Muster was:

-3-4 vs. Larsson (albeit 3-0 on clay);​
-1-4 vs. Martin (1-1 on clay);​
-0-10 vs. Edberg (0-4 on clay);​
-2-3 vs. Stich (2-2 on clay, including the FO loss); and​
-4-5 vs. Agassi (3-1 on clay)​

So, Muster was 10-26 against the players Courier beat and only 9-8 on clay. In other words, even if peak Muster had Courier's 1991 draw, he's probably not winning.
 

tkramer15

Rookie
This works both ways, though. In 1991, Courier beat Larsson, Todd Martin, Edberg, Stich, and Agassi to win the French Open. Muster was:

-3-4 vs. Larsson (albeit 3-0 on clay);​
-1-4 vs. Martin (1-1 on clay);​
-0-10 vs. Edberg (0-4 on clay);​
-2-3 vs. Stich (2-2 on clay, including the FO loss); and​
-4-5 vs. Agassi (3-1 on clay)​

So, Muster was 10-26 against the players Courier beat and only 9-8 on clay. In other words, even if peak Muster had Courier's 1991 draw, he's probably not winning.
Everyone knows Muster wasn't beating Edberg haha.

My main point was simply to refute the notion that Courier could not have lost to the players who beat Muster at RG, while also pointing out how much better Muster fared against a host of very talented players that arrived on the scene during Muster's best stretch.

Courier's early round draws between 1991 and 1994 had a few potential roadblocks (including Muster), but overall, it's hard to describe them as overly difficult at the time. Wayne Ferreira, Todd Martin, Medvedev, Mancini, Larsson -- I'm certainly not dismissing any of them. Ferreira, Martin and Medvedev, in particular, would become high quality players. Larsson had a big game and was dangerous on any surface. Granted, Courier was seeded 9, 1, 2 and 7 during those years. He earned some draw safety. It's really difficult to believe any of those players would have gone on to do significant damage had they upset Courier, but that's hypothetical.

There are so many various factors and non-apples to apples comparisons. In today's world, with 32 seeds and three players essentially winning nearly every grand slam for the last 15 years, there isn't much analysis. In the '90s though, in the 16 seed system at slams, draws mattered.

Muster did not reach the heights of Courier or Kuerten. That's irrefutable. But he seems to be devalued too greatly by some not really because he only won RG once, but because he seemingly didn't get deep into the draw very often. His career trajectory doesn't make sense in comparison to what typically occurred with others from his era. Muster played his best tennis in a few year span that saw the depth of ATP talent expand significantly, particularly in terms of clay court talent. But instead of recognizing that and all of his other accolades, the focus seems to rest on bottom line RG results.

It's fair to say Muster choked a bit at RG, but he had very little margin for error just to reach the second week. Outside of his 1995 title, Muster lost to the eventual winner or finalist prior to the quarterfinals four times in five attempts between 1992 and 1997. In 1994, as the 11th seed, Muster would've needed to have beaten Agassi, Rafter and defending champion Bruguera just to reach the quarters!
 
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Musterrific

Semi-Pro
Everyone knows Muster wasn't beating Edberg haha.

My main point was simply to refute the notion that Courier could not have lost to the players who beat Muster at RG, while also pointing out how much better Muster fared against a host of very talented players that arrived on the scene during Muster's best stretch.

Courier's early round draws between 1991 and 1994 had a few potential roadblocks (including Muster), but overall, it's hard to describe them as overly difficult at the time. Wayne Ferreira, Todd Martin, Medvedev, Mancini, Larsson -- I'm certainly not dismissing any of them. Ferreira, Martin and Medvedev, in particular, would become high quality players. Larsson had a big game and was dangerous on any surface. Granted, Courier was seeded 9, 1, 2 and 7 during those years. He earned some draw safety. It's really difficult to believe any of those players would have gone on to do significant damage had they upset Courier, but that's hypothetical.

There are so many various factors and non-apples to apples comparisons. In today's world, with 32 seeds and three players essentially winning nearly every grand slam for the last 15 years, there isn't much analysis. In the '90s though, in the 16 seed system at slams, draws mattered.

Muster did not reach the heights of Courier or Kuerten. Thats irrefutable. But he seems to be devalued too greatly by some not really because he only won RG once, but because he seemingly didn't get deep into the draw very often. His career trajectory doesn't make sense in comparison to what typically occurred with others from his era. Muster played his best tennis in a few year span that saw the depth of ATP talent expand significantly, particularly in terms of clay court talent. But instead of recognizing that and all of his other accolades, the focus seems to rest on bottom line RG results.

It's fair to say Muster choked a bit at RG, but he had very little margin for error just to reach the second week. Outside of his 1995 title, Muster lost to the eventual winner or finalist prior to the quarterfinals four times in five attempts between 1992 and 1997. In 1994, as the 1th seed, Muster would've needed to have beaten Agassi, Rafter and defending champion Bruguera just to reach the quarters!
There's no doubt about it, his RG legacy definitely suffered due to an unusual frequency of immensely difficult draws there. Consistent lousy luck. If only he had some of the cakewalks that Nadal has benefitted from. Also, if the 32 seed system and protected rankings had been in place in the 90's, strong players would not have had to face each other in early rounds.

That being said, Muster definitely choked a few times at the French when he really should have managed to win the title, and he deserves a heap of criticism for it. '90 and '96 in particular. No excuses for not being champion those years.
 

rafa_prestige89

Professional
Both Courier and Kuerten, based upon their greater overall peaks regardless of surface, get the nod over Muster. The Ultimate Tennis Statistics GOAT list agrees with this, and I feel that the list fairly evaluates players' full bodies of work. As I have vouched for before on this message board, both Ferrero and Moya are ranked well ahead of Bruguera. Muster is ahead of all three and slots in right behind Kafelnikov, Kuerten and Ivanisevic. Goran and Muster are virtually tied.

https://www.ultimatetennisstatistics.com/goatList
Sorry, but this list is completely absurd...Kuerten is below players like Chang, Roddick (only 1 Slam), Kafelnikov, Hewitt (2 Slams)...Also, Wawrinka with his 3 Slams in a Big 3 era is ranked below all those players and also David Ferrer (!!!!) and Del Potro (1 Slam and only 1 ATP 1000 in his career).
 

tkramer15

Rookie
Sorry, but this list is completely absurd...Kuerten is below players like Chang, Roddick (only 1 Slam), Kafelnikov, Hewitt (2 Slams)...Also, Wawrinka with his 3 Slams in a Big 3 era is ranked below all those players and also David Ferrer (!!!!) and Del Potro (1 Slam and only 1 ATP 1000 in his career).
It's not absurd if you take into account players' full bodies of work. The GOAT point legend explains all of the calculations, weightings, etc. Kuerten arguably achieved greater heights than several of the players ahead of him, but that doesn't mean his entire career achievements were greater.

Longevity and consistency are certainly factors here, which aids someone like Ferrer, whose consistency for the better part of a decade was remarkable. Ferrer simply doesn't have the bottom line Grand Slam title (or even a handful of Masters titles) to show for it. Most everyone, including me, would rank Muster ahead of Ferrer, but if not for Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, just how many big titles would Ferrer have? The same can obviously be said for Roddick. All of this illustrates the problem of directly comparing players from even a decade or so apart. It's never really an apples to apples evaluation.

I don't think it's surprising at all to see Kafelnikov and Hewitt ahead of Kuerten, despite each winning two slams versus Kuerten's three. Each had far greater longevity than Guga and were more effective on a wider range of surfaces. Hewitt finished #1 two years in a row.

Bottom line: It's not all about grand slam titles. They're a huge piece of the puzzle, but not indicative of a player's entire career.
 
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bluetrain4

G.O.A.T.
I'd call it a toss up.

Guga obviously has more top level achievements, i.e., Slams, but doesn't Muster win just about every other clay metric?
 

70sStrokes

New User
And how can we forget his last Masterclass given to the young and impetuous Swiss named Federer?
8-B
That FO defeat that Guga gave Federer was a good match. Two shot makers and good people. The matches Guga played against Agassi in Paris and Sampras in Paris and Miami would lead me to say Guga was better than Muster. There was also more imagination in Kuerten’s game.
 

Gizo

Hall of Fame
I'd rank Kuerten over Muster. It additional to Kuerten's clearly superior record at RG and the fact that he unlike Muster and a good spell of supremacy there with 3 titles in 5 years including a successful title defence in 2001, he also won 4 titles across Monte-Carlo, Rome and Hamburg, so he won each of the 4 biggest clay court tournaments available to him. I don't think that Muster's 2 extra masters series / super 9 titles on clay nor his additional smaller tournament wins are enough to offset Kuerten's advantages.

Not that it's particularly relevant in this debate, but as a statto I also like Kuerten's achievement of winning all 4 Latin American clay court events available to him. I used to really enjoy that part of the season, when there were far more talented South American players around to participate in them.

I do think his peak was better than Muster's peak. That's not to say Muster's peak wasn't outstanding as well. For example I'd love to see at least extended highlights of his 4th round demolition of Medvedev during his 1995 title campaign.

It's been discussed in previous posts, but I definitely rate Muster above Bruguera on clay however. I think that Muster's vastly superior record in the big clay court events outside RG, winning 8 Monte-Carlo / Rome / Barcelona titles compared to Bruguera's 2 (neither player won Hamburg with Muster skipping it during his best years and Bruguera also missing it in both 1993 and 1994), is easily enough to offset Bruguera's extra RG title / superior RG record. That's before we look at their record in smaller clay court events.

Bruguera was probably the first player who could conceivably be classed as a 'clay court specialist' (he would improve on hard courts but at that stage he struggled off clay), to actually win the RG title.
 

Musterrific

Semi-Pro
I'd rank Kuerten over Muster. It additional to Kuerten's clearly superior record at RG and the fact that he unlike Muster and a good spell of supremacy there with 3 titles in 5 years including a successful title defence in 2001, he also won 4 titles across Monte-Carlo, Rome and Hamburg, so he won each of the 4 biggest clay court tournaments available to him. I don't think that Muster's 2 extra masters series / super 9 titles on clay nor his additional smaller tournament wins are enough to offset Kuerten's advantages.

Not that it's particularly relevant in this debate, but as a statto I also like Kuerten's achievement of winning all 4 Latin American clay court events available to him. I used to really enjoy that part of the season, when there were far more talented South American players around to participate in them.

I do think his peak was better than Muster's peak. That's not to say Muster's peak wasn't outstanding as well. For example I'd love to see at least extended highlights of his 4th round demolition of Medvedev during his 1995 title campaign.

It's been discussed in previous posts, but I definitely rate Muster above Bruguera on clay however. I think that Muster's vastly superior record in the big clay court events outside RG, winning 8 Monte-Carlo / Rome / Barcelona titles compared to Bruguera's 2 (neither player won Hamburg with Muster skipping it during his best years and Bruguera also missing it in both 1993 and 1994), is easily enough to offset Bruguera's extra RG title / superior RG record. That's before we look at their record in smaller clay court events.

Bruguera was probably the first player who could conceivably be classed as a 'clay court specialist' (he would improve on hard courts but at that stage he struggled off clay), to actually win the RG title.
Also very noteworthy was Kuerten winning the YEC and finishing the year ranked #1, and going through Agassi and Sampras on fast indoor carpet to do it, whereas Muster was a fish out of water at that tournament.
 
D

Deleted member 22147

Guest
Also very noteworthy was Kuerten winning the YEC and finishing the year ranked #1, and going through Agassi and Sampras on fast indoor carpet to do it, whereas Muster was a fish out of water at that tournament.
Muster did well to win Super Nine event Essen on carpet, beating Sampras along the way, only dropping a set in the entire tournament in the 5 set final. He also won Miami dropping only a set.

Kuerten did well to win the Masters Cup and then Cincinnati just on the eve of his first hip problem... Big shame.

Both could play on fast (not saying Miami is, though, obviously), Kuerten more than certainly had the higher upside and we will never know what his best could've been.
 

Olli Jokinen

Semi-Pro
Read my longer post above. I already covered these things. I gave Kuerten the nod over Muster based upon his greater career heights (3 RGs, year end #1). Yes, statistically, for two seasons, Muster was Nadal-like. Obviously, the loss to Stich at 1996 RG dampens Muster's second dominant year, but Muster was doing things that nobody had done on the surface since Borg. Nobody is saying Muster was as good as Nadal. That's not the argument.

The rest of your assessment is not based in reality. The notion that Muster played harder than others in smaller tournaments is complete conjecture. Yes, the regimented/specialist nature of the tour back then absolutely made direct comparisons between different types of players impossible. Americans often avoided the European clay until later in April or May, but the same top European clay courters were entered in events like Estoril, Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Hamburg and Rome every year.

To illustrate my contention that you are factually wrong about clay court contemporaries focusing only on RG by not playing as many tournaments, I looked up Bruguera and Muster's playing activity from 1990 through 1998, the period that they each completed relatively injury-free full seasons). The selection of Bruguera was made because the pair's careers most closely overlapped, and they are considered two of the best clay court players of the period.

Pre-Roland Garros Clay Season Tournaments Played (After Miami): 1990-1998
Bruguera: 50 Muster: 49

Overall Clay Tournaments Played: 1990-1998
Bruguera: 102 Muster: 123

Overall Clay Tournaments Won: 1990-1998
Bruguera: 13 Muster: 35

Muster did in fact play 21 more total clay events than Bruguera during that span, but he won 22 more titles. Bruguera's late round conquests at RG in 1993 and 1994 were impressive. Nobody denies that. But Bruguera also received comfortable early round draws both years. Muster's early draws were anything but comfortable, except really in 1996 (until Stich).
"... but Muster was doing things that nobody had done on the surface since Borg."

I'm pretty sure that Wilander and Lendl did it better than Muster between him and Borg.
 
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