Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by timnz, May 18, 2009.
...matched by the 1968 French Open SF Rosewall vs. Gimeno, and some other matches.
Newcombe over Rosewall at 1968 Roland Garros Pro was also a great five-setter.
The King of Clay is Guillermo Vilas.
Recordman of titles won on clay.
For open era maybe. Overall, i think, Drobny won more. Not sure about Wilding.
Nadal is the only correct answer. His record on the surface is divine really
Vilas isnt even the best clay courter of his era (Borg is by far) so how can he be the best of all time.
Because Borg was a martian ( Nastase dixit)
Drobny was great
Interestingly Vilas was 0-3 against Harold Solomon at RG, losing to him there in 1972, 1976 and 1980.
Yes, Solomon was a nuisance for Vilas. Vilas beat him at the 1977 US Open, though.
On fast indoors Solomon won their 79 Masters meeting and Guillermo their 80 clash also at same tournament
Not sure they played each other at 76 WCT in that case Vilas won
Longest cc final?
1980 was not real, Vilas was very sick.
The level of Vilas in the 1977 French Open final was just outstanding:
1980 was very real. Vilas turned up and lost fair and square. And Solomon was cramping pretty badly near the end of the match as well but got the job done. Plus he had beaten Vilas in the Hamburg final a few weeks earlier. And Vilas was maybe lucky not to be defaulted in the previous round against Orantes after the whole no-show saga. In fact if he hadn't have been such a big name, he probably would have been.
Vilas was very sick, that's why there was a big problem about the match against Orantes. That's why he lost against Solomon. In 1980, Vilas was very very strong, if he wasn't sick, he could have won the FO.
No Solomon was a very difficult match-up for him and always caused him a lot of problems, so Vilas could have had problems against him regardless, and did lose several other big clay court matches that they played. That was his 3rd straight defeat to Solomon in-fact. Of course he was struggling with his stomach, but Solomon had problems with cramps in his hands and legs in that match as well.
Vilas had next to no shot of beating Borg in a potential 1980 RG semi-final, who crushed everyone at that event, and thus couldn't have won that tournament. I doubt Vilas could even have won 10 games against Borg in that sort or form (and he only won 14 games combined in their 1975 and 1978 finals).
And if you to want to talk about a hypothetical Borg-Vilas 1980 semi at RG, what about a hypothetical semi between them at the 1977 US Open? Borg played that whole event with a shoulder injury before withdrawing in the 3rd set against Stockton in R4. Lucky Vilas, as he wouldn't have been able to beat Borg in a big match in a major.
Vils beated Borg 2 times at the Masters, which is a major.
So if the Masters counts a major in the 1974 and 1975 which I agree does make sense as it was a very big tournament, does that mean the significantly less important Australian Open, where Vilas won his 1978 and 1979 titles when hardly anyone cared about the tournament before 1983, wasn't a proper major?
Vilas never beat Borg in a best of 5 set match apart from the 1973 Buenos Aires final. Borg was only 17 years old and leading by 2 sets to 1 in Vilas's home city, before colliding with the umpire's chair at 6-6 in the 4th set and having to retire injured.
After that Borg won every best of 5 set match they played, Rome in 1974, RG, Boston and Barcelona in 1975, Dallas and Wimbledon in 1976, Nice in 1977, RG in 1978 and Monte-Carlo in 1980. A lot of those matches weren't even close with Vilas getting crushed.
Vilas had more chance of winning the lottery than beating a Borg at RG in 1980 or beating a prime Borg in a best 5 set match anywhere on any surface.
Vilas beated Borg in Dusseldorf in 1980 a few days before FO. If he was not sick during the FO, he would have a real chance to beat Borg.
And Borg destroyed Vilas at Monte-Carlo (a much bigger event than Dusseldorf) that year, dropping only 3 games in 3 sets. And Solomon beat Vilas at Hamburg in 1980 just before RG, so by your logic that shows that Solomon would have had great chance of beating a non-sick Vilas at RG (where he had already beaten him twice before) that year right?
At RG in 1980, Borg only dropped 38 games in his whole tournament, and no more than 8 games in any of his matches. No-one, not Vilas, not Connors, not Gerulaitis, not anyone, had a prayer of stopping Borg on clay with him playing like that, or even making it remotely competitive.
Vilas was simply no threat whatsoever to a prime Borg over best of 5 sets. Borg must have been delighted when he faced Vilas in his 1976 Wimbledon quarter-final, and could use that match as light-hearted serve and volley practice.
Hey, I hade made a thread called "An hypothetical semifinal Borg-Vilas in Roland Garros 1980":
This is an article about that Vilas-Borg match in the Nations Cup:
Resurrected for timeliness.
Borotra, Santana and Drobny seem too high for me, and Nastase, Orantes, and Nusslein too low. Good list though, but why no #24?
Vilas is a great player but you have to wonder if Borg played the other 3 majors he won (besides 77 U.S Open) and had been able and able to reach Vilas at the 77 U.S Open, if Vilas would be sitting on 0 majors today? Which would be a shame for such a great player, but could easily have been the case.
Sorry, lots of edits over years.
I also find Lendl and Wilander too close. Despite that both won 3 French Opens they really werent that close to be right next to each other in history (not just Open Era) in clay tennis. Lendl was way more dominant, much higher win percentage, higher peak level play, more overall clay achievements. I think Kuerten, LaCoste, and Laver could all easily be higher so I would put 1, 2, or all 3 of those between Lendl and Wilander just to create some seperation between them. It is easiest to compare people of the same era and despite both winning 3 French Opens Lendl >> Wilander by a not too large but obvious margin on clay (or any surface, even grass despite Wilanders's 2 grass slams).
Hoad is the GOAT of chair-lifters.
illusions30, I agree regarding the ranking of those players.
Both of them have won it three times and been runner-up two times. They have beaten each other here. They have been in their prime nearly at the same time, playing the same field. I don't think that you can reasonably argue that they are not in the same league!
Wilander did it younger tough, and I believe he could have won RG many times more if he had Lendl, Sampras, Federer or Nadal's dedication to chase titles. He stopped to care after being number 1 in 1988 (only 24 years old!).
A man was seated in the chair, and Hoad grabbed the FRONT LEGS to raise it.
Hoad won what was arguably the greatest ever match on red clay at The Hague in 1957, beating Rosewall in a marathon five sets final, after dispatching Segura in the semi.
The top clay match ever.
I wouldnt say they are in a different league neccessarily. Just not so close that considering everyone in history they should be only 1 spot apart. Maybe in the Open Era alone they could be 1 spot apart on clay (although even then I have Lendl at 3rd and Wilander 5th in the Open Era).
As for Wilander fizzling out after 88 he was a grinder without big weapons beyond his amazing consistency and court smarts, who I think burnt out mentally and physically after 7 years of playing that style at the very top level. I wouldnt say he ever lacked dedication, that was the biggest thing that made his career in the first place.
Federer is a bit low..he won 1 French open, 5 other finals and wins 6 masters on clay..
he comes up against the greatest (with borg) clay player ever. Federer would have won some of those French opens in another era.
But after him reaching the number 1 spot in 1988 his considered that he had reached his goal (being the best player in the world) and therefor hadn't much to prove to himself, and turned his interest to other things (rock band).
But anyway the hunger and dedication is a big part, maybe the biggest of what make the greater player and he shouldn't recieve credit for quiting early.
In 89 wilanders biggest fan(his dad) did get cancer, for wilander tennis was not the number one thing in his life anymore that was the reason for his lower ranking and no wins after the great 88 season.
Resurrected for pertinence.
21. von Cramm
31. Frank Parker
33. Sven Davidson
34. Jack Crawford
36. Fred Perry
37. J.E. Patty
Sure would be nice to see some video of this classic.
Here is some good looks at the Rosewall vs Hoad US Title 1956
can't ague with the top 3.
on a side note, Federer could end up winning Monte Carlo tomorrow. If that happens, only Rome remains!
US Open, US CC, Rome, 3 Barcelonas, 2 Montecarlos, 3 Hamburgs, Boston...Louisville...yeah Federer,Bruguera or Courier are THAT MUCH better.I get that.
Revived for pertinence.
Nadal is clearly the GOAT on clay at least in terms of accomplishments. Peak play is a more interesting topic.
Yep, probbbbly. Heck, when it comes to peak-play, one can imagine Hoad or Gonzales moving way up, (or even Fed at the Hamburg Open final in 2007 when he walloped some youngster 6-0 in the third).
Or even a certain mister Soderling. Peak play needs to be rated across at least a substantial period of time e.g. not just a match. Otherwise the best players of all time would be tall huge hitters who got hot and all their shots went in.
I put this in another thread also and copied it here.
My conclusion is that Laver is perhaps a superior clay court player to Rosewall. Could change later.
Now when I say superior clay court player I mean for LEVEL OF PLAY. I think the information I have indicates Laver was superior to Rosewall on clay. Think about it. Laver won more clay court tournaments. Edge to Laver. In the only Pro Major on clay that both entered Laver won it over Newcombe in the final in the strongest field in the history of the French Pro in 1968. Very big in Laver's favor. They met in two French Open finals. Rosewall won the first in four sets and Laver won the next in straights. Equal in matches won versus each other but Laver leads in sets won 4 to 3. Tiniest of edge to Laver. Laver also probably leads the head to head on clay court tournaments. Edge to Laver.
Now Rosewall won four French Pros on clay while Laver won none. That's clearly an edge to Rosewall. Here’s the problem, Laver NEVER PLAYED A FRENCH PRO ON CLAY until 1968! Laver could not possibly catch Rosewall who played many French Pros (five) on clay before Laver even turned Pro. Rosewall won four of five only losing in crushing fashion to Tony Trabert in three straight sets winning only four games in three sets in 1959. Trabert won it that year over Sedgman.
Now the big question is who had the superior record on clay? Rosewall, with his extra French Pros may have the superior record but that’s mainly due to his extra chances to win on clay in the French Pro. That's like why Roy Emerson won more classic majors than Pancho Gonzalez? Answer is because Gonzalez couldn't play the majors for years. However even Rosewall's superior record on clay is very debatable because we are looking at the whole of the clay court career. Ask yourself this, how would Laver have done from 1963 to 1967 if the French Pro was on clay without Rosewall around? Is it reasonable to believe he would have won two, three or four at his peak? I think so. Let’s say he won merely two French Pros on clay. That would give him three French Pro titles, two Italians titles, two French championships, more tournaments won on clay than Rosewall and a probable better head to head on clay matches. That’s more than enough for me to believe his record and his level of play was superior on clay to Rosewall.
Gonzalez did win a lot of clay court tournaments in his career including two consecutive US Claycourts with one of them over Frank Parker, a French Champion in the finals and the Geneva Gold over Rosewall 8-6 6-0. He did have an excellent game for clay.
But I agree that you cannot have just one match for a peak level because otherwise you'll have guys like Leconte or Soderling being mentioned. It should be at least one year, preferably more. Although I do wonder if Soderling would have been able to do much against Nadal in 2008 in the French Open final even playing at top level.
My subjective viewpoint for top levels on red clay for just one match for non all time greats would be Leconte, Soderling, Mecir.
Hard to compare Clay courters w/ today's spin gala and modern racquets. Borg, Vilas, Wilander, Guga....old school; today Nadal !
Separate names with a comma.