Connors' strong clay court record

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by sandy mayer, Oct 4, 2006.

  1. sandy mayer

    sandy mayer Rookie

    May 16, 2005
    Connors was often talked about as poor on clay, but his record on this surface is far more impressive than many people realise. He won 11 tournaments on clay and most impressively, he got to the final of the US Open in all of the 3 years it was played on clay, 1975-77, even winning in 1976 against the clay court maestro Borg. People say the green clay at the US Open isn't really clay, but it clearly favoured the clay-court specialist. Orantes won it in 75 and Vilas in 77. Connors was the only player whose best surface wasn't clay who got to the final of the US in 1975-77.
    Connors' French Open record was pretty good, he got to 4 semis and 4 quarterfinals. By his standards this wasn't brilliant but it's a good record and all the more when you think Connors didn't play the French in his best years: 1974-78.

    In 1974-75 when Borg won the French, Connors owned Borg in this period. There's a good possibility Connors would have won a French if he'd competed in those years. In 76 Connors was the no.1 in the world and the player who won the French was Panatta, a fine player, but I think Connors would have had a good chance of beating him at Paris. I'm not saying Connors would have won a French 1974-78 if he'd played, just that he might have and I'm sure he would have reached a final.

    The 4 quarters and semis 1979 onwards makes Connors' French Open record superior to several other multi-grand slam champions of the open era who like Connors preferred fast surfaces: Becker, Sampras and even McEnroe and Edberg. The latter two may have reached the final of the French but they lacked the consistency of Connors' record.

    Another observation I made is that when Connors did play the French, he didn't really prepare properly by playing the European clay-court season: 1981 he played Hamburg and Monte Carlo and got to the finals of both (the Monte Carlo final was rained off) but post-1979 Connors didn't play more than 2 European clay tournaments before Roland Garros until 1989 when he was 36 and no longer a realistic contender for the French. Connors often played 1 or no warm-up tournaments before preparing for the French. Considering how little preparation he put in, Connors' record at the French looks even better.
  2. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

    Dec 27, 2005
    Connors was a great all surface player, more so than Mac.

    He won more matches at the French than any other player that didn't win the French.
  3. armand

    armand Banned

    Jul 12, 2005
    RDS001 90: SPPP 1.18 @ 63/61
    That sounds like an answer to a trivia question no one asked[at least not in this thread anyhow]!

    Anyway, since Connors was so good on clay, I can't wait to see how Roddick's gonna do at the French next year!
  4. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

    Apr 22, 2005
    I saw Connors once, i think in 1981, lose a Hamburg final to the Australian clay specialist Peter McNamara. It was significant, because on deep, rain soaked clay Connors was constantly sliced to his forehand, netted often and could not generate enough power. His flat style wasn't ideal for the European clay - a bit like Sampras.
  5. breakfast_of_champions

    breakfast_of_champions Banned

    Sep 8, 2005
    connors cared about the us open. that was about it. from what i remembered he moved very well on clay, which is the key to playing on clay. and got win over borg on the clay at the us open., so he'd of had a good shot a winning the french.

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