Did Connors in fact win tournaments on Red Clay?

Drob

Hall of Fame
Bretton Woods, North Conway and River Oaks were the only red clay tournaments played in the 70s in the USA.
1976 final (Connors vs. Ramirez) was played indoor on carpet though.

Whoops. Did not see you. Well, when was the national clay title switched to non-clay?
 

Drob

Hall of Fame
Boston US pro also had red color in the mid 1970s, if i remember it right. I don't know, if it was har tru or European clay. Real red clay had the Houston River Oaks tournament.

It can be red but synthetic here in USA anyway. There is a club at a resort Hilton about an hour from Austin that is a synthetic red clay, not Har-Tru.
 

Drob

Hall of Fame
In contrast to Indianapolis, Connors calls 1975 US Open “Har-Tru clay.” Kindle p. 229
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
South Orange was on red clay? Not what I remember seeing. I remember har tru. I mean when the surface there was clay.

I didn't think it was any secret that North Conway was red clay and that Connors won on it. The detractors would say that it isn't the same as the red clay in Europe and South America, and from what I've heard it's not.

The most common criticism I've seen leveled is that he never won on European red clay. And as I've said for years he didn't play that many of them. Relatively speaking. In his prime, he often skpped their tour and even after she started playing the French again, he played at most 3 of them. And that was only 1 year. There were multiple years where he just played the French. 81 was the year that he played 3 and made the finals in rained out Monte Carlo and the German where he lost.

I've said this before. We know his US har tru titles. Then the question becomes just how huge the difference is between that and the red clay. US Open was played on har tru for 3 years. Who made the quarters on those 3 years? Checks the names. When most of the US summer circuit was on har tru, who is contending for and winning these titles? Check the names. Do you see Ashe, Stockton and Gottfried winning these titles? The players winning are mostly guys who would win on red clay.

Relying on memory regarding S. Orange on red clay...maybe it was Har-Tru.....perhaps I'll drive over and see! I suppose the only way some people will be satisfied is if the red clay was dug up from Europe and moved to the US. If you look at the QF thru Finals during those 3 years of the USO, it's obvious tipped in favor of the European clay players, as you point out. That was one of the criticisms here in the US, actually (why install a surface that works against US players?). But, it's still clay, any way you cut it....even if it is a bit faster than the red stuff. To claim otherwise or somehow use that to devalue Connors wins on Har-Tru is a bit silly. But, when it was hot and dry in Paris, seemed to me that the surface there played much faster, more like the green stuff under those conditions. Again, all visual observations here.
 

Drob

Hall of Fame
And Connors played 11 RG from 1979-on (plus 1972-73), not “3 times”. He tried hard to win it.
 

WCT

Professional
Relying on memory regarding S. Orange on red clay...maybe it was Har-Tru.....perhaps I'll drive over and see! I suppose the only way some people will be satisfied is if the red clay was dug up from Europe and moved to the US. If you look at the QF thru Finals during those 3 years of the USO, it's obvious tipped in favor of the European clay players, as you point out. That was one of the criticisms here in the US, actually (why install a surface that works against US players?). But, it's still clay, any way you cut it....even if it is a bit faster than the red stuff. To claim otherwise or somehow use that to devalue Connors wins on Har-Tru is a bit silly. But, when it was hot and dry in Paris, seemed to me that the surface there played much faster, more like the green stuff under those conditions. Again, all visual observations here.

I've never been to the tournament site. Perhaps they have red clay there somewhere, but the multiple finals I saw on PBS in thelate 70s and early 80s were definitely green clay. I've been saying har tru because when I see green clay in the US, that is what I think of. The tournament was originally on grass, btw, and switched to clay in the mid 70s. I can specifically remember seeing Clerc beat Mcenroe badly in one final.

From the mid 70s, when I started watching, Indy was green clay. I don't remember those Connors passages, but I think it's just a case of one har tru court playing faster or slower than another. All hard courts don't play the same speed. All indoor supreme courts didn't play the same speed. But I believe that Indy and US Open 75-77 were played on essentially the same surface.

I never claimed that har tru is the same as red clay. My claim is that plays close enough to it that the same type of players were winning on it as were winning on the red clay. S/V players are generally not winning on it or going deep in the majors. Obviously, there were exceptions. John Alexander, Gerulaitis, Pecci, but they had success on both. It's not like they only did well on har tru. Bottom line, I believe that with the amount of titles Connors had on har tru, that he certainly would have won at least some titles on red clay if he played their circuit regularly. And I think he could have possibly pulled off a French if he hadn't skipped it those 5 years. I said possibly. I wouldn't have called him the favorite. Wouldn't have called him a longshot either.

Is the 11 instead of 3 French Opens referring to me? I never said he only played there 3 times. I said, in his prime, the most Europeon red clay tournaments he played was . 2 warmups and the French. Most years it was 1 or none.

Again, in his prime. He played several early on, 72 and 73. In 89, he played 4 or 5 red clay tournaments leading up to the French. Did very poorly in all of them. At the time, I remember wondering what he was doing. At 36 you decide to play the entire spring circuit?

Anyway, my point stands. In his prime years, when he was having all this har tru success, when he'd be the most likely to win on red clay, he wasn't playing much on it.
I did forget about Houston,though. He played there at least once or twice. Panatta beat him there one year. Maybe 1977 and maybe in the first round.
 

NoMercy

Hall of Fame
I've never been to the tournament site. Perhaps they have red clay there somewhere, but the multiple finals I saw on PBS in thelate 70s and early 80s were definitely green clay. I've been saying har tru because when I see green clay in the US, that is what I think of. The tournament was originally on grass, btw, and switched to clay in the mid 70s. I can specifically remember seeing Clerc beat Mcenroe badly in one final.

From the mid 70s, when I started watching, Indy was green clay. I don't remember those Connors passages, but I think it's just a case of one har tru court playing faster or slower than another. All hard courts don't play the same speed. All indoor supreme courts didn't play the same speed. But I believe that Indy and US Open 75-77 were played on essentially the same surface.

I never claimed that har tru is the same as red clay. My claim is that plays close enough to it that the same type of players were winning on it as were winning on the red clay. S/V players are generally not winning on it or going deep in the majors. Obviously, there were exceptions. John Alexander, Gerulaitis, Pecci, but they had success on both. It's not like they only did well on har tru. Bottom line, I believe that with the amount of titles Connors had on har tru, that he certainly would have won at least some titles on red clay if he played their circuit regularly. And I think he could have possibly pulled off a French if he hadn't skipped it those 5 years. I said possibly. I wouldn't have called him the favorite. Wouldn't have called him a longshot either.

Is the 11 instead of 3 French Opens referring to me? I never said he only played there 3 times. I said, in his prime, the most Europeon red clay tournaments he played was . 2 warmups and the French. Most years it was 1 or none.

Again, in his prime. He played several early on, 72 and 73. In 89, he played 4 or 5 red clay tournaments leading up to the French. Did very poorly in all of them. At the time, I remember wondering what he was doing. At 36 you decide to play the entire spring circuit?

Anyway, my point stands. In his prime years, when he was having all this har tru success, when he'd be the most likely to win on red clay, he wasn't playing much on it.
I did forget about Houston,though. He played there at least once or twice. Panatta beat him there one year. Maybe 1977 and maybe in the first round.
Connors played in Houston 4 years : 1976-1977-1994-1995.
In 1976 he withdrew before plying though, but he was in the draw.
 
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jrepac

Hall of Fame
Re: S. Orange, quite the storied history. Grass originally, but looks like it shifted to clay, apparently Har-Tru based on the photo of Mac & Fleming
 

WCT

Professional
Connors played in Houston 4 years : 1976-1977-1994-1995.
In 1976 he withdrew before plying though, but he was in the draw.

Was it an ATP tournament in 94 and 95? I know most of Connors career damn well, but those last couple years, I sometimes forget that he played a couple ATP tournaments those last couple years. Houston doesn't ring a bell. I definitely remember Atlanta and Halle. Those years I think more of his matches on his tour with the older players.
 

WCT

Professional
misunderstood you. Sorry


Well, looking back, I see that I certainly could have phrased it more clearly. In any case, I sure knew he played the French a lot. Relative lack of success there notwithstanding, I have seen/heard Connors speak about how much he enjoyed playing in Paris.

About that South Orange tournament. That may have been just a New Jersey PBS production. I believe Gene Scott did the color and I always thought he was excellent at it. If memory serves, he was also the tournament director.
 

NoMercy

Hall of Fame
Was it an ATP tournament in 94 and 95? I know most of Connors career damn well, but those last couple years, I sometimes forget that he played a couple ATP tournaments those last couple years. Houston doesn't ring a bell. I definitely remember Atlanta and Halle. Those years I think more of his matches on his tour with the older players.
No it was not.
It was an unofficial tournament from 1985.
Even Federer played it.
 

elegos7

Rookie
Bretton Woods, North Conway and River Oaks were the only red clay tournaments played in the 70s in the USA.
1976 final (Connors vs. Ramirez) was played indoor on carpet though.

Was River Oaks always on red clay, already in the 1930?

I do not know what kind of clay was used at the US Clay Court Championships in its first decades, but one of its venues, the Woodstock Country Club in Indianapolis already had tournaments on Har-Tru by 1950 (probably earlier as well). The Town Club in Milwaukee also used Har-Tru in the 1960s.
Har-Tru was already used in the Philadelphia Country Club for a Davis Cup tie in 1932, but I do not know how fast it spread out to become the dominant clay surface in the US in the 1960s.
 

NoMercy

Hall of Fame
Was River Oaks always on red clay, already in the 1930?

I do not know what kind of clay was used at the US Clay Court Championships in its first decades, but one of its venues, the Woodstock Country Club in Indianapolis already had tournaments on Har-Tru by 1950 (probably earlier as well). The Town Club in Milwaukee also used Har-Tru in the 1960s.
Har-Tru was already used in the Philadelphia Country Club for a Davis Cup tie in 1932, but I do not know how fast it spread out to become the dominant clay surface in the US in the 1960s.
River Oaks always red clay.
And I would say that from the 30s, almost every clay court was har-tru in the States.
Again, I should double check every venues to be 100% sure, but it’s probably a waste of time.
Both Chicago venues were on har tru too.
 

elegos7

Rookie
River Oaks always red clay.
And I would say that from the 30s, almost every clay court was har-tru in the States.
Again, I should double check every venues to be 100% sure, but it’s probably a waste of time.
Both Chicago venues were on har tru too.

Thanks for the clarification. It could mean River Oaks was the only significant event on red clay in the US before the 1970s.
Maybe some of the events on the Florida clay court season (e.g. Dixie at Tampa) was also on red clay?
 
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NoMercy

Hall of Fame
Thanks for the clarification. It could mean River Oaks was the only significant event on red clay in the US before the 1970s.
Maybe some of the events on the Florida clay court season (e.g. Dixie at Tampa) was also on red clay?
It’s possible.
Even if before the red clay, still Americans were playing on clay. American clay.
 

hoodjem

G.O.A.T.
Well, the courts at North Conway are/were clearly red. Unless, there was such a thing as red Har Tru?
I know the tournament here in S. Orange, NJ was on red clay (way, way back!)
So, it does exist in the US :)
Thanks. (y) Good to know.
I have seen a few red clay courts in my time in the US, but not many.
 

martinezownsclay

Hall of Fame
Funny I was just asking this on another thread. So maybe Connors did win some red clay tournaments?

That would put his hypothetical chances at the 1974 French Open, and to a much lesser extent 1975 and 1976, into a whole new perspective.
 
Jimmy Comoros was a tough matchup no matter the surface. Great info on those matches. Great examples of unofficial matches played by the top players during those years which helped bring tennis into a golden era. Could those courts have been perhaps a bit faster than European red clay yet not as fast as a rubico (green clay) court?
 

WCT

Professional
Funny I was just asking this on another thread. So maybe Connors did win some red clay tournaments?

That would put his hypothetical chances at the 1974 French Open, and to a much lesser extent 1975 and 1976, into a whole new perspective.

American red clay, yes. North Conway 3 times. In Europe and South America he never won any, but he played comparatively few tournaments on it. At least in his prime. It's not like he was playing the spring circuit in Europe every year and never won. Starting in 79, he'd play the French every year, but that was the only one he played every year. The only one he played close to every year. He had a whole lot of success on american clay, where he played more of the circuit, in some of those years.
 
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