Fact: Sampras has beaten better credentialled clay courters more times than Federer

The Blond Blur

G.O.A.T.
The strength of the 90’s Clay field is one of the biggest exaggerations on here. People act like the 90’s Clay players were all peaking at the exact same time when that wasn’t the case. So it wasn’t like the winners each year were having to go through a gauntlet of 90’s Clay players. You’d have 1 maybe 2 90’s Clay players playing peak/prime level tennis e.g. Bruguera vs Courier in 93. But for the most part it was 1 90’s Clay player peaking for a year only to fade into obscurity. Just like the poster 90’s Clay.
 

Holmes

Hall of Fame
Makes me nostalgic for the mid/late 2000s when the entire 90s field was deified around here.

Never again would an ATG see competition as strong as Courier or Ivaniesevic.
Rather it would climb to the stratospheric heights of Roddick and Hewitt. And Nadal on grass.
 

Sipho

Rookie
SAMPRAS_LEJOUROU_TENNISMAJORS.jpg


Pete did make a FO semi in a very strong era of clay court tennis. I like Nadal but he really had an easier time from the 1st to 4th rounds to make his French finals.
Oh, a Pete Sampras thread...

Yeah, as mentioned, he beat two-time champion Bruguera and two-time champion Courier.



And he won Rome in '94.


Granted, it was against Becker. But hey, a clay court win is a clay court win. And this is when there was a difference in the surfaces, unlike today.

It was so much fun watching Sampras play on clay.
 

Olli Jokinen

Hall of Fame
Oh, a Pete Sampras thread...

Yeah, as mentioned, he beat two-time champion Bruguera and two-time champion Courier.



And he won Rome in '94.


Granted, it was against Becker. But hey, a clay court win is a clay court win. And this is when there was a difference in the surfaces, unlike today.

It was so much fun watching Sampras play on clay.
Still, Sampras wouldn't be able to beat any version of Federer on any kind of clay.
 

Sipho

Rookie
Still, Sampras wouldn't be able to beat any version of Federer on any kind of clay.
Well...

Give me 1996 Sampras on clay against any Federer on clay.

I'm like Vince Spadea, I ain't afraid of ya.

Federer might get him, but I'm not afraid of him. It's going to be at least four sets. And if Isner can take Nadal to five... let's let them play and see what happens.

And Djokovic can come and get some too. Let's see what happens. :giggle:
 

Olli Jokinen

Hall of Fame
Well...

Give me 1996 Sampras on clay against any Federer on clay.

I'm like Vince Spadea, I ain't afraid of ya.

Federer might get him, but I'm not afraid of him. It's going to be at least four sets. And if Isner can take Nadal to five... let's let them play and see what happens.

And Djokovic can come and get some too. Let's see what happens. :giggle:
He might have a chance against 1999 Federer. But you shouldn't get you hopes up.
 

RS

Bionic Poster
The strength of the 90’s Clay field is one of the biggest exaggerations on here. People act like the 90’s Clay players were all peaking at the exact same time when that wasn’t the case. So it wasn’t like the winners each year were having to go through a gauntlet of 90’s Clay players. You’d have 1 maybe 2 90’s Clay players playing peak/prime level tennis e.g. Bruguera vs Courier in 93. But for the most part it was 1 90’s Clay player peaking for a year only to fade into obscurity. Just like the poster 90’s Clay.
Not just the 90s but also the early 00s. Since people think Kuerten and Ferrero are taking RG's of prime Nadal at RG which isn't happening.
 
Sampras getting underrated on clay as usual. I get that Fed is overall the better clay-courter, but to assume Pete would never win or go 0-10 in a ten matches series is absurd (was not claimed in this thread but on other threads on that topic). Pete beat Muster, Bruguera, Kafelnikov, Courier, Agassi on clay and for none of them he needed even 5 attempts, Fed himself is a good but not elite clay courter and Pete would also perform better with modern equipment. A ten match series between them would maybe go 8-2, but way more likely 7-3 for Fed (even 6-4 not completely impossible) but never 10-0. It is in general pretty naive to think that between ATGs/GOAT candidates any match-up on ANY surface would go 10-0 (maybe with the possible exception of Nadal on clay).
 

Sipho

Rookie
He might have a chance against 1999 Federer. But you shouldn't get you hopes up.
Yeah, it's not a matter of hope. No, I sincerely believe that he could beat him. If they played five times on clay, Sampras is beating him once, if not twice.

And if I can pick my weather conditions in this hypothetical: hot and dry (in the springtime in Paris), then I give the edge to Sampras. :giggle:

Did you see how he was serving against Courier?


I don't care what year it is, what surface you're playing on, and what racquet and what you strings you have... You're not doing anything against that serve, you're just walking to the other side to start the next point.

And we're talking two of the greatest tennis players ever. It's not a matter of having a chance. That's crazy. Federer was good, but he's no god. And anybody can be gotten to when they're up against a big serve.

And usually I'm a "the latest is the greatest" kind of person, but not with everything. Sometimes it's "this is good, but that other thing was pretty damn good too." And this is one of those instances.
 

Olli Jokinen

Hall of Fame
Yeah, it's not a matter of hope. No, I sincerely believe that he could beat him. If they played five times on clay, Sampras is beating him once, if not twice.

And if I can pick my weather conditions in this hypothetical: hot and dry (in the springtime in Paris), then I give the edge to Sampras. :giggle:

Did you see how he was serving against Courier?


I don't care what year it is, what surface you're playing on, and what racquet and what you strings you have... You're not doing anything against that serve, you're just walking to the other side to start the next point.

And we're talking two of the greatest tennis players ever. It's not a matter of having a chance. That's crazy. Federer was good, but he's no god. And anybody can be gotten to when they're up against a big serve.

And usually I'm a "the latest is the greatest" kind of person, but not with everything. Sometimes it's "this is good, but that other thing was pretty damn good too." And this is one of those instances.
I really don't think he would beat him on clay. Federer's return game is superior to Courier's. So are all his other shots, and Courier was in serious decline in 1996.
But ok, Dan Evans did beat Djokovic in Monte Carlo. But in a Masters Final or at RG? No way.
 
Totally. He actually got to the final.
Fed is not an ATG on clay and Pete is not the mug TTW experts think he is. Again, over ten matches I see something like 7-3 for Fed. Pete has passable H2H records on clay gains Courier, Bruguera, Muster, Kafelnikov, Agassi non of which a substantially weaker clay courter than Fed, actually Courier and Bruguera even better.
 

Olli Jokinen

Hall of Fame
Fed is not an ATG on clay and Pete is not the mug TTW experts think he is. Again, over ten matches I see something like 7-3 for Fed. Pete has passable H2H records on clay gains Courier, Bruguera, Muster, Kafelnikov, Agassi non of which a substantially weaker clay courter than Fed, actually Courier and Bruguera even better.
None of those guys made 5 RG finals. And I cannot see how Courier would beat Fed on clay (or anywhere else), none of his shots are superior. Another thing is, that Sampras beat an over-the-hill Courier – and even lost to him a couple of times on clay.
 
None of those guys made 5 RG finals. And I cannot see how Courier would beat Fed on clay (or anywhere else), none of his shots are superior. Another thing is, that Sampras beat an over-the-hill Courier – and even lost to him a couple of times on clay.
We are not talking about peak vs peak all the time, but whether Pete could score ANY win against Fed in let's say 5 or 10 matches. There would be instances where Pete gets a bad playing Fed and where he will beat him. On top, Pete on clay raised his level against stronger opponents, don't let his showings against Schaller or Delgado cloud your view.
 

martinezownsclay

Hall of Fame
None of those guys made 5 RG finals. And I cannot see how Courier would beat Fed on clay (or anywhere else), none of his shots are superior.

None of his shots being superior in general really is meaningless to why Courier would have no chance vs Federer on clay. You could strongly argue none of Nadal's shots (forehand, backhand, return of serve, arguably not a single one of better; volleys, serve, overhead, way worse of course) are in general better than Federer, and obviously even peak Federer still has next to no shot vs Nadal on clay.
 

martinezownsclay

Hall of Fame
Sampras getting underrated on clay as usual. I get that Fed is overall the better clay-courter, but to assume Pete would never win or go 0-10 in a ten matches series is absurd (was not claimed in this thread but on other threads on that topic). Pete beat Muster, Bruguera, Kafelnikov, Courier, Agassi on clay and for none of them he needed even 5 attempts, Fed himself is a good but not elite clay courter and Pete would also perform better with modern equipment. A ten match series between them would maybe go 8-2, but way more likely 7-3 for Fed (even 6-4 not completely impossible) but never 10-0. It is in general pretty naive to think that between ATGs/GOAT candidates any match-up on ANY surface would go 10-0 (maybe with the possible exception of Nadal on clay).

I think some here are underrating Sampras on clay, but I think you might be overrating him some. I do not see him going 3-7 vs Federer on clay in a series of 10 matches at all. That is about what I might expect him to go vs Agassi in a series of 10 matches on clay (at best) and I would certainly expect him to do worse vs Federer than Agassi. Both because he would not be Federer's kryptonite with a match up/mental edge in general vs Federer like vs Agassi, and that Federer is a notch better clay courter than Agassi (along with much more consistent on the surface) than Agassi as well. I do not think Sampras would go 3-7 vs Federer in a series of 10 matches at all, although I do think he would probably win atleast once.

People mention his wins over Bruguera and Courier on clay, but being real here this was both guys at their worst and some inspired play by him for him to barely get those only wins over both; particularly Brugeura who was something like 5-5 on clay for the year. Without those things coinciding perfectly it is very possible he could play both those guys many more times on clay than he did, and still not get a win. His most impressive win on clay was his straight sets win over Kafelnikov in Davis Cup. I agree Sampras is definitely not some mug on clay, and is capable of some quality tennis on clay, but I don't think he is as capable over a series of matches as you seem to think either IMO.
 

a10best

Hall of Fame
Not just the 90s but also the early 00s. Since people think Kuerten and Ferrero are taking RG's of prime Nadal at RG which isn't happening.
They don't need to take Nadal. But they will drain him getting to the final.
Rafa gets there so easy with no real threat for years until the semis & maybe a couple of qtr final matches. When you have to battle hard for 4 matches in a row to win the final, your chances are reduced or you get injured like he did at AO.
 
I think some here are underrating Sampras on clay, but I think you might be overrating him some. I do not see him going 3-7 vs Federer on clay in a series of 10 matches at all. That is about what I might expect him to go vs Agassi in a series of 10 matches on clay (at best) and I would certainly expect him to do worse vs Federer than Agassi. Both because he would not be Federer's kryptonite with a match up/mental edge in general vs Federer like vs Agassi, and that Federer is a notch better clay courter than Agassi (along with much more consistent on the surface) than Agassi as well. I do not think Sampras would go 3-7 vs Federer in a series of 10 matches at all, although I do think he would probably win atleast once.

People mention his wins over Bruguera and Courier on clay, but being real here this was both guys at their worst and some inspired play by him for him to barely get those only wins over both; particularly Brugeura who was something like 5-5 on clay for the year. Without those things coinciding perfectly it is very possible he could play both those guys many more times on clay than he did, and still not get a win. His most impressive win on clay was his straight sets win over Kafelnikov in Davis Cup. I agree Sampras is definitely not some mug on clay, and is capable of some quality tennis on clay, but I don't think he is as capable over a series of matches as you seem to think either IMO.
Well he was 2-3 against Agassi which (of course simplistic approach) if you assume consistency would translate into 6-4 over ten matches. Given that Fed enjoys a better matchup against Pete than Andre (not being necessarily a substantially better clay courter in general) a 7-3 would be realistic imho but as I said, can also see 8-2. Those ten match series are to some extent tough to estimate as they highly depend on which version shows up at which time. Anywho, as I said, against the good/great clay courters of his time, Pete has very solid H2Hs. They might not have been as consistent as Fed, but a 10-0 or 9-1 I would completely rule out. Fed was not a clay giant himself and Pete would be better on 00s clay than in the 90s.
 

martinezownsclay

Hall of Fame
Well he was 2-3 against Agassi which (of course simplistic approach) if you assume consistency would translate into 6-4 over ten matches. Given that Fed enjoys a better matchup against Pete than Andre (not being necessarily a substantially better clay courter in general) a 7-3 would be realistic imho but as I said, can also see 8-2. Those ten match series are to some extent tough to estimate as they highly depend on which version shows up at which time. Anywho, as I said, against the good/great clay courters of his time, Pete has very solid H2Hs. They might not have been as consistent as Fed, but a 10-0 or 9-1 I would completely rule out. Fed was not a clay giant himself and Pete would be better on 00s clay than in the 90s.

I think when you factor in consistency Federer is a far better clay courter than Agassi. Even if it was in a clay field with almost no depth (which I agree it was) Federer would barely lose a match on clay to people outside of Nadal and Djokovic.

I agree Federer wouldn't go 10-0 vs Sampras on clay in a 10 match series, but while not making an absolute prediction or choice, 9-1 wouldn't be out of the question for me at all. JMO In fact I am almost sure it would be either 9-1 or 8-2 if forced on the spot, I don't see 7-3 likely at all. And a Sampras vs Federer match up is different than Sampras vs Bruguera (btw I think in a series of 10 matches Sampras would do horribly vs Bruguera, his win at RG 96 in 5 sets was like the perfect storm of an inspired Sampras and one of the worst ever versions of Bruguera IMO) in that it is not a fast court great/all around great facing a true clay courter, and able to use their wider general skill set to give them a punchers chance. Against Federer it is another fast court great/all around great with a complete game, but who also happens to be a far superior clay courter to boot.
 

mental midget

Hall of Fame
the whole 'clay specialist' thing is silly. they weren't any better than today's best. the difference is, everyone plays that style now thanks to court/tech changes. for me the 'specialists' were just the ones who sucked on faster surfaces...the better players (bruguera, kuerten, jcf) were fine players on hc as well.
 

martinezownsclay

Hall of Fame
the whole 'clay specialist' thing is silly. they weren't any better than today's best. the difference is, everyone plays that style now thanks to court/tech changes. for me the 'specialists' were just the ones who sucked on faster surfaces...the better players (bruguera, kuerten, jcf) were fine players on hc as well.

I agree with this largely as well. The truly greatest clay courters are almost always ones whose best surface is clearly clay, but are formidable on other surfaces too due to their skill. Think of Nadal, Borg, Lendl, Wilander, Federer, even Kuerten (YEC and winner of multiple hard court Masters), Courier, Vilas, this all applies too. The true "specialists" are usually people who just stand out so much since they don't have the all around skills in their game to excel on anything but clay, and they usually aren't even that truly great even on clay.
 
the whole 'clay specialist' thing is silly. they weren't any better than today's best. the difference is, everyone plays that style now thanks to court/tech changes. for me the 'specialists' were just the ones who sucked on faster surfaces...the better players (bruguera, kuerten, jcf) were fine players on hc as well.
Bruguera a fine player on hc?? He has a 55% winning rate and only one tournament win there. Bruguera is the epitome of a clay specialist. Winning two slams at RG but never reaching a quarter at any other slam.
 
I think when you factor in consistency Federer is a far better clay courter than Agassi. Even if it was in a clay field with almost no depth (which I agree it was) Federer would barely lose a match on clay to people outside of Nadal and Djokovic.

I agree Federer wouldn't go 10-0 vs Sampras on clay in a 10 match series, but while not making an absolute prediction or choice, 9-1 wouldn't be out of the question for me at all. JMO In fact I am almost sure it would be either 9-1 or 8-2 if forced on the spot, I don't see 7-3 likely at all. And a Sampras vs Federer match up is different than Sampras vs Bruguera (btw I think in a series of 10 matches Sampras would do horribly vs Bruguera, his win at RG 96 in 5 sets was like the perfect storm of an inspired Sampras and one of the worst ever versions of Bruguera IMO) in that it is not a fast court great/all around great facing a true clay courter, and able to use their wider general skill set to give them a punchers chance. Against Federer it is another fast court great/all around great with a complete game, but who also happens to be a far superior clay courter to boot.
I mean it is hairsplitting anyways, but 9-1 stretches it imho while 8-2 I see in the realm of possibility. It will also largely depend on whether they are the same age (in which case Pete's chances of getting a bad version of Fed while being at his best himself decrease), or with a big gap such that one or the other will enjoy a prime vs preprime/post-prime advantage. Agassi is also a great fast court/all around great (not on the same level as Fed ofc but still) who is also a far superior clay player to Pete on paper and nevertheless he is only 3-2 and Pete did not beat him in 1997 but in MC 98 (a year where Agassi was on the rise and went 2-1 vs Pete) and in 2002, when he had not won a tournament for two years while Agassi had won his only clay masters in his career at Rome that year. The H2Hs against Bruguera, Courier, Kafelnikov and Muster are ofc a very small sample size, but all in all I do think Pete raised his level against great players, even on clay. He was just too much of an alpha-dog to let a direct rival go 10-0 or 9-1 against him.

Anywho, the initial point was that the other poster stated Pete would NEVER win a match against Fed, which i absolutely object. Whether it will be 7-3, 8-2 or even 9-1 is debatable.
 

Pheasant

Legend
I think that Pete could servebot his way to a couple of wins over Fed. I think that Fed would take him apart the first few times they met on clay. After that, pete would hit bombs on every one of his 2nd serves to squeeze out a couple of solid wins. I'll toss in another win for Pete when Fed blows match points in another match.

I'm taking Fed 7-3 over Pete on clay.
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
Sampras getting underrated on clay as usual. I get that Fed is overall the better clay-courter, but to assume Pete would never win or go 0-10 in a ten matches series is absurd (was not claimed in this thread but on other threads on that topic). Pete beat Muster, Bruguera, Kafelnikov, Courier, Agassi on clay and for none of them he needed even 5 attempts, Fed himself is a good but not elite clay courter and Pete would also perform better with modern equipment. A ten match series between them would maybe go 8-2, but way more likely 7-3 for Fed (even 6-4 not completely impossible) but never 10-0. It is in general pretty naive to think that between ATGs/GOAT candidates any match-up on ANY surface would go 10-0 (maybe with the possible exception of Nadal on clay).

8-2 or 9-1 fed, especially with some matches in Bo5.
6-4 is even more impossible than 10-0.
Federer more consistent than any of the 90s CCers.

If Federer isn't Elite on clay, then we only have Borg/Nadal and maybe lendl as Elite on clay.

Kuerten peak level higher, but not consistency.
Wilander had the consistency, but peak level vs fed debatable.
 

martinezownsclay

Hall of Fame
8-2 or 9-1 fed, especially with some matches in Bo5.
6-4 is even more impossible than 10-0.
Federer more consistent than any of the 90s CCers.

If Federer isn't Elite on clay, then we only have Borg/Nadal and maybe lendl as Elite on clay.

Kuerten peak level higher, but not consistency.
Wilander had the consistency, but peak level vs fed debatable.

That is what I think too. As someone that followed Sampras's career closely for years as well, I just can't get behind the idea of Sampras going 3-7, let alone 4-6 vs Federer on clay ever. Even if you had a hypothetical of a series of peak performances by both, I doubt he does that well, and that is before considering Sampras's extreme inconsistency on clay throughout his career vs Federer's nearly impeccable consistency on clay for about 8 years, which obviously is a big factor in a 10 match hypothetical series too.

I guess the only argument for that would be Sampras struggled to reach really deep in clay events unless he was really playing his A or even A+ game, any other time he is taken out well before a semi final or final (rounds he rarely reached even in clay Masters as it was) which would probably improve his chances of a competitive H2H but still not enough.
 
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