You jokers have no clue what it means to play the "best" tennis on clay, or on anything really. It's amazing how many times this truism must be pointed out, but: you don't win RG by hitting the most winners or not letting the opponent play in the 1st place a la Pistol. Otherwise the highest "peak" even on dirt would be unreachable except by bots like Goran and Krajicek whose 1-2 punch can make 'em virtually untouchable for long stretches. In fact that's how Verkerk
of all people stomped his way to the final at '03 RG, by playing arguably the best attacking tennis ever seen on terre battue (according to Moose) with a still record 124 aces for the tourney, but we know what happened at the last hurdle.
Now losing to Ferrero
at RG is no shame, but barely making him sweat is not what you would or should expect from supposedly the best attacker on clay. Does that mean Verkerk's first and last hurrah is nothing to write home about, unlike Soderling's own celebrated runs where he at least dispatched Rafa and Fed in an impressive fashion? Not necessarily, because that alone doesn't prove that he didn't play some of the best attacking tennis ever at RG. But it does reinforce the key insight y'all fail to grasp: how high a peak one can reach matters less than how often he can reach it, which is especially true on clay that rewards consistency and patience more than anything else.
That's why Fed
and to a lesser extent Novak
- all the FO champs/finalists in the Nadal era who more or less play the same HC game on clay - never came close to equaling the statistical CC dominance of peak Lendl, Courier
, let alone Borg
and Rafa who boast by far the highest %s of GW at RG
(or any other major, for that matter) in the OE. For the multi-champs admission to the 60% Club
was almost automatic while the former posse sans Nole have barely made it if at all, and no doubt this has a lot to do with the difference in the two cohorts' margin for error.
Of course mere consistency ain't enough and you still need a minimal level of firepower - which is why the likes of Volandri, Fognini, Goffin and Schwartzman were never serious contenders to begin with despite their strong return game, and also why Coria, Ferrer
and even Muster and Djoko for all their gaudy stats were prone to upsets or unable to threaten the favorite (guess who) at RG a la the '03 SF, '96 4R, '12 SF/'13 F and '11 SF because they lacked a fail-safe weapon on par with the Lendl/Courier/Bruguera/Kuerten/Borg/Nadal FH, the Guga BH (Muster's and Djoko's groundies, while rock solid, aren't quite as punishingly heavy, though Thomas probably generates more spin on average) or Wilander's genius IQ, chameleonic adaptability and seemingly bottomless shot tolerance. Put another way, have the multi-FOers play those matches instead and chances are they survive the assault or at least make Rafa work a whole lot more.
All of which is a long way of saying, to compare Bjorn frigging' Borg with Fed or any other one-timer is downright comical (yes I understand that was likely the OP's intention). So is touting Soderling as peaking higher than Fed, Novak, Muster or almost any other non-flukey one-FOer. That kind of "peak" is not what wins you RG, and Sod's and other pretenders' records in the finals should give you pause re: such nonsense.
One more thing:
Yes his 1978 RG campaign was ridiculously good. And his achievement to crush Vilas in the RG final for the loss of only 5 games playing as a grinder, and then 4 weeks later crush Connors in the Wimbledon final for the loss of only 7 games serve-volleying on 100% of 1st serves and playing considerably more aggressively, was insane.
And his 1980 RG campaign is arguably still statistically the 2nd most dominant RG campaign in the open era. He dropped 38 games that year while Nadal dropped 35 in 2017, but Nadal's QF opponent retired after a couple of the games in the 2nd set, and so Borg won a marginally higher % of his games in 1980 than Nadal did in 2017 (very marginal). His coach Lennart Bergelin, famously hard to please and overly pessimistic on numerous occasions, described his form at RG in 1980 as 'clay court perfection'.
He only dropped a total of 5 sets at RG from 1978-1981, which was some going.
Not "arguably," '80 Borg just edges out '17 Rafa by a hair: 76.83% (126/164) vs. 76.82% (116/151). I still think '08 was Rafa's very best, but yeah to see the lemmings putting anyone but him over Borg as the best dirtballer ever is absolutely hysterical.