Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by shawn1122, Jun 28, 2006.
I was wondering if anyone knows who the greatest female clay court specialist ever was?
Womens' tennis never had claycourt specialists the way men do. All top women/past champs have done well on all surfaces, primarily due to very little depth outside top 10. And the fact that there aren't as many clay events as in mens tennis.
Chris Evert is the best womans clay player of alltime, winning 7 FOs. But not a specialist as she did well on all surfaces. Won 125 straight matches on clay at one point.
Maybe the closest to a specialist was Conchita Martinez who won Italian Open 4 or 5 times, did very well consistently at all clay events, but not as well on grass(but even then she managed to win Wimbledon!)
Although she was not a clay specialists in the current use of the description as she played on all surfaces, Chris Evert holds the record, I believe, for clay victories and her total dwarfs the male record (now Nadal, formally Vilas). Clay or Har-Tru tournaments seemed to be more prevelent during Evert's time compared to today and this likely is one reason the female players of that time had longer careers.
Winning 125 consecutive claycourt matches makes you the best female clay court player ever. Chris Evert was not a Clay Court SPECIALIST, but she certainly kicked some serious ass on the stuff.
As for now, Henin is not a specialist on the stuff, but she is currently by far the best clay court player in the WTA.
Good thread. Now that I think about it, it's a little odd since the men have many clay court specialist.
In her time Chris Evert was a claycourt specialist. Great depth on her strokes, precise, like Seles without the power.
Specialist were also Conchita and Arantxha. Gaby with her game should be a specialist, but somehow she wasn't. Navratilova/Graf/Seles forced their style on opponents and clay, their game did well on most surfaces.
Henin now, Evert then. You cannot call someone with 7 RG titles not a clay specialist.
To be a clay court specialist, you need to:
- stand back
- spin in high, loopy shots with a low risk factor
- take no chances, hit no winners, wait for your opponent to make a mistake
The question is which women are claycourt specialists? By that definition, pretty much all of them. When the whole tour is error-prone and weaponless, hitting one more safe shot than your opponent is a winning strategy every week. That's why women's hard and grass court tennis sucks so badly most of the time.
So by your definition is Borg a clay specialist? he won 7 FOs. Evert won Wimbledon & AO titles on grass, US Open on hard. Definitely not a specialist.
there are great womens matches on grass- it forces them to be more agressive & creative. Look at last years womens final & semis. They were much better matches than the mens final & semis.
By this definition, Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario is a clay court specialist. She was a human backboard. Got everything back without much on it. And yet she still managed to defeat Graf in two grand slam finals (lost to her in 5 others though).
However, although three of her four grand slam wins came at the French, she did with the US Open once and twice reached the finals of Wimbledon and the Aussie Open.
Borg won 6 French Opens. I think the problem here is the word specialist. Many of the greatest clay court players ever were not clay court specialists. Many, like Borg and Evert, could play extremely well on other surfaces in addition to clay. Clay court specialist refers to those dirtballers who do exceedingly well on clay and exceedingly poorly on other surfaces (Gaudio, Costa, Bruguera, and half of Argentina and Spain comes to mind).
By this definition, Nadal would not be a clay specialist. Maybe you need to refine that definition a bit.
As for the women, Chrissie's record remains untouched, and unthreatened. Even by the men. Who, by the way, are capable of just as many boring matches as the women.
Current players...Henin-Hardenne, of course. Mauresmo's game seems like it would favor her on clay, but it has never panned out that way. I wish we could have seen an uninjured Petrova on the clay at the FO...she also has the 'specialist' potential. Flavia Penetta enjoys more victories on clay than other surfaces as well.
Are we defining specialist as someone who does well *only* on that surface? I don't think today's players can afford that luxury to keep their ranking up.
They were more competitive matches, but I think it's a stretch to say they were BETTER matches than the men's final. That was a classic display of tennis (one-sided, mind you, but classic nevertheless).
Uhh, has there ever been a female equivalent to Nadal?
When I said specialist, I meant loopy strokes and having most of their success on clay.
Yes. Her name is Chris Evert. Her claycourt streak is 125 matches. When/if Nadal gets there, then he will be equivalent...to a female.
Or, like Evert, he could win the French Open 7 times.
It that isn't a specialist, then I don't know what is.
See, that's the problem with the word specialist. Christ Evert did very well on other surfaces as well. She could play extremely well on surfaces that were not clay. Therefore she is not a clay court specialist. She is simply a clay court monster.
Any Spaniard or South American on the WTA can be considered a clay court specialist. One of the few things that both tours have in common.
HERBAL HEALTH SHOP
Thats' very strange logic. In no other sport would a blowout be considered better than a close/hardfought/high quality encounter. The Yankees swept the Braves & Padres in the World Series of the 90s, but lost in 7 to Arizona in '01. I can't imagine there is a baseball fan/writer on the planet who thinks a 4 game sweep is better than a hardfought 7 game series. The same would go for NBA/NFL/soccer even boxing. Yet another reason for the disconnect between tennis fans & all other sports fans.
Years from now the Davenport-Williams W Final will appear on more best matches lists by historians than the Federer-Roddick match. And it will be more likely to be repeated during rain delays by the BBC/ESPN whatever.
Why do you think Borg-McEnroe remains more famous than Mac destroying Connors at '84 Wimbledon?
Because the quality of play in the women's final was so-so, the only reason for considering it a great match at all is the fact that it went the distance. The quality of play in the men's final was far, far higher. Roddick played extremely well, and Federer played out of this world. Years from now, people won't even be talking about the Venus v Davenport match, but they'll still be saying, "Do you remember that passing shot Federer hit that curved 3 feet out away from Roddick and then bent back into the court?"
Whatever dude. There were very few errors throughout the womens match, not sure what your definition of high quality is. And there were very few breaks of serve, which isn't common in womens tennis. The standard was high from the beginning, much more so than the mens final. Check out the stats. Yes Fed played great, but Roddick isn't in his league, there was never any doubt about the result, which isn't what the appeal of sports is about, at least to me & most fans of any sport.
Roddick-Fed last year, felt like I was watching Mac destroy Chris Lewis in '83, he played a perfect match that day with the some of the most incredible drop volleys/lobs ever hit, yet no one talks about it.
The women could play a perfect, error-free match, and there would still be people who say it was 1) boring and/or 2) of lesser quality. Probably because they didn't actually watch it.
If your name is exhaustingly long, you might be a clay courter....three full names and you most likely love the dirt....
Anabel Medina Garrigues
Anna Smashnova Pistolesi
Virginia Ruano Pascual
Lourdes Dominguez Lino
Conchita Martinez Granados
Maria Sanchez Lorenzo
Arantxa Parra Santonja
Mariana Diaz Oliva
Laura Pous Tio
Maria Elena Camerin
Separate names with a comma.