How do you rate Murray on clay?

Djokovic2011

Bionic Poster
I know certain posters like @-NN- and @NatF really don't think much of Murray on the dirt but I'd like to find out how other TTW posters rate him when it comes to his clay court credentials and the overall level he's displayed throughout his career. As we all know, Andy's reached one RG final, losing to a Djokovic on the verge of completing the NCYGS and also four semifinals, two of which he lost to the clay GOAT. He's only won three titles overall on the surface but two of them were Masters 1000s where he had to get past Nadalovic to hold aloft the trophies. He also reached the final in Madrid last year, again losing to Djokovic, and has reached a couple of semifinals in MC, losing to Nadal both times. Personally I wouldn't describe him as a great clay courter but I'd say he's at least in the very good category and when looking at his consistency over the years I don't really see how even his most ardent detractors could disagree.

This is the time for y'all to let me know your sentiments on the subject. The floor is yours mes amis. Have at it and have fun.
 

Druss

Hall of Fame
Murray's best clay level is a smidgen below David Ferrer's best on the red dirt, IMHO.
 

Mainad

Bionic Poster
I know certain posters like @-NN- and @NatF really don't think much of Murray on the dirt but I'd like to find out how other TTW posters rate him when it comes to his clay court credentials and the overall level he's displayed throughout his career. As we all know, Andy's reached one RG final, losing to a Djokovic on the verge of completing the NCYGS and also four semifinals, two of which he lost to the clay GOAT. He's only won three titles overall on the surface but two of them were Masters 1000s where he had to get past Nadalovic to hold aloft the trophies. He also reached the final in Madrid last year, again losing to Djokovic, and has reached a couple of semifinals in MC, losing to Nadal both times. Personally I wouldn't describe him as a great clay courter but I'd say he's at least in the very good category and when looking at his consistency over the years I don't really see how even his most ardent detractors could disagree.

This is the time for y'all to let me know your sentiments on the subject. The floor is yours mes amis. Have at it and have fun.
Clay is certainly his weakest surface and one that he neglected for much of his career (until 2015 he never made a final on clay). That said, even in those earlier years he was still making semis at RG, MC and Rome and was usually only stopped by the likes of Nadal and Djokovic (curiously he has never played Federer on clay) as you point out. Whilst obviously not as accomplished on clay as on the other 2 surfaces he has still accomplished a lot more on it than any other active player outside of the Big 5 so I think that makes him extremely good on it to say the least if not borderline great.

Interestingly, Djokovic too has stated that clay is the most difficult surface for him and yet has still accomplished so much on it. Great players often tend to be great even on their weakest surfaces!
 
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NatF

Bionic Poster
Clay is certainly his weakest surface and one that he neglected for much of his career (until 2015 he never made a final on clay). That said, even in those earlier years he was still making semis at RG, MC and Rome and was usually only stopped by the likes of Nadal and Djokovic (curiously he has never played Federer on clay) as you point out. Whilst obviously not as accomplished on clay as on the other 2 surfaces he has still accomplished a lot more on it than any other active player outside of the Big 3 so I think that makes him extremely good on it to say the least if not borderline great.

Interestingly, Djokovic too has stated that clay is the most difficult surface for him and yet has still accomplished so much on it. Great players often tend to be great even on their weakest surfaces!
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Murray is obviously a very capable clay court player, but I don't think I'd put him above or at the same level as any one time FO winner. I'd also put him below someone like Coria.
 

BlackSilver

Semi-Pro
Since he started to hit his forehand with more spin, he has showed to be quite competent on it. His defensive skills give him an edge over nearly anyone on very heavy and slow conditions, like 2016 RG showed. His good first serve and good backhand provides him good weapons to accomplish good results on fast clay courts, like Rome.

Said that, his Achilles Tendon is the same of all the fast court specialists. A standard clay court (RG, Monte Carlo, Barcelona, etc...) on sunny conditions with temperatures between average to high are fast enough, to allow good aggressive clay courters to hit through him, while the high bounce provides them more margin for hitting their aggressive groundstrokes. Yet, these conditions are not fast enough to allow his fast, flat serve to help him as much as he would like on his own service games, neither to allow his flat, medium pace backhand to hurt the opponent as much as it would be ideal, or to avoid his opponent having enough time to strike it in backhand rallies.
 

Red Rick

Bionic Poster
I think Murray is impressive and underrated on clay. I'd definitely put him over the likes of Gaudio on the surface, and he's consistently reached the QF or better even when it used to be his worst surface by far. He's no clay great by any means though.

Murray's game is a bit of a mixed bag on clay cause he has all the movement and court craft to do stuff in these long points but doesn't have the dominating top spin forehand to grind his opponents down.
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
Imo his peak level so far is actually very high, almost right up there with other players who have significantly better clay resumes than he does.

The problem is that he’s unable to maintain that level for long enough to win titles on clay regularly. I’m thinking that match he had against Rafa in Rome, where he wrecked Rafa in the first set and even had a sniff at a win in the third but ultimately lost.

Clay requires consistent and controlled aggression (and not just defence, otherwise he’d be very successful on clay already), which are things that sit outside of Murray’s comfort zone.

He does have the movement, defence, and the return, but with his flatter strokes and relatively weaker second serve, the balls he hits into the court sit up only to be put away. The point of defence is to keep the ball in play until the percentages work out in your favour, but if you can’t make the risks higher for the attacker beyond simply making him try to put the ball away multiple times, then it will not pay off for the defender because the ability to get the ball back whilst on the back foot is not exactly easy either.

If you look at Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic, they all play with heavy topspin and / or pace, which not only makes their opponents hit one more ball, but also makes the ball they get back difficult to attack. Federer has his knifing slice and the GOAT forehand, Nadal has topspin, sidespin, and the baffling ability to do all that with bewilderingly brutal power on the dead run / on defence, and Djokovic can hit shots that you’d normally expect in a pressure-free neutral rally when on defence thanks to his ability to stretch and slide like nobody else. The point is that I think court coverage and defence is a basic part of defence at the highest levels; what the player can do with the ball once he gets there it what makes the defence efficient, and Murray is a whole tier below Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic when it comes to that. On grass and hards, it works out well for Murray because his flatter shots work well with the relatively lower and faster bounce, but on clay where the ball slows and bounces up, the ball is asking to be belted away.

So to me, it’s no surprise that Murray’s best clay performances all featured Murray hitting the crap out of the ball, and it’s even less of a surprise when the percentages eventually catch up to him and he ends up losing from unforced errors on his part.


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Deleted member 77403

Guest
Murray has 2 clay Masters titles (won against the clay god Nadal and Djokovic) whilst Ferrer has none despite being the more natural claycourter.
Level and accomplishments are two different things. I think Kyrgios has displayed a higher level than Zverev, yet Zverev is more the accomplished.

I would put Murray's level just a notch below Ferrer's.
 
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Deleted member 307496

Guest
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Murray is obviously a very capable clay court player, but I don't think I'd put him above or at the same level as any one time FO winner. I'd also put him below someone like Coria.
What about Corretja?
 
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Deleted member 307496

Guest
Wawrinka says hello on this front.

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Murray is obviously a very capable clay court player, but I don't think I'd put him above or at the same level as any one time FO winner. I'd also put him below someone like Coria.
I was also having a discussion with @True Fanerer the other day that Andy Murray could win 1 or 2 FOs between Kuerten and Nadal. What's your opinion on this? :D
 
N

nikdom

Guest
Poorly.

Should have had better results on clay with his pusher game and all that early training in Spain courtesy the Nadals.
 
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Deleted member 307496

Guest
Murray has 2 clay Masters titles (won against the clay god Nadal and Djokovic) whilst Ferrer has none despite being the more natural claycourter.
While not mentioning Nadal was in subpar form both times and Djokovic put more motivation into winning the FO. Which he did over Murray.

I think Ferrer could beat that Nadal. If he hasn't beaten him he's certainly pushed him, even in notable years like 2013.
 

killerboi2

Hall of Fame
Definitely his worst surface, improvment over the last couple of years doesn't change that. The competition is also garbage on clay in recent times.

While not mentioning Nadal was in subpar form both times and Djokovic put more motivation into winning the FO. Which he did over Murray.
Like I said, these situtions keep happening with Murray. Anyone who thinks it's just luck is having a laugh. Murray is good at exploiting bad form and cracking up players and making them play bad.
 
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Deleted member 307496

Guest
Definitely his worst surface, improvment over the last couple of years doesn't change that. The competition is also garbage on clay in recent times.



Like I said, these situtions keep happening with Murray. Anyone who thinks it's just luck is having a laugh. Murray is good at exploiting bad form and cracking up players and making them play bad.
2015 Nadal was coughing up short balls and playing pure crud by his standards.

2016 was better but still slightly subpar but Murray really was beasting for his standards making finals everywhere and ending at No. 1.

If Murray did something at No. 1 like even win another slam this year I'd start considering him an ATG. But he didn't sustain it and fell due to injury which like you said before is part of the game.

Interesting to see how well Murray plays upon his return. Not expecting much though because once you lose a step you're never the same again.
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
What about Corretja?
Corretja.

I was also having a discussion with @True Fanerer the other day that Andy Murray could win 1 or 2 FOs between Kuerten and Nadal. What's your opinion on this? :D
Murray definitely doesn't beat Ferrero in 2003, I think the considering the favourites pretty much choked in 2002 and 2004 Murray could have his chances but even Gaudio played as well as Murray ever has on clay in that 2004 run IMO. The problem is in Murray's best year he had back to back 5 setters in the first couple of rounds and ran out of gas in the final - hard to say. His level in the first set of the final and the SF was good enough to compete with many one time winners but he didn't sustain it.
 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
Wouldn't be surprised if Murray skips the French Open this year, to rest his hip for Wimbledon. i.e. pull a Fed...
 

swordtennis

G.O.A.T.
He grew up playing on clay in Spain. He is a very good clay courter and beats most all the dirt ballers out there outside fed nadal and djokovic.
 

swordtennis

G.O.A.T.
Jaun carlos does not have enough heft. There is a reason his nick name was the mosquito. Same with Cora. Great dirt ballers too small for the long haul in the modern big man game.
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
Jaun carlos does not have enough heft. There is a reason his nick name was the mosquito. Same with Cora. Great dirt ballers too small for the long haul in the modern big man game.
Ferrero had a much better forehand than Murray and his backhand was great too. He wouldn't be lacking off the ground by comparison at all. This is a guy that even before his very best on clay beat Kuerten over 5 sets in Rome. Clearly a better clay courter than Murray. As far as Coria goes he was a smaller guy but he took the ball earlier than Murray and had the game to go toe to toe with Nadal on the dirt. I think sometimes players are better than the sum of their parts and perceptions about what does or doesn't work needs to be thrown out in lieu of seeing what actually happened on the court.
 

swordtennis

G.O.A.T.
Ferrero had a much better forehand than Murray and his backhand was great too. He wouldn't be lacking off the ground by comparison at all. This is a guy that even before his very best on clay beat Kuerten over 5 sets in Rome. Clearly a better clay courter than Murray. As far as Coria goes he was a smaller guy but he took the ball earlier than Murray and had the game to go toe to toe with Nadal on the dirt. I think sometimes players are better than the sum of their parts and perceptions about what does or doesn't work needs to be thrown out in lieu of seeing what actually happened on the court.
I tend to agree they were prob more technically sound on clay. Over 3 sets i would take them. However in big major 5 set matches i take the big scott any day all day. The murray return of serve a big advantage.
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
I tend to agree they were prob more technically sound on clay. Over 3 sets i would take them. However in big major 5 set matches i take the big scott any day all day. The murray return of serve a big advantage.
Doesn't Coria have the best return stats ever courtesy of his stats on clay?

https://www.atpworldtour.com/en/stats/leaderboard?boardType=return&timeFrame=Career&surface=all&versusRank=all&formerNo1=false

Yeah so Coria is right at the top overall and second on clay;

https://www.atpworldtour.com/en/stats/leaderboard?boardType=return&timeFrame=Career&surface=clay&versusRank=all&formerNo1=false

I'd clearly pick Ferrero over Murray on clay in any format. More accomplished and a better player peak for peak with better wins.
 

True Fanerer

G.O.A.T.
I tend to agree they were prob more technically sound on clay. Over 3 sets i would take them. However in big major 5 set matches i take the big scott any day all day. The murray return of serve a big advantage.
2004 would have been Murray's best opportunity IMO. Gaudio was extremely nervous for the occasion in the beginning and Coria suffered with cramps. It was a crazy match. Everyone thought Coria had won it.
 

ibbi

Legend
I'm surprised with his style that he has not been more successful there over the years than he has, but I always felt like even when the big 4 was THE big 4 it was never quite the case on clay, because I'd have always picked Fezz over Muzz on the dirt. He's accomplished all his greatest feats there in the past couple of years, which (as with most of what he's done in the past year or two) feels like it's been as much down to the descent of other guys letting him in than any major step up of his own.

Still, his semi final victory in Paris against Stan last year is one of the absolute best matches I've ever seen him play. Magical stuff. Also his 2011 and 14 Rome semi finals were all out wars, both of which showed what he's capable of on his day.
 

Mainad

Bionic Poster
Wawrinka says hello on this front.
Woops, sorry Stan. Meant to say 'Big 5'. :oops:

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Murray is obviously a very capable clay court player, but I don't think I'd put him above or at the same level as any one time FO winner. I'd also put him below someone like Coria.
Coria was obviously a much more natural claycourter than Murray and yet, like Murray, he only ended up with 1 FO final (which admittedly he should have won) and 2 clay Masters (both won incidentally against clay journeymen) which highlights my point that, even on their weakest surfaces, great players can often adapt their game to get results as good as some of those on their best.
 
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Mainad

Bionic Poster
Level and accomplishments are two different things. I think Kyrgios has displayed a higher level than Zverev, yet Zverev is more the accomplished.
In which case, I think 'level' is highly overrated. Consistency and results are what count and if your level can't achieve those then so much for your level.

I would put Murray's level just a notch below Ferrer's.
So, are you saying that if Ferrer had played Nadal and Djokovic in 2015 Madrid and 2016 Rome he would have won them too?
 

True Fanerer

G.O.A.T.
While not mentioning Nadal was in subpar form both times and Djokovic put more motivation into winning the FO. Which he did over Murray.
If Nadal had been in poor form the entire tournament, then I could see it as an excuse. Nadal wasn't injured or tired or any of that either. If you hit short balls and get beat, you just got beat. Played well enough to straight set everyone leading up to the final.
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
Murray's best clay level is a smidgen below David Ferrer's best on the red dirt, IMHO.
So you're telling me Ferrer won 2 clay masters beating Nadal and Djokovic? When? :eek:

Murray has surpassed Ferrer on clay. Nadal and Djokovic weren't great in Murray's finals, but I doubt Ferrer would have beaten them even in their sub par forms.
 
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Deleted member 77403

Guest
In which case, I think 'level' is highly overrated. Consistency and results are what count and if your level can't achieve those then so much for your level.



So, are you saying that if Ferrer had played Nadal and Djokovic in 2015 Madrid and 2016 Rome he would have won them too?
No, but remember Ferrer has been Nadal at MC, a surface more suited to Nadal's game. It is all about when the matches happens. I consider Murray more accomplished, but feel Ferrer's overall level on clay peak for peak is higher. Now, that is not as bad as it looks, because Murray's worst surface is clay, and it is arguably Ferrer's best.
 

Mainad

Bionic Poster
No, but remember Ferrer has been Nadal at MC, a surface more suited to Nadal's game.
Yet he still didn't go on to win the title.

It is all about when the matches happens. I consider Murray more accomplished, but feel Ferrer's overall level on clay peak for peak is higher. Now, that is not as bad as it looks, because Murray's worst surface is clay, and it is arguably Ferrer's best.
Again, I think this talk of level is overrated. IMO it means diddly squat if it doesn't get you the results!
 

tennisaddict

Bionic Poster
So you're telling me Ferrer won 2 clay masters beating Nadal and Djokovic? When? :eek:

Murray has surpassed Ferrer on clay. Nadal and Djokovic weren't great in Murray's finals, but I doubt Ferrer would have beaten them even in their sub par forms.
There can be several arguments for Ferrer. Murray just won his first clay title 2 years back and has a sum total of 3 titles.

Ferrer has the same FO final, 2 other masters final losing to Nadal, 28 other ATP finals winning 13 of them which includes several big 500's.

Ferrer is definitely a better clay court player than Andy Murray. Ferrer mostly lost to the big guys and had just a few losses to lower ranked players on clay
 

swordtennis

G.O.A.T.
Doesn't Coria have the best return stats ever courtesy of his stats on clay?

https://www.atpworldtour.com/en/stats/leaderboard?boardType=return&timeFrame=Career&surface=all&versusRank=all&formerNo1=false

Yeah so Coria is right at the top overall and second on clay;

https://www.atpworldtour.com/en/stats/leaderboard?boardType=return&timeFrame=Career&surface=clay&versusRank=all&formerNo1=false

I'd clearly pick Ferrero over Murray on clay in any format. More accomplished and a better player peak for peak with better wins.
That is fine. Lets be frank here with facts about murray. Murray tends to own these types of players. You need to be a fed nadal djokovic level player to severely dent him consistently. I know you all love that hewitt coria mosquito roddick gen. But lets look at murrays record against these types. The mosquito would be swatted and smashed more often than not.
 
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Deleted member 77403

Guest
Yet he still didn't go on to win the title.



Again, I think this talk of level is overrated. IMO it means diddly squat if it doesn't get you the results!
Sure, he didn't win the title. But the point is, he is capable of toppling a Nadal of similar level that Murray beat in Madrid on a surface much more suited to Nadal's clay play.

I consider Murray's peak grass level to be higher than Djokovic's, but look who has more Wimbledon titles, therefore more accomplished.
 

tennisaddict

Bionic Poster
Yet he still didn't go on to win the title.



Again, I think this talk of level is overrated. IMO it means diddly squat if it doesn't get you the results!
How come you don't apply the same rules when we discuss Murray at AO ? Next time please remind yourself.
 

Mainad

Bionic Poster
Sure, he didn't win the title. But the point is, he is capable of toppling a Nadal of similar level that Murray beat in Madrid on a surface much more suited to Nadal's clay play.
Sorry, that doesn't prove to me that he has a higher peak level. Murray has beaten Nadal twice on clay.

I consider Murray's peak grass level to be higher than Djokovic's, but look who has more Wimbledon titles, therefore more accomplished.
Murray is more accomplished on grass overall (8 titles v 3) but Djokovic is more accomplished at Wimbledon (3 titles v 2). That's how I see it.
 
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Deleted member 77403

Guest
Sorry, that doesn't prove to me that he has a higher peak level. Murray has beaten Nadal twice on clay.



Murray is more accomplished on grass overall (8 titles v 3) but Djokovic is more accomplished at Wimbledon (3 titles v 2). That's how I see it.
It's enough to prove it to me.

And Ferrer has more titles on clay, therefore more accomplished.
 

Mainad

Bionic Poster
It's enough to prove it to me.

And Ferrer has more titles on clay, therefore more accomplished.
Ferrer is more accomplished on clay overall (13 titles v 3) but Murray is more accomplished at the big clay events (2 Masters v 0).
 
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Deleted member 77403

Guest
Ferrer is more accomplished on clay overall but Murray is more accomplished at the big clay events.
If you are now cherry picking how you say things, then Djokovic is more accomplished at the only big grass event.

You know I defend Murray a significant amount of time, did it in a thread of my own just a few days ago, but I need to be fair to others also.
 

killerboi2

Hall of Fame
I don't know if I would put Murray below Ferrer. Murray has better results than Ferrer in French Open and more m1000s. Murray being better than Djokovic on grass is also arguable. Murray has done enough to make it a conversation but Djokovic still has more Wimbledon titles.
 

Mainad

Bionic Poster
If you are now cherry picking how you say things, then Djokovic is more accomplished at the only big grass event.
In the absence of any grass Masters we can reasonably say that Queen's (especially with its history and impressive draws) and Halle are the 2 other big grass events.

You know I defend Murray a significant amount of time, did it in a thread of my own just a few days ago, but I need to be fair to others also.
You are one of the best and fairest posters on here without a doubt. We just have a different perspective on the importance of levels and peaks versus consistency and accomplishment. I value the latter and find talk of the former somewhat meaningless if not backed up by results. Let's just agree to disagree on this one if you like. :cool:
 
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Deleted member 77403

Guest
In the absence of any grass Masters we can reasonably say that Queen's (especially with its history and impressive draws) and Halle are the 2 other big grass events.



You are one of the best and fairest posters on here without a doubt. We just have a different perspective on the importance of levels and peaks versus consistency and accomplishment. I value the latter and find talk of the former somewhat meaningless if not backed up by results. Let's just agree to disagree on this one if you like. :cool:
No, we cannot. 500 series is still 500 series despite prestige. Keep in mind that half the tour play in Halle, in particular a player called Federer. Djokovic does not even bother playing either for years. I would love for it to be a masters, but that is a different thread. Ferrer has a bucket load of 500s also, funny how they are not taken into account in this chat.

I am happy for us to agree on disagreeing on this. I like Murray a lot and will always have his corner. One final thing, I don't say I don't value the latter, but I need to look at the whole body of work. That's just me. :)
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
That is fine. Lets be frank here with facts about murray. Murray tends to own these types of players. You need to be a fed nadal djokovic level player to severely dent him consistently. I know you all love that hewitt coria mosquito roddick gen. But lets look at murrays record against these types. The mosquito would be swatted and smashed more often than not.
And I wonder why you love Murray? :rolleyes:

Guys that go toe to toe with Kuerten and Nadal are going to be smashed and swatted by Murray? Sure thing man. It's not like I'm saying they'd beat Murray easily or anything but you have to get your knickers in a twist :D

Coria was obviously a much more natural claycourter than Murray and yet, like Murray, he only ended up with 1 FO final (which admittedly he should have won) and 2 clay Masters (both won incidentally against clay journeymen) which highlights my point that, even on their weakest surfaces, great players can often adapt their game to get results as good as some of those on their best.
Coria gets props from me for that Rome final tbh. Plus I think if he didn't have shoulder problems and then the yips he'd have gone on to do better than Murray across his career. But their achievements are similar at least at the very top level.
 
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