Ranking Bruguera-Muster-Courier on clay

What order do Bruguera-Muster-Courier rank in on clay

  • Muster first, Bruguera second, Courier last

    Votes: 5 25.0%
  • Muster first, Courier second, Bruguera last

    Votes: 1 5.0%
  • Bruguera first, Courier second, Muster last

    Votes: 3 15.0%
  • Bruguera first, Muster second, Courier last

    Votes: 4 20.0%
  • Courier first, Bruguera second, Muster last

    Votes: 4 20.0%
  • Courier first, Muster second, Bruguera last

    Votes: 3 15.0%

  • Total voters
    20
#1
Some people like to debate between Federer and Djokovic on clay and who should rank higher, but personally I find this comparision far more interesting. What order do the trio of Bruguera, Muster, and Courier rank in on clay. I think all agree that the trio are quite close overall. And the trio are contemporaries of the same era and the same generation of course, although they all peaked at slightly different times both on clay and overall. In the head to head match up it is pretty clear that Muster >>>Bruguera, Bruguera > Courier, and Courier > Muster. That part would probably favor Muster and make Bruguera look the worst as Bruguera was more hopeless against him than any other combination facing each other. Comparing their clay records Muster is by far the poorest at Roland Garros, but also by far the most successful outside of Roland Garros.
 

big ted

Hall of Fame
#2
hard to say but i might choose courier -> bruguera -> muster...
muster won more outside the FO but alot of his wins were against "nobodies"...
courier and bruguera did better at the FO than muster...
if they played all of those little clay court events like muster did they would probably win them too
 
#3
hard to say but i might choose courier -> bruguera -> muster...
muster won more outside the FO but alot of his wins were against "nobodies"...
courier and bruguera did better at the FO than muster...
if they played all of those little clay court events like muster did they would probably win them too
I havent even voted yet. I still need more time to think on it. RG is the granddaddy of clay events though, so your logic is sound.

Still Muster felt dominant on clay in 95 and 96. Courier sort of did too in 92 and 93 (despite losing RG 93). Bruguera never once did, despite winning RG twice. In fact I dont know if Bruguera even once went into RG as the favorite. I am pretty sure Courier was favorite in 92 and 93, Medvedeva maybe in 94 although no clear favorite, Muster definitely in 95 and 96, god knows who but definitely not Bruguera in 97. So in that sense maybe I would have Bruguera the lowest.
 
#4
Courier > Bruguera > Muster. For me Courier was the most dominant. He did not play a lot of clay tournaments in general. Muster on the other hand is way overrated in my opinion. His FO record is abysmal for the reputation he sometimes had (King of clay, Nadal's predecessor etc.). It is not only that apart from his elusive win he only reached one additional Quarter and one additional semi, but also the people he lost to (Becker, Sampras, Stich, Rafter before he won his first ATP event). Even on clay he was particularly vulnerable against Server and Volley players, which - given how many of them were around in the 90s - rules out any kind of dominance actually.
 

BGod

Hall of Fame
#5
Courier is #1. You gotta have the French Open as #1 priority with 7 rounds and Bo5. So unfortunately for Muster with all his other clay titles, several of which were at Masters level, Courier and Bruegera are ahead.

Now, where I put Courier ahead is 2 Rome>2 Monte Carlo for starters, Courier loses SF to Bruegera in 4, Sergi loses SF to Chang in 3, Courier makes one more Quarter appearance losing to Sampras in 5 and Courier's 92 run is better than all of Bruegera's.

It's close mind you.
 

Mainad

Bionic Poster
#6
I think Courier getting to #1 edges it for him v Bruguera. Bruguera did however end Courier's reign at Roland Garros when he beat him in the 1993 final. Both won 2 RG titles which edges them over Muster although Muster's 6 clay Masters (3 at MC, 3 at Rome) trumps the 4 combined which Courier and Bruguera won plus his #1 ranking almost brings him level.

I will go with Courier (2 Slams plus #1) > Bruguera (2 Slams) > Muster (1 Slam plus #1) although I think it is very close between all 3 of them.
 
#8
Looks like Courier is the consensus choice so far. I probably would have to agree with that. I had thought maybe Muster, but the more I think about it I think I slide slightly to Courier.

All 3 are very close though, and really interchangeable as the poll results show so far. Good to see others find this really hard too.
 

Gizo

Hall of Fame
#9
The think that amazes me about Courier's clay court record, is his 'efficiency' on the surface. During his career he played in significantly fewer matches and entered significantly fewer tournaments on clay, compared to any other 'elite' player on the surface during the open era. Like other US players, he didn't care about Monte-Carlo and Hamburg and regularly skipped both events, preferring to start his European campaign in Rome. In spite of that he was came close to winning 3 consecutive RG titles and also won back to back Rome titles.

According to the official match records on the ATP website (which obviously will not be fully accurate or correct) he only played in 167 clay court matches in his career. Comparing that against the totals of 'other' major winners on the surface from the open era (excluding Rosewall, Laver and Gimeno for obvious reasons), only Chang played fewer matches on clay:

Vilas - 821
Orantes - 687
Muster - 549
Moya - 480
Gomez - 468
Nadal - 451*
Bruguera - 431
Nastase - 430
Costa - 408
Lendl - 403
Panatta - 382
Ferrero - 349
Kodes - 347
Wilander - 341
Gaudio - 319
Borg - 292
Noah - 289
Federer - 282*
Kuerten - 269
Connors - 268
Wawrinka - 260*
Djokovic - 251*
Kafelnikov - 244
Agassi - 209
Courier - 167
Chang - 165

Selected others:
Dibbs - 514
Corretja - 440
Solomon - 407
Clerc - 397
Ramirez - 312
Rios - 260
Medvedev - 254
Gerulaitis - 192
Coria - 192
Murray - 153
 
#10
The think that amazes me about Courier's clay court record, is his 'efficiency' on the surface. During his career he played in significantly fewer matches and entered significantly fewer tournaments on clay, compared to any other 'elite' player on the surface during the open era. Like other US players, he didn't care about Monte-Carlo and Hamburg and regularly skipped both events, preferring to start his European campaign in Rome. In spite of that he was came close to winning 3 consecutive RG titles and also won back to back Rome titles.

According to the official match records on the ATP website (which obviously will not be fully accurate or correct) he only played in 167 clay court matches in his career. Comparing that against the totals of 'other' major winners on the surface from the open era (excluding Rosewall, Laver and Gimeno for obvious reasons), only Chang played fewer matches on clay:

Vilas - 821
Orantes - 687
Muster - 549
Moya - 480
Gomez - 468
Nadal - 451*
Bruguera - 431
Nastase - 430
Costa - 408
Lendl - 403
Panatta - 382
Ferrero - 349
Kodes - 347
Wilander - 341
Gaudio - 319
Borg - 292
Noah - 289
Federer - 282*
Kuerten - 269
Connors - 268
Wawrinka - 260*
Djokovic - 251*
Kafelnikov - 244
Agassi - 209
Courier - 167
Chang - 165

Selected others:
Dibbs - 514
Corretja - 440
Solomon - 407
Clerc - 397
Ramirez - 312
Rios - 260
Medvedev - 254
Gerulaitis - 192
Coria - 192
Murray - 153
Great find, thanks for that. That actually makes me lean ever more to Courier on this.
 
#16
Muster ranks way below the other two. It doesnt matter how many 250 tournaments Msuter won, Roland Garros is king for the clay courter, and here Bruguera and Courier destroy Muster. It isnt just the 1 extra title, in which case one could maybe entertain Muster's superior small tournament resume, but their 3 finals, their many semis and quarters. Bruguera and Courier also defended a RG title which is bad, and Courier made 3 straight finals and nearly took a 3rd title, barely stopped by Bruguera. Muster has his lone RG title, 0 other finals, only 2 total semis, and only 3 times to the quarters. His other showings besides his 95 title was a straight sets loss to Andrez Gomez in the 90 semis, and a loss to Felix Mantilla in the 98 quarters. Losses in his prime at RG to Sampras, Becker, Stich, Rafter, a quartet of fast court specialists with 0 RG titles and 1 combined RG final. Pretty weak compared to Courier and Bruguera.

Courier vs Bruguera for 1st of this trio is a tougher call. Maybe Bruguera since he beat Courier whenever they played when it mattered.
 
#17
Muster ranks way below the other two. It doesnt matter how many 250 tournaments Msuter won, Roland Garros is king for the clay courter, and here Bruguera and Courier destroy Muster. It isnt just the 1 extra title, in which case one could maybe entertain Muster's superior small tournament resume, but their 3 finals, their many semis and quarters. Bruguera and Courier also defended a RG title which is bad, and Courier made 3 straight finals and nearly took a 3rd title, barely stopped by Bruguera. Muster has his lone RG title, 0 other finals, only 2 total semis, and only 3 times to the quarters. His other showings besides his 95 title was a straight sets loss to Andrez Gomez in the 90 semis, and a loss to Felix Mantilla in the 98 quarters. Losses in his prime at RG to Sampras, Becker, Stich, Rafter, a quartet of fast court specialists with 0 RG titles and 1 combined RG final. Pretty weak compared to Courier and Bruguera.
Muster's other clay titles were not all small by any means. He also won 6 clay Masters (3 at Rome, 3 at Monte Carlo) vs just 2 for Bruguera (both in Monte Carlo) and 2 for Courier (both in Rome). Only Nadal and Djokovic have won more Clay Masters than Muster.
 
Last edited:
#18
Muster's other clay titles were not all small by any means. He also won 6 clay Masters (3 at Rome, 3 at Monte Carlo) vs just 2 for Bruguera (both Monte Carlo) and only 1 for Edberg (Hamburg). Only Nadal and Djokovic have won more Clay Masters than Muster.
Masters back in the 90s were not what the are today. Especially clay court masters were regularly skipped by US players (Courier,Agassi etc.) so it was not that the best of the best played there every year. On top of that players who did participate did not take them as seriously but tried to peak for slams. Gomes said something around the lines that it was stupid by Muster to beat him in a masters final and show all he had there which led to him beating Muster at the French afterwards. I think guys like Bruguera treated the masters a little like Sampras treated Queens.
 
#19
Muster's other clay titles were not all small by any means. He also won 6 clay Masters (3 at Rome, 3 at Monte Carlo) vs just 2 for Bruguera (both Monte Carlo) and only 1 for Edberg (Hamburg). Only Nadal and Djokovic have won more Clay Masters than Muster.
Fair enough. However does this discount a significantly inferior RG record? IMO no. RG is the granddaddy of clay tennis. If Muster had only 1 less title but was comparable or superior in other ways I could see maybe, but his record is RG is way worse all around.
 
#20
Masters back in the 90s were not what the are today. Especially clay court masters were regularly skipped by US players (Courier,Agassi etc.) so it was not that the best of the best played there every year. On top of that players who did participate did not take them as seriously but tried to peak for slams. Gomes said something around the lines that it was stupid by Muster to beat him in a masters final and show all he had there which led to him beating Muster at the French afterwards. I think guys like Bruguera treated the masters a little like Sampras treated Queens.
They were still the most important events after the Slams and YEC, just as they are today. Then, as now, they were counted as Big Titles.
 
#21
Fair enough. However does this discount a significantly inferior RG record? IMO no. RG is the granddaddy of clay tennis. If Muster had only 1 less title but was comparable or superior in other ways I could see maybe, but his record is RG is way worse all around.
Not saying it does. I just wanted to point out that not all of Muster's non-Slam clay titles can be dismissed as small and insignificant.

Incidentally, I edited my post to substitute Courier (2 clay Slams) for Edberg. Not sure why I included Edberg when the comparison was with Courier and Bruguera.
 
#22
They were still the most important events after the Slams and YEC, just as they are today. Then, as now, they were counted as Big Titles.
Not necessarily true. In the 90s when Muster played you could get more ATP points by winning a 500 or even 250 equivalent than winning a Master due to this bonus point rule. San Jose for instance was played regularly by Agassi, Sampras, Chang and Courier therefore typically has stronger field - ranking wise- than the clay masters. The tour structure was completely different, the slams were the only thing which were comparable to what they are today. There it was where all top players usually played and tried to peak and Muster badly underperformed - relatively speaking - at the FO.
 
#23
Muster ranks way below the other two. It doesnt matter how many 250 tournaments Msuter won, Roland Garros is king for the clay courter, and here Bruguera and Courier destroy Muster. It isnt just the 1 extra title, in which case one could maybe entertain Muster's superior small tournament resume, but their 3 finals, their many semis and quarters. Bruguera and Courier also defended a RG title which is bad, and Courier made 3 straight finals and nearly took a 3rd title, barely stopped by Bruguera. Muster has his lone RG title, 0 other finals, only 2 total semis, and only 3 times to the quarters. His other showings besides his 95 title was a straight sets loss to Andrez Gomez in the 90 semis, and a loss to Felix Mantilla in the 98 quarters. Losses in his prime at RG to Sampras, Becker, Stich, Rafter, a quartet of fast court specialists with 0 RG titles and 1 combined RG final. Pretty weak compared to Courier and Bruguera.

Courier vs Bruguera for 1st of this trio is a tougher call. Maybe Bruguera since he beat Courier whenever they played when it mattered.
Muster is completely overrated on clay. Some people named him the King of clay before Nadal which is absurd. Most of his reputation he gained by collecting wins at Mickey Mouse tournaments. At the French where it counted most, he lost against all kind of mediocre players and he was always vulnerable against Serve and Volleyer even on clay. I get he had two very good/dominant years in 95 and 96 but even during those two years he never seemed invincible like Nadal, he had a lot of matches where he had to defend match points (against Becker of all people in the MC final 95, his strongest year). As mentioned even in those years a Serve and Volleyer could very well beat him as it was shown by Stich in 96. Being complete useless against a playing style which was predominant during this era rules out every kind of dominance from the beginning.
 
#24
Muster is completely overrated on clay. Some people named him the King of clay before Nadal which is absurd. Most of his reputation he gained by collecting wins at Mickey Mouse tournaments. At the French where it counted most, he lost against all kind of mediocre players and he was always vulnerable against Serve and Volleyer even on clay. I get he had two very good/dominant years in 95 and 96 but even during those two years he never seems invincible like Nadal, he had a lot of matches where he had to defend match point (against Becker of all people in the MC final 95, his strongest year). As mentioned even in those years a Serve and Volleyer could very well beat him as it was shown by Stich in 96. Being complete useless against a playing style which was predominant during this era rules out every kind of dominance to begin with.
Muster isnt even in the same stratosphere as Borg on clay, let alone Nadal who is way above everyone, even Borg. Heck he isnt in the same stratosphere as Lendl or Wilander on clay overall.

Yes very overrated. I can understand people who rank him above Courier or Bruguera, although I disagree, but nothing beyond that.

People also forget before his decline Courier was absolutely thumping Muster on clay. Even the 95-96 Muster probably would have no answers to peak Courier, especialy when a washed up Courier still destroyed Muster at the 95 U.S Open. Not on clay, and Muster probably wins if they play on clay in say 95 (although even that I am not sure is 100% certain) but emphatic enough to believe Muster wouldnt have much hope against a peak Courier, even on clay.

He had a big mental edge over Bruguera so would probably have the edge on him, but I am not sure he is the better clay courter overall.
 
#25
Muster isnt even in the same stratosphere as Borg on clay, let alone Nadal who is way above everyone, even Borg. Heck he isnt in the same stratosphere as Lendl or Wilander on clay overall.

Yes very overrated. I can understand people who rank him above Courier or Bruguera, although I disagree, but nothing beyond that.
To be honest I cannot see any argument to put him above those two especially Courier. Courier was far better at the French, dominated him in H2H and as for the other tournaments, as someone pointed out here, Courier played way less tournaments/matches on clay but was way more efficient.
 
#26
To be honest I cannot see any argument to put him above those two especially Courier. Courier was far better at the French, dominated him in H2H and as for the other tournaments, as someone pointed out here, Courier played way less tournaments/matches on clay but was way more efficient.
Yeah and Courier was just pounding Muster regularly when they played on clay from 91-94. Not peak Muster, but still hard to ignore.
 
#27
Not necessarily true. In the 90s when Muster played you could get more ATP points by winning a 500 or even 250 equivalent than winning a Master due to this bonus point rule. San Jose for instance was played regularly by Agassi, Sampras, Chang and Courier therefore typically has stronger field - ranking wise- than the clay masters. The tour structure was completely different, the slams were the only thing which were comparable to what they are today. There it was where all top players usually played and tried to peak and Muster badly underperformed - relatively speaking - at the FO.
Rome and Monte Carlo were always considered big, prestigious events, especially Rome (often considered to be more important than Roland Garros). That hasn't changed over the years.
 
#30
Rome was always big. Nevertheless Courier and Agassi regularly skipped Rome and Monte Carlo. It is not that Muster wheats faced all top players there.
Look, we can't dismiss Rome and Monte Carlo as small, insignificant titles however much their appeal for certain players may have fluctuated over the years. That Muster won 6 of them (plus 2 on hardcourts) adds considerably to his resumé on clay even if they do not quite compensate for his surprisingly lacklustre record at Roland Garros other than in 1995.
 
Top