We've all heard the argument that the grass surface played at Wimbledon has slowed down in recent years. The argument goes that since 2002, Wimbledon has played significantly slower. Some people argue that not only is Wimbledon slower than it used to be, but that it's grass surface is one of the slowest of the 4 Majors (even being compared to clay). Now, while the argument can be made that Wimbledon may have slowed down, I'd like to argue that the grass at Wimbledon has not slowed to down to the extreme that some people claim. In fact, I've taken the liberty of researching all the Wimbledon Men's Singles tournaments since 2002, and taking a look at players who've done well at Wimbledon. I've taken a look at players who've achieved success on grass, and also on hardcourts and carpets, but who've achieved their lowest level of success on clay courts - in order to prove that the speed of the Wimbledon surface post-2001 does not benefit players who play well on slower surfaces (such as clay-court specialists) as much as it benefits players who play well on faster surfaces (like it always has). Here's a list I've compiled. _________________________________________________________________ 2002 Wimbledon - Quarterfinalist: Sjeng Schalken – this is a guy who won 2 grass titles and 6 hard court titles, so he was quite adept at faster surfaces. His clay court resume, at 1 title and a measly 3rd round showing once at Roland Garros, leaves much to be desired. - Quarterfinalist: Richard Krajicek – another big server with a solid net game, Krajicek is the 1996 Wimbledon champion, and has won 2 other grass court titles, along with 7 hard court titles (including 2 masters) and 6 carpets. His clay court resume is solid, but clearly the weakest of his surfaces relative to his other success (1 clay title, 1 master’s final, and a RG semi). - Semifinalist: Tim Henman – sometimes considered a grass court specialist (despite lacking any titles), Henman has 3 grass court finals and made the Wimbledon semi-finals 4 times (3 times before 2002, on the “fast grass”). - Champion: Lleyton Hewitt – the 2001 US Open champion, with 3 grass titles, a masters on hardcourt, and the Master’s Cup on hardcourt. After 2002, Lleyton went on to make the AO final, win another grass court title, and amass to date his best win percentage on any surface at 81% on grass (compared to his worst win percentage at 69% on clay). 2003 Wimbledon - Quarterfinalist: Tim Henman – see above - Quarterfinalist: Jonas Bjorkman – 2 grass titles + 1 final, 3 hardcourt titles, and 1 title on carpet (and a final in a carpet Master’s); Bjorkman is much more adept to faster surfaces than he is to slow clay (his worst GS result is a 4th round showing at RG, and he has no clay titles to speak of). - Quarterfinalist: Alexander Popp – I don’t know much about him, but apparently his favourite surface is grass and he made the Wimbledon Quarterfinals in 2000 on “fast grass” - Semifinalist: Sebastien Grosjean – here’s a guy who was good on clay, but his best results were on fast surfaces; 1 grass title, 1 hardcourt title, and 2 carpet titles (including a master’s title). - Semifinalist: Andy Roddick – big server, 4 grass titles, 17 hard court titles, 1 carpet title. We all know Andy is no clay-court specialist. - Finalist: Mark Philippoussis – 2 grass titles, 8 hard court titles (one of which is MS title), the big serving Australian also made the final at the US Open and made 3 quarter-finals at Wimbledon from 1998-2000, on “fast grass”. 2004 Wimbledon - Quarterfinalist: Lleyton Hewitt, see above. - Quarterfinalist: Tim Henman, see above. - Quarterfinalist: Sjeng Schalken, see above. - Semifinalist: Sebastien Grosjean, see above. - Semifinalist: Mario Ancic – the big serving Croat was once considered the next big grass-courter in the style of Goran Ivansevic, and with 2 grass titles and a carpet title, Ancic is definitely adept on faster surfaces. - Finalist: Andy Roddick, see above 2005 Wimbledon - Quarterfinalist: Sebastien Grosjean, see above. - Semifinalist: Lleyton Hewitt, see above. - Semifinalist: Thomas Johansson – 2 grass titles, 3 carpet titiles, and 6 hardcourt titles (including a Major and a Master’s title). Johansson is definitely not a clay-court specialist by any definition, finding fasters surfaces to his liking. - Finalist: Andy Roddick, see above. 2006 Wimbledon - Quarterfinalist: Mario Ancic, see above - Quarterfinalist: Radek Stepanek – with 4 hardcourt titles and no clay titles, Stepanek clearly plays his best tennis on faster surfaces. - Quarterfinalist: Lleyton Hewitt, see above - Semifinalist: Marcos Baghdatis – 1 hardcourt title and 1 carpet title, the 2006 Australian Open finalist was also a runner up at Halle, on grass. No clay titles or finals. - Semifinalist: Jonas Bjorkman, see above 2007 Wimbledon - Quarterfinalist: Andy Roddick, see above - Quarterfinalist: Marcos Baghdatis, see above 2008 Wimbledon - Quarterfinalist: Mario Ancic, see above - Quarterfinalist: Arnaud Clement – with 3 hardcourt titles (and Australian Open finalist), 1 carpet title, and 3 grass finals; Clement finds success on faster surfaces that he does not on the slower clay (with no finals or titles). Also, the 2007 Wimbledon Doubles Champion. - Quarterfinalist: Andy Murray – even though he’s improved on clay, in 2008 he was more of a hard-court specialist, clearly favouring faster surfaces. US Open finalist, 3 hardcourt masters (out of 10 HC titles), and a carpet title. - Semifinalist: Rainer Schuettler – 1 carpet title, 1 hardcourt title, and a AO runner-up. While he is solid on clay, his best results come from faster surfaces. - Semifinalist: Marat Safin – 2 Harcourt Grand Slam titles (and 2 other HC major finals), 2 Master’s titles on hardcourts + 3 MS shields on carpet. Safin has done well on clay (with 2 titles and a RG semi-final), but is definitely more adept on faster surfaces as one of the best hard courters of the decade. _________________________________________________________________ My conclusion; many players who've done well at Wimbledon have success at other grass-court tournaments and have had success before 2002 at Wimbledon and other grass-court tournaments. Most players who have done well at Wimbledon since 2002 have done well on Hard-courts. While there have been some players who've made it deep into Wimbledon who can be considered clay courters or more adept on slower surfaces, they are still the minority at Wimbledon. That's my opinion and the facts i'm backing it up with. What do you guys think? Am I wrong, and why? Am I right, and why? Discuss. And let's keep this free of Nadal/Federer/Djokovic bashing, please.