Why is not Murray a good player in clay?

Gary_Hobson

New User
That's something I have been wondering for some time. If we see Andy's titles, all of them has been on hard courts (one of them is Queen's, which it is on grass; and St. Petersburg in a carpet surface), and when he has been a finalist it has been in hard courts as well. Total finals equals 24 and none of them has been in clay.

As we all know, Murray's style of playing is deffensive. He's for sure the most deffensive player of the top10, although sometimes he attacks more than usual, and when he plays more offensive he does it good, specially with his backhand... but here is the point... why Andy Murray's results on clay are not good? Cause thinking about his playing style (he's a player who defends so well, other players find so difficult to win a point to him, he feels more comfortable in long rallies...) in theory he must have good results on that surface cause of his skills, but the fact is that he is one of the top-10 players with worst results on the slowest surface. Besides, he has been training for some time in Spain, and i guess he did it on clay.

So if any expert could explain me that... cause i don't undestand :p
 

Totai

Professional
He doesn't hit with as much spin as Nadal and Federer, and he lacks the crazy power to penetrate through the clay courts, but I think the biggest issue is the movement. He has to focus on his movement which takes away from his thinking about tennis, unlike Nadal who just flaots around on clay
 

Gary_Hobson

New User
Being defensive does not equal being good on clay.
It is obvious than clay surfaces are better for deffensive players than for serve&volley players or hard-hitting players cause the balls goes clearly slower than in hard courts so they have more time to return the ball, and to do it in a good way.
And Andy is a fast player as well so that's why i think IN THEORY that helps him on clay.

Besides, if we think of another deffensive players on clay... Nadal we all know that he's the king of clay, Ferrer is a great defender like Murray (though with less good groundstrokes than him) and he has been in my opinion the 2nd best player on clay's season if we don't think in RG... and Monfils reached his best Grand Slam's result two years ago in the clay of Roland Garros.
 

Dilettante

Hall of Fame
Hewitt was also a great defensive player and never was very good on clay, decent at his best, but very good on grass and fast HC.
 

Heracles

Banned
Clay is not only defense. Not at all.

Actually, on clay, you have to construct your points, use strategy to play and win a point. You can't afford to have too many weakness because your opponent can exploit them more on that surface then elsewhere.

You also need big weapons to succeed on clay and make the point. Murray has trouble to control a rally with his forehand who is not very good in the rallies and players can bully him more easily on that surface because they are less vulnerable to his counters.
 
There are 2 ways to win on clay:

1. Deep balls mixed with angles to open up the court and get the opponent out of position. This is somewhat easier on clay because of the slower balls=more time to set up and place the balls. Then you need to either put the ball away or force an error. Most good claycourters have excellent touch shots and volleys.

2. Just hit through the court with flat bombs. The extra time allows you to measure shots better, so you might miss fewer. Pushing opponents back on a court they do not move that well on gives the bashers more options.

Obviously Murray cannot play like 2. To play like 1, he has to force the issue i.e. hit angles, move into the court (like Ferrer, who does not play with crazy spin), slide well and mix up the heights of the ball. His defense is negated by players who move better than him and push him back.
 

batz

G.O.A.T.
The simple answer is movement - he has to think about it on clay so doesn't move as well. He doesn't have to think about it on hard and to a lesser extent, grass. So he moves much better on those surfaces.

Movement is one of Murray's key weapons.
 

yellowoctopus

Professional
He doesn't hit with as much spin as Nadal and Federer, and he lacks the crazy power to penetrate through the clay courts,

That's hilarious, thanks for the joke. :lol::lol:

but I think the biggest issue is the movement. He has to focus on his movement which takes away from his thinking about tennis,

Yup, it's his feet.

7151.2.jpg


unlike Nadal who just flaots around on clay

Again, thanks for the laugh. :lol:
 
Clay favours agressive play. Nadal for all his amazing defence and movement on clay dictates most of the points, even against players like Soderling, Djokovic and Federer.
 

ashitaka2010

Semi-Pro
His movements on clay are not as good as on hard, it's pretty obvious to see. I agree with some posters about the forehand, it seems already difficult to be a slam winner, clay or not,with your backhand/1st serve as main weapons.
But, simply put, it's not his best surface. Nothing new here.
 

bolo

G.O.A.T.
how come when this question comes up, no one brings up the murray serve?

I notice he gets a number of free points with his booming moderate % serve on the faster courts, surely that serve is less effective in getting points on clay. Also his ROS advantage also takes a hit on clay. Everyone has time to get a ball back on that surface, he is no longer special in that regard.

Am I missing something, does the serve not get murray more points on the hard courts relative to other players?
 

yellowoctopus

Professional
Feel free to enlighten us with your expert views.

Thanks to ashitaka2010 and several others, they have already done a great job of this.


His movements on clay are not as good as on hard, it's pretty obvious to see. I agree with some posters about the forehand, it seems already difficult to be a slam winner, clay or not,with your backhand/1st serve as main weapons.
But, simply put, it's not his best surface. Nothing new here.
 
how come when this question comes up, no one brings up the murray serve?

I notice he gets a number of free points with his booming moderate % serve on the faster courts, surely that serve is less effective in getting points on clay. Also his ROS advantage also takes a hit on clay. Everyone has time to get a ball back on that surface, he is no longer special in that regard.

Am I missing something, does the serve not get murray more points on the hard courts relative to other players?

Yep, Murray's first serve is critical part of his game. Up intill the final in Australia he was posting better numbers on his serve than Federer, his serve got him out of many holes against Nadal in Australia. He has a very flat serve aswell which is negated on clay, unlike Nadal and Federer.

Also he is always flirting with poor percentages on his first serve because he has to go flat all the time because he doesn't have a great kick serve.
 

Colin

Professional
Perhaps I should be watching more clay matches — less chance of bearing witness to Murray's frightening face (which was definitely an unfair advantage against Federer in Shanghai).

I looked at the numbers and by almost any measure — total number of wins, total number of titles, career winning percentage — Murray is indeed the worst in the top 10 on clay. It's no surprise that Nadal is by far the favorite on the surface with Federer, Ferrer and Djokovic on the next level. I think the numbers show that Roddick is underrated on the surface, as well...

TITLES
1. Nadal: 29 titles
2. Federer: 9 titles
3. Roddick: 5 titles
* Ferrer: 5 titles
5. Djokovic: 4 titles
6. Verdasco: 3 titles
* Berdych: 3 titles
8. Youzhny: 2 titles
* Soderling: 2 titles
10. Murray: 0 titles

CAREER WIN-LOSS
1. Nadal: 203-16/92.6%
2. Federer: 151-46/76.6%
3. Djokovic: 82-30/73.2%
4. Ferrer: 182-87/67.6%
5. Roddick: 73-37/66.3%
6. Verdasco: 116-68/63%
7. Berdych: 80-50/61.5%
8. Soderling: 67-47/58.8%
9. Youzhny: 91-72/55.8%
10. Murray: 26-22/54.2%
 

bolo

G.O.A.T.
Perhaps I should be watching more clay matches — less chance of bearing witness to Murray's frightening face (which was definitely an unfair advantage against Federer in Shanghai).

I looked at the numbers and by almost any measure — total number of wins, total number of titles, career winning percentage — Murray is indeed the worst in the top 10 on clay. It's no surprise that Nadal is by far the favorite on the surface with Federer, Ferrer and Djokovic on the next level. I think the numbers show that Roddick is underrated on the surface, as well...

TITLES
1. Nadal: 29 titles
2. Federer: 9 titles
3. Roddick: 5 titles
* Ferrer: 5 titles
5. Djokovic: 4 titles
6. Verdasco: 3 titles
* Berdych: 3 titles
8. Youzhny: 2 titles
* Soderling: 2 titles
10. Murray: 0 titles

CAREER WIN-LOSS
1. Nadal: 203-16/92.6%
2. Federer: 151-46/76.6%
3. Djokovic: 82-30/73.2%
4. Ferrer: 182-87/67.6%
5. Roddick: 73-37/66.3%
6. Verdasco: 116-68/63%
7. Berdych: 80-50/61.5%
8. Soderling: 67-47/58.8%
9. Youzhny: 91-72/55.8%
10. Murray: 26-22/54.2%

Not bad, I am a little surprised he's above 60%, but some of those wins came in that texas tournament where the field is relatively weaker compared to say where say david ferrer plays most of his matches.
 
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Colin

Professional
Not bad, I am little surprised he's above 60%, but some of those wins came in that texas tournament where the field is relatively weaker compared to say where say david ferrer plays most of his matches.

True — that list doesn't differentiate between 250s and masters/slams (which Rafa hoards anyway), but even a small tournament win is a tournament win in the end, and Murray has been unable to get even one on clay.
 

Gary_Hobson

New User
Let's see a practical example of how Murray plays on clay:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NHqxEBK6Gc

This match is of this year, in Roma. Ferrer won 6-3 6-4 as you can see. In the highlights, we barely see Murray attacking, he just returns the ball waiting for Ferrer's mistake. David doesn't attack so much but at least he tries to move Andy and he playes more offensive than him.

Murray (as usual) defends well, and get the balls returned easier than in hard courts cause of ball's bounce.
 

Murrayfan31

Hall of Fame
Not aggressive enough to do good on clay. If you are going to hit relatively flat, you better have a huge shot like Soderling to penetrate a clay court. His great serve and return game also play less of a role on clay as almost all pros are good on returning serve on clay. But he is the best hardcourter despite the bad luck he had this year at the US Open.
 

Gary_Hobson

New User
TITLES
1. Nadal: 29 titles
2. Federer: 9 titles
3. Roddick: 5 titles
* Ferrer: 5 titles
5. Djokovic: 4 titles
6. Verdasco: 3 titles
* Berdych: 3 titles
8. Youzhny: 2 titles
* Soderling: 2 titles
10. Murray: 0 titles

CAREER WIN-LOSS
1. Nadal: 203-16/92.6%
2. Federer: 151-46/76.6%
3. Djokovic: 82-30/73.2%
4. Ferrer: 182-87/67.6%
5. Roddick: 73-37/66.3%
6. Verdasco: 116-68/63%
7. Berdych: 80-50/61.5%
8. Soderling: 67-47/58.8%
9. Youzhny: 91-72/55.8%
10. Murray: 26-22/54.2%
Interesting statistic... It is also curious than Soderling is the 8th... but if we forgot last two Roland Garros, his win-loss on clay would be 55-45 (55%, almost like Murray)... so we can say that without 2009 and 2010 Roland Garros Robin Soderling is not a good player on clay.

By the way, I would like to see next year a Murray - Federer on clay :).
 

fps

Legend
he's defensive on clay, when the best claycourters hit "defensive" shots they make their opponents uncomfortable with the shots they come out with. he doesn't have the ability to hit shots he doesn't want to hit, time and again, to stay in a rally without conceding court position to an opponent, and this costs him as his movement isn't suited to clay.
 

vive le beau jeu !

Talk Tennis Guru
Hewitt was also a great defensive player and never was very good on clay, decent at his best, but very good on grass and fast HC.

His movement and footing is poor on clay

bambi-on-ice.jpg
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(ok ok... just IMAGINE it's clay) :)

but i also think it's mainly an issue of "moving on clay"... not that he (or hewitt) moves badly on that damned surface, but there are many more natural movers on clay than them, which probably makes things harder...

and i think anybody that has "only occasionaly" played on clay can have an idea of the problem... clay (e.g. sliding on it !) is not that easy to tame, is it ? ;)
 

Manus Domini

Hall of Fame
Because clay is for pushers. Murray's attacking, S&V-based game is suitable only for the common indoor carpet and fast grass tournaments there are.
 

Tammo

Banned
I don't know if taking a set off Nadal in monte carlo, or pushing the unbeatable Djokovic to 3 sets is bad.
 
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