Wilander vs Courier on clay

Pheasant

Hall of Fame
Jim Courier never beat any great clay court players. He's 9-9 vs the top 10 on clay. Here are the top 10 players he beat and their records on clay vs the top 10:

Agassi, 9-12, .429
Edberg, 11-17, .393
Ivanisevic, 13-12, .520
Korda, 8-11, .421
Chang, 7-13, .350
Sampras, 7-12, .368
Total vs top 10 on clay 55-77, .417

Wilander was 24-17 vs top 10 players on clay. That includes beating clay legend Lendl 4 times on that surface. Lendl on clay was 46-22, .676 vs the top 10.

Wilander's top gear was much higher than Courier's. Courier was fortunate enough to not really face anybody tough on clay. Unfortunately for Wilander, he had Lendl get in his way 10 times; but still managed a respectable 4 times vs him.

It's Wilander and I don't think that it's all that close.
 

GameSetR

Rookie
Jim Courier never beat any great clay court players. He's 9-9 vs the top 10 on clay. Here are the top 10 players he beat and their records on clay vs the top 10:

Agassi, 9-12, .429
Edberg, 11-17, .393
Ivanisevic, 13-12, .520
Korda, 8-11, .421
Chang, 7-13, .350
Sampras, 7-12, .368
Total vs top 10 on clay 55-77, .417

Wilander was 24-17 vs top 10 players on clay. That includes beating clay legend Lendl 4 times on that surface. Lendl on clay was 46-22, .676 vs the top 10.

Wilander's top gear was much higher than Courier's. Courier was fortunate enough to not really face anybody tough on clay. Unfortunately for Wilander, he had Lendl get in his way 10 times; but still managed a respectable 4 times vs him.

It's Wilander and I don't think that it's all that close.
I totally agree that Wilander's top gear was higher than Jim's, however, Courier did beat Muster at RG in back-to-back years (92-93). So can't say he never beat a quality clay courter.
 

big ted

Hall of Fame
is this 90s courier vs 80s mats?
maybe im wrong but i think 90s tennis improved too much for mats to win..
too much firepower from courier... he'd have to be really patient & pick his spots tho
 

ibbi

Legend
Jim Courier never beat any great clay court players. He's 9-9 vs the top 10 on clay. Here are the top 10 players he beat and their records on clay vs the top 10:

Agassi, 9-12, .429
Edberg, 11-17, .393
Ivanisevic, 13-12, .520
Korda, 8-11, .421
Chang, 7-13, .350
Sampras, 7-12, .368
Total vs top 10 on clay 55-77, .417

Wilander was 24-17 vs top 10 players on clay. That includes beating clay legend Lendl 4 times on that surface. Lendl on clay was 46-22, .676 vs the top 10.

Wilander's top gear was much higher than Courier's. Courier was fortunate enough to not really face anybody tough on clay. Unfortunately for Wilander, he had Lendl get in his way 10 times; but still managed a respectable 4 times vs him.

It's Wilander and I don't think that it's all that close.
He beat both Muster and Bruguera multiple times on clay... :oops: He also beat Guga on it in his own backyard years after he'd ceased being a top player. Granted, Kuerten was a nobody at the time, but he was a couple of months away from winning Roland Garros, it was on clay, and he was playing in front of a rabid home crowd.
 

vandre

Hall of Fame
courier was extremely good at his peak at roland garros. wilander was unearthly good at roland garros (and almost everywhere but wimbledon) in 1988. to me, courier seemed most comfortable with opponents who showed him the same "kind" of ball. in contrast, mats was the kind of player who could confidently throw everything and the kitchen sink at his opponent. on a hardcourt, courier wins this match easy. on clay, he won't be able to hit through wilander consistently. if he "trees", courier wins a set but wilander will be able to find the courier backhand and blunt courier's forehand enough to walk away with the "w".
 

big ted

Hall of Fame
Please tell me more about this huge jump in tennis between Mats' peak in 88 and Courier's peak in 92.
well the way i see it if an 18 year old 155lb agassi could go 5 sets with mats at his peak, i dont
see why '92 courier wouldnt do better.. but like i said maybe im wrong lol
 

dryeagle

New User
At their peak, JC in 1992. That is the question posed here. He was pretty much unstoppable that year. I think he gives peak Lendl a good fight at Roland Garros too.
 

GameSetR

Rookie
At their peak, JC in 1992. That is the question posed here. He was pretty much unstoppable that year. I think he gives peak Lendl a good fight at Roland Garros too.
I'm not sure about the second sentence. The problem I have w/it is that Courier looked completely helpless against a well past it Lendl. So even while peaking in 92, I don't have much reason to believe he'd be a match for the 85-87 Lendl on clay. Outside of Rafa and Borg, probably no player would be a match for peak Lendl on clay.

A baseline slugfest w/Lendl on clay isn't gonna end well, when Courier lacked the overall game of a Borg or Wilander.

I think prime Lendl beats even the 92 Courier in straight sets.

The question here (Wilander-Courier) is more debatable.
 

dryeagle

New User
I'm not sure about the second sentence. The problem I have w/it is that Courier looked completely helpless against a well past it Lendl. So even while peaking in 92, I don't have much reason to believe he'd be a match for the 85-87 Lendl on clay. Outside of Rafa and Borg, probably no player would be a match for peak Lendl on clay.

A baseline slugfest w/Lendl on clay isn't gonna end well, when Courier lacked the overall game of a Borg or Wilander.

I think prime Lendl beats even the 92 Courier in straight sets.

The question here (Wilander-Courier) is more debatable.
Not a huge JC fan and certainly didn’t have the longevity at the top of the game, But between 1991-93 he won 4 GS and played in a final at every GS. The 92 French he smoked everyone including Agassi easily in SF, a month before Agassi wins Wimbledon. IMO the 92 Courier at RG could go blow to blow with anyone with the exception of Nadal.
 

GameSetR

Rookie
Not a huge JC fan and certainly didn’t have the longevity at the top of the game, But between 1991-93 he won 4 GS and played in a final at every GS. The 92 French he smoked everyone including Agassi easily in SF, a month before Agassi wins Wimbledon. IMO the 92 Courier at RG could go blow to blow with anyone with the exception of Nadal.
I quite like his destruction of his Agassi in the 92 SF. Any destruction of Agassi is fun to watch.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
courier was extremely good at his peak at roland garros. wilander was unearthly good at roland garros (and almost everywhere but wimbledon) in 1988. to me, courier seemed most comfortable with opponents who showed him the same "kind" of ball. in contrast, mats was the kind of player who could confidently throw everything and the kitchen sink at his opponent. on a hardcourt, courier wins this match easy. on clay, he won't be able to hit through wilander consistently. if he "trees", courier wins a set but wilander will be able to find the courier backhand and blunt courier's forehand enough to walk away with the "w".
I'm kind of thinking the same thing. Jim had a lot of power, but Mats was one of the craftiest players ever. On red clay, some of Jim's power would be blunted. Mats had such a good all-around game that I'd favor him somewhat. But hardcourts go to Courier and grass? well flip a coin there....I think Mats tho'
 

NicoMK

Professional
is this 90s courier vs 80s mats?
maybe im wrong but i think 90s tennis improved too much for mats to win..
too much firepower from courier... he'd have to be really patient & pick his spots tho
Well, if you compare tennis in the early 80s VS tennis of the late 90s yes. But the gap is not so huge between, let's say, 1988 and 1992-93. A lot of top players of the 80s did great in the early 90s too.

I see Mats wining Slams until 1992 or 1993 (he was 29 in 1993) if he'd wanted too.
 
I'm not sure about the second sentence. The problem I have w/it is that Courier looked completely helpless against a well past it Lendl. So even while peaking in 92, I don't have much reason to believe he'd be a match for the 85-87 Lendl on clay. Outside of Rafa and Borg, probably no player would be a match for peak Lendl on clay.

A baseline slugfest w/Lendl on clay isn't gonna end well, when Courier lacked the overall game of a Borg or Wilander.

I think prime Lendl beats even the 92 Courier in straight sets.

The question here (Wilander-Courier) is more debatable.
Even if Wilander did better against Lendl, that does not alone prove he is better than 92 Courier. That could be a match up issue. It is just like old grandpa Federer is tougher for Wawrinka than even peak Djokovic.
 
I do agree Courier of 92 RG is better than any Wilander. The way he just crushed through such a devastatingly tough draw. Could NEVER see Wilander doing that. Even if Wilander at his best could win the 92 French with Courier's draw (even that is uncertain) he would never do it as easily as Courier managed it.

Wilander of course is the greater and overall better clay courter, but the question being peaks I would go with Courier for his performance at RG 92 alone.
 

big ted

Hall of Fame
Well, if you compare tennis in the early 80s VS tennis of the late 90s yes. But the gap is not so huge between, let's say, 1988 and 1992-93. A lot of top players of the 80s did great in the early 90s too.

I see Mats wining Slams until 1992 or 1993 (he was 29 in 1993) if he'd wanted too.
mats is a champion so im sure he could have found a way to win matches, i just think with agassi, sampras,
courier, and all the hard hitters emerging, it looked like power tennis was more a necessity than
an option. and also i dont think ive ever seen mats hit a winner from the baseline that wasnt a
passing shot lol so he would definitely have to rely on other options than power to beat these players..
maybe he'd even have a better chance if they were s/v ers, since he could hit his passing shots,
but against aggressive baseliners i think the game was getting too fast for him to wear everyone down..
just my opinion of course but when i see his shots in his prime , they look so floaty and lofty,
not penetrating like courier or agassi's.. so against an aggressive baseliner i think he'd either have
to come to net or make them come to net...he did experiment with alot of racquets after '88/'89 to
try to get more power which i think helped him a little bit. that f200 was a noodle lol
 

GameSetR

Rookie
Mats hit harder than Hewitt, and Hewitt had a highly successful career w/less of an overall game than Mats.

This is all racquet technology. Give the greats from the 70s and 80s modern racquets, and they will adjust. I'm a firm believer that great players will always adjust.

Connors, Borg, Lendl, Wilander, these guys are greats in any era.

A loser like Kyrgios is still gonna be a loser if you put him in the 80s.
 
Mats hit harder than Hewitt, and Hewitt had a highly successful career w/less of an overall game than Mats.

This is all racquet technology. Give the greats from the 70s and 80s modern racquets, and they will adjust. I'm a firm believer that great players will always adjust.

Connors, Borg, Lendl, Wilander, these guys are greats in any era.

A loser like Kyrgios is still gonna be a loser if you put him in the 80s.
Sorry but Mats was not a heavy hitter, at all. He was consistent, good footwork and speed, basically a human backboard, but a hard hitter? Not even close.
 

NicoMK

Professional
I do agree Courier of 92 RG is better than any Wilander. The way he just crushed through such a devastatingly tough draw. Could NEVER see Wilander doing that. Even if Wilander at his best could win the 92 French with Courier's draw (even that is uncertain) he would never do it as easily as Courier managed it.

Wilander of course is the greater and overall better clay courter, but the question being peaks I would go with Courier for his performance at RG 92 alone.
Jim played very well at the French in 1992 indeed. But Mats is overall a much complete player that Jim, very versatile and very smart on (and off) the court. If Mats could own prime Ivan, I can't see him lose against Jim.
But as always all this is based on nothing as it just never happened.
 

NicoMK

Professional
Mats did not own prime Lendl, LOL! Lendl leads Wilander in head to head 15-7, leads in slams, leads in everything. Lets not outright invent facts to try and make a point.
I don't invent facts or try and make a point LOL! If "own" is not the most appropriate word, young Mats beat young Ivan in several major occasions, at the French in 1982 or at the Australian Open in 1983. Then Ivan became a better player and dominated the Tour during the next 3-4 years but Mats still managed to win the French in 1985 against him and 3 years later, Mats won the US Open and took the number one ranking from Ivan. Now, that's something! And in terms of Slams it's pretty close: 8 to 7 for Ivan. Overall Ivan has a better career but where it really counted - the Slams - it's pretty close.

And what would have happened if Mats had not collapsed mentally after his great 1988 run? That, we will never know and it's another story... in the Twilight Zone.
 

hoodjem

G.O.A.T.
Mats did not own prime Lendl, LOL! Lendl leads Wilander in head to head 15-7, leads in slams, leads in everything.
Very true. Even on clay, Lendl leads the H2H 6-4.
But I tend to think of them as fairly evenly matched: Lendl's power vs. Wilander's patience.


I watched the 1988 USO final not long ago.
Nobody owned anybody.

It was a huge, almost-five-hour war of attrition . . . (and patience and frustration).
 
Last edited:

BGod

Legend
I do agree Courier of 92 RG is better than any Wilander. The way he just crushed through such a devastatingly tough draw. Could NEVER see Wilander doing that. Even if Wilander at his best could win the 92 French with Courier's draw (even that is uncertain) he would never do it as easily as Courier managed it.

Wilander of course is the greater and overall better clay courter, but the question being peaks I would go with Courier for his performance at RG 92 alone.
Lendl-Gerulaitis-Clerc-Vilas (82)
Leconte-McEnroe-Lendl (85)
 

big ted

Hall of Fame
Mats did not own prime Lendl, LOL! Lendl leads Wilander in head to head 15-7, leads in slams, leads in everything. Lets not outright invent facts to try and make a point.
lendl actually beat wilander the last 8 out of 9 times they played with the one loss at the USO when lendls shoulder was allegedly hurt..
lendl actually seemed to have more trouble with edberg, to which ironically courier had a winning record against including a win at wimbledon..
i dont really have a point other than to confuse things more lol
 

Olli Jokinen

Semi-Pro
lendl actually beat wilander the last 8 out of 9 times they played with the one loss at the USO when lendls shoulder was allegedly hurt..
lendl actually seemed to have more trouble with edberg, to which ironically courier had a winning record against including a win at wimbledon..
i dont really have a point other than to confuse things more lol
Wilander after 1988 is not the same player. And Wilander was also a completely different player (pre 1989) when he showed up for grand slams. He delivered! On clay, I think that Courier was basically a less talented version of Lendl and that peak Wilander would have figured out how to beat him.
 
Last edited:

GameSetR

Rookie
Wilander after 1988 is not the same player. And Wilander was also a completely different player (pre 1989). When he showed up for grand slams, he delivered! On clay, I think that Courier was basically a less talented version of Lendl and that peak Wilander would have figured out how to beat him.
I agree.
 

big ted

Hall of Fame
Wilander after 1988 is not the same player. And Wilander was also a completely different player (pre 1989). When he showed up for grand slams, he delivered! On clay, I think that Courier was basically a less talented version of Lendl and that peak Wilander would have figured out how to beat him.
well i see ur point but they only played twice after the '88USO so if u remove those lendl won the last 6 out of 7 times they played up to and including that 88USO where lendl was apparently hurt.
wilander did beat lendl in big matches from the beginning up to 85FO but i would argue lendl wasnt the same player he was until the 85USO, that was his butterfly
metamorphosis. i think courier played more intense and aggressive from the baseline than lendl... he kinda had to trying to hit as many forehands as possible, so i dont think
lendl and couriers games were so identical.. lendl was willing to play more patiently from the baseline depending on who he played and couriers strategy was more in your face. ..
anyway yea lendl had a perfect record against courier i think he really knew how to expose his backhand esp with his power, but and this is just my opinion lol, i think it would be
difficult for wilander to do that esp on clay since he didnt really hit very hard. he'd really have to move the ball around alot and come to net i think? i remember lendl/wilander having
some moonball fests on clay and i dont think courier would really play into that so it would be a different matchup i think :unsure:
 

Olli Jokinen

Semi-Pro
well i see ur point but they only played twice after the '88USO so if u remove those lendl won the last 6 out of 7 times they played up to and including that 88USO where lendl was apparently hurt.
wilander did beat lendl in big matches from the beginning up to 85FO but i would argue lendl wasnt the same player he was until the 85USO, that was his butterfly
metamorphosis. i think courier played more intense and aggressive from the baseline than lendl... he kinda had to trying to hit as many forehands as possible, so i dont think
lendl and couriers games were so identical.. lendl was willing to play more patiently from the baseline depending on who he played and couriers strategy was more in your face. ..
anyway yea lendl had a perfect record against courier i think he really knew how to expose his backhand esp with his power, but and this is just my opinion lol, i think it would be
difficult for wilander to do that esp on clay since he didnt really hit very hard. he'd really have to move the ball around alot and come to net i think? i remember lendl/wilander having
some moonball fests on clay and i dont think courier would really play into that so it would be a different matchup i think :unsure:
You might be right, but unfortunately we will never now. I do think that Wilander would make Courier work really hard for the points by using his slice backhand and ability to run down basically everything – plus the occasional net rush. And Courier's passing shots were not in any way as good from the backhand side as Lendl's. Would probably be pretty interesting to watch.
 

CyBorg

Legend
I don't think Courier's competition on clay in 91-92 was as good as Wilander's. Bruguera took care of him in '93 and '94 and he was done.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
I don't think Courier's competition on clay in 91-92 was as good as Wilander's. Bruguera took care of him in '93 and '94 and he was done.
It's a very tough call, but I still tip it to Wilander. Guy could win on all sorts of surfaces against all types of players. He really was pretty special and somewhat underrated. It was too bad he fell from the peak as quickly as he attained it. I would have expected him to be #1 at least for 2-3 seasons, at least before Sampras became dominant.
 

droliver

Professional
Although they weren’t separated by too many years in age (6), their peaks seasons (4-5 years), or some racquet technology gap, Courier (with Agassi) was kind of at the tip of the spear for the next evolution of the game into power base liners emerging over the next 10-15 years.

Mats was certainly the better player relative to his era, but he would have been curb stomped by Courier peak vs peak the way the game changed rapidly in the late 80’s/early 90’s.
 

Olli Jokinen

Semi-Pro
Although they weren’t separated by too many years in age (6), their peaks seasons (4-5 years), or some racquet technology gap, Courier (with Agassi) was kind of at the tip of the spear for the next evolution of the game into power base liners emerging over the next 10-15 years.

Mats was certainly the better player relative to his era, but he would have been curb stomped by Courier peak vs peak the way the game changed rapidly in the late 80’s/early 90’s.
I don't think the racket technology is relevant. Courier played with the PS85 (like Edberg and Sampras). That racket was almost as old as Wilander's Rossignol. And Lendl was the original power baseliner (who kicked Couriers butt every time).
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
I don't think the racket technology is relevant. Courier played with the PS85 (like Edberg and Sampras). That racket was almost as old as Wilander's Rossignol. And Lendl was the original power baseliner (who kicked Couriers butt every time).
We seem to have a generation of folks who believe 'power baseline' is a new thing.....Connors and Lendl were the original hard hitting baseline guys....who were still playing into the '90's...Wilander was not a 'power' baseliner but he was a fantastic counter puncher who could mix it up...so much so that you could never count him out against anyone, ever.
 

GameSetR

Rookie
Although they weren’t separated by too many years in age (6), their peaks seasons (4-5 years), or some racquet technology gap, Courier (with Agassi) was kind of at the tip of the spear for the next evolution of the game into power base liners emerging over the next 10-15 years.

Mats was certainly the better player relative to his era, but he would have been curb stomped by Courier peak vs peak the way the game changed rapidly in the late 80’s/early 90’s.

This is the dumbest post I've ever seen in my life. By far.

Wilander consistently went toe-to-toe with a PRIME Lendl and won his share of matches.

An aging Lendl against a PRIME Courier was man against boy. Lendl destroyed him.

So what in the living Hell makes you think that Courier would overpower Wilander?
 

goldengate14

Professional
Jim Courier never beat any great clay court players. He's 9-9 vs the top 10 on clay. Here are the top 10 players he beat and their records on clay vs the top 10:

Agassi, 9-12, .429
Edberg, 11-17, .393
Ivanisevic, 13-12, .520
Korda, 8-11, .421
Chang, 7-13, .350
Sampras, 7-12, .368
Total vs top 10 on clay 55-77, .417

Wilander was 24-17 vs top 10 players on clay. That includes beating clay legend Lendl 4 times on that surface. Lendl on clay was 46-22, .676 vs the top 10.

Wilander's top gear was much higher than Courier's. Courier was fortunate enough to not really face anybody tough on clay. Unfortunately for Wilander, he had Lendl get in his way 10 times; but still managed a respectable 4 times vs him.

It's Wilander and I don't think that it's all that close.
Courier would wipe the floor with wilander on clay as wilander had no weapons which on clay from 90s onwards was a huge achilles heel.
 

NicoMK

Professional
If Mats had wanted, he could have won the French at least till 1992-1993. If he'd remained at the top, I can't see him lose against Chang, Gomez and probably not Courier. Bruguera in 1993? I'm not sure either. I'm not saying that he would have played the final each time till 1992 but had he played the final, I don't think he would have lost. Many seem to forget that Mats was the best clay court player of the 80s, along with Ivan.

He was maybe the greatest tactician the history of the game, he was a great mover especially on clay and he could stay on the court forever. No great weapon? That's to forget his backhand and making barely no mistake is a great weapon, ask Djokovic's opponents.

But all this never happened (sadly...) so we will never know.
 
Last edited:

droliver

Professional
Wilander consistently went toe-to-toe with a PRIME Lendl and won his share of matches.
An aging Lendl against a PRIME Courier was man against boy. Lendl destroyed him.
So what in the living Hell makes you think that Courier would overpower Wilander?
Wilander is an all time great and was my favorite player (I even used a Rossignol from 1982-1990 because of him), but he got boat raced over the back end of his career by Lendl’s power, losing 10 of their last 12 meetings, most in straight sets. He was already getting overpowered by power baselining 1.0 and would have not been very competitive against the Gen X group that took that to the next level as I see it. Courier in his best years would handle him fairly easy I think
 
Top