Wilander vs Courier on clay

Olli Jokinen

Semi-Pro
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
Remember this discussion is peak vs peak. Not Wilander post '88.
 

toth

Professional
For me Courier-Agassi was a better match than Lendl-Wilander.
Maybe just better rackets, i dont know, but still better to see Courier-Agassi...
 

hoodjem

G.O.A.T.
Mecir.
The "Swede killer."


(Stopped Mats in the quarters at Wimbledon in '88. Otherwise . . .
Wilander hated playing him. )
 
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Winners or Errors

Hall of Fame
Up through 1988, Wilander would beat Courier. He ate ball bashers for breakfast, and though I always enjoyed watching Jim play, a ball basher he was. Post 1988, who didn’t Mats lose to?
 

Winners or Errors

Hall of Fame
For me Courier-Agassi was a better match than Lendl-Wilander.
Maybe just better rackets, i dont know, but still better to see Courier-Agassi...
Courier v Agassi = two identical styles. No way you’d enjoy Wilander if you want to see two guys just trying to rip the cover off the ball. It wasn’t his style.
 

vsbabolat

G.O.A.T.
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.
After 1988 Mats unfortunately was a different player. 1992 was a pretty bad year for Mats
 

hughgarrett

New User
How are we defining peak? A set of years? A year? A tournament? A match? Yes, JC was great in the 92 RG, but there are numerous players that were unstoppable in a tournament (hence them winning the tourney). Agassi winning Wimbledon one year does not make him the greatest grass court player of all time, although he looked like it in one tourney. Mats had a better and longer peak, IMO.
 

BTURNER

Legend
On clay, things being fairly equal, I normally look at the comfortable relaxed footwork, the instinct behind the slide. Wilander was born with clay between his toes. Courier was pretty much a cement foot. Its a real advantage on those biggest points to have grown up practicing, playing, retrieving and winning round after round in the juniors on that dirt. You can try to compare Courier's strokes and power to Lendl all you want, but Lendl was raised to slide into the ball just like Wilander, not Courier.
 
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jrepac

Hall of Fame
Courier had great success on clay, but he always struck me as a hard court guy....whereas Wilander seemed very natural on the clay. Still, many/most of your GOAT baseliners could play quite well on all surfaces, so it becomes a matter of degree.
 

2nd Serve Ace

Hall of Fame
Oh gosh, 92 RG Courier would crush 88 RG Wilander!

JC has a serve as a serious weapon. For Mats, its a get the point started shot. Courier maintains consistently better depth and spin on groundies. He also has very effective defense and a reasonably good BH slice.

Obviously the commonality is Agassi in the semis. Courier is always misfooting and robbing AA of time for the entire straight set loss. Against Wilander, 145 lb, jean shorts AA always has all day to hit shots, but just doesn't execute enough to pull out the 5 setter.
 
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mental midget

Hall of Fame
good question. i'd say mats was the all-around more skilled player but on his best day, i think courier's offense and physicality give him the edge.
 

Olli Jokinen

Semi-Pro
Oh gosh, 92 RG Courier would crush 88 RG Wilander!

JC has a serve as a serious weapon. For Mats, its a get the point started shot. Courier maintains consistently better depth and spin on groundies. He also has very effective defense and a reasonably good BH slice.

Obviously the commonality is Agassi in the semis. Courier is always misfooting and robbing AA of time for the entire straight set loss. Against Wilander, 145 lb, jean shorts AA always has all day to hit shots, but just doesn't execute enough to pull out the 5 setter.
Lendl did everything better than Courier, and Wilander beat him several times (although Lendl had the better H2H). Courier never beat Lendl. Peak Wilander was a smart, fast guy with a lot of shot variety and good volleys, he figured hardhitters out. Especially on clay. He probably would have done that with peak Courier too.
 

2nd Serve Ace

Hall of Fame
Lendl did everything better than Courier, and Wilander beat him several times (although Lendl had the better H2H). Courier never beat Lendl. Peak Wilander was a smart, fast guy with a lot of shot variety and good volleys, he figured hardhitters out. Especially on clay. He probably would have done that with peak Courier too.
Not even a chance. Courier's top clay FH and serve are so far different from Lendl's that Mats could have not countered it.

FWIW, where the heck is Ivan in 88 or 92 RG?
Oh that's right, he got beat by scrubs. Please stop interjecting him into this.
 
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Olli Jokinen

Semi-Pro
Not even a chance. Courier's top clay FH and serve are so far different from Lendl's that Mats could have not countered it.

FWIW, where the heck is Ivan in 88 or 92 RG?
Oh that's right, he got beat by scrubs. Please stop interjecting him into this.
Anyway, he was kicking Courier's ass every time. You can't just dismiss that Wilander would be able to beat Courier. And are you really saying that Courier had a better forehand and serve on clay than Lendl? Peak Wilander was one of the best returners ever, and you could not outserve him on clay. It's not like Courier had a legendary serve. Pretty awesome forehand, though, until it somehow wasn't anymore. Maybe he lost interest like Wilander.
 

2nd Serve Ace

Hall of Fame
Anyway, he was kicking Courier's ass every time. You can't just dismiss that Wilander would be able to beat Courier. And are you really saying that Courier had a better forehand and serve on clay than Lendl? Peak Wilander was one of the best returners ever, and you could not outserve him on clay. It's not like Courier had a legendary serve. Pretty awesome forehand, though, until it somehow wasn't anymore. Maybe he lost interest like Wilander.
Not sure who J. Ocins or J. Svensson are, but they both beat Lendl at these respective F opens. I guess his "legendary" FH didn't save him.

And yes Courier's serve is a million times better than Wilanders.
 

CyBorg

Legend
Worth noting that 1988 Wilander wasn't at his peak on clay, far from it. He struggled that entire spring on clay and then almost lost to Zivojinovic in the third round at RG. But that seemed to light a fire under him and made him mentally sharper.

I would say he was better on the surface in 1985 and 1987 for sure. 1984 and some others years perhaps as well.

I don't think Courier wins any RG's in the 80s. Early 90s was a short window of opportunity for him and he took advantage.
 

Olli Jokinen

Semi-Pro
Not sure who J. Ocins or J. Svensson are, but they both beat Lendl at these respective F opens. I guess his "legendary" FH didn't save him.

And yes Courier's serve is a million times better than Wilanders.
I never said Wilander's serve was better than Courier's. I just said that you can't beat peak Wilander just by serving well on clay.

And are you really implying that Lendl wasn't good on clay because he lost to Svensson who, by the way, was 3-2 against Courier?

And again: Lendl's legendary forehand was better than Couriers and he kicked his ass with it every single time. Courier would be the first to admit it.
 
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