Will Vilas' 681 total match wins on clay ever be broken?

tennisjedi

Hall of Fame
How did Vilas win that much on clay? Did he just grind out only clay tournaments week in week out?

Orantes is 2nd with 569 and Nadal is in 3rd place at 474.
 
I would highly doubt it.

Today's players no longer have the marathon schedules of the 1970s and '80s, and I'd say the longer term trend will be for even fewer matches per season in the future.

Also the more rigidly structured ATP Tour demands that players of Vilas' standard now have to go where the M1000s are, i.e. outdoor hardcourts in summer, indoor hardcourts after the US Open. They no longer have the opportunity to scurry down to South America for a Latin clay swing after Wimbledon, the way guys like Perez Roldan, Berasategui, Mancini et al used to do in the '80s and '90s.

Rafa was the only modern player with any shot at it, simply because he played 5/6/7 matches at almost every clay tournament he entered. But even then he averaged "only" 25-30 clay matches per season, and is still 150 200 short of Vilas after a 20 year career.

If Nadal couldn't get close, I don't see anyone else doing any better.
 
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buscemi

Hall of Fame
I don't think that any player going forward will even play 681 matches on clay. Nadal has had a long career and has played a lot of clay court tennis, but, according to Tennis Abstract, he's still played only 525 clay court matches (478-47).
 
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Gizo

Hall of Fame
Muster won 111 / played 116 matches on clay in 1995-1996. It would take more than 12 seasons of clay court wins at that rate to get to 681 victories. It would take almost 11.75 seasons of clay court appearances at that rate to even to get to 681 matches.

Vilas' actual total could be even higher as well. For example there was talk of him compiling a 50 match winning streak in 1977 at the time instead of a 46 match streak, including 4 matches at a tournament in Rye (also on har-tru) just before the USO in 1977 (clearly what was an official tournament and what wasn't was even more chaotic in the 70s than it was in the 80s).

His total will have gradually increased over time, as numerous tournaments were previously wrongly listed as being played on hard courts instead of clay before corrections were made, such as the Canadian Open pre-1979 (which he won in 1974 and 1976), Virginia Beach (which he won in 1977) etc.
 
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urban

Legend
Has anyone numbers of clay matches won for Tilden, Drobny, Patty and Santana. Laver in 1962 won 13 clay tournaments (not matches) alone.
 
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Drob

Hall of Fame
How did Vilas win that much on clay? Did he just grind out only clay tournaments week in week out?

Orantes is 2nd with 569 and Nadal is in 3rd place at 474.

Vilas' clay record is, of course, one of the most impressive ever and his total wins especially so.

However:

Tilden: 737 Clay Match Wins

Vilas: 681

Drobny: 659

Orantes: 569

Pietrangeli: 535

Santana: 482

Nadal: 474
 
Has anyone numbers of clay matches won for Tilden, Drobny, Patty and Santana. Laver in 1962 won 13 clay tournaments (not matches) alone.

The Tennis Base's numbers are cited on Wikipedia's all-time records page:

RkdiSbE.png


Edit: looks like other sources ( e.g. as cited by @Drob ) may have a different set of numbers.
 

buscemi

Hall of Fame
Looks like a user on here did a study and ended up with

Total regular wins on clay
Player Wins​
1. Bill Tilden 744​
2. Guillermo Vilas 699​
 

Drob

Hall of Fame
The Tennis Base's numbers are cited on Wikipedia's all-time records page:

RkdiSbE.png


Edit: looks like other sources ( e.g. as cited by @Drob
[/QUOTE]

[QUOTE="King_olaf_the_hairy, post: 18017758, member: 783233"]
USER] ) may have a different set of numbers.
[/QUOTE]

the numbers I cited [B]are from thetennisbase.com.[/B] Wikipedia again. :rolleyes:

i just double-checked the numbers I cited and they are correct, per thetennisbase.com. If you have access, go to the first page for the individual player and click the "career match record" option and scroll down and you'll find the records by surface. These are the numbers I reported, and doing the search in that manner, the numbers i put are correct.

i also check on Patty and he has 499 clay wins, per TB

However, on double checking, I noticed TB is internally contradictory. At the "home page" it has "Stats". If you choose "Match Stats" you can search by surface, and selecting Clay brings up this list.



[TABLE]
[TR]
[TD]1[/TD]
[TD][LEFT] [URL='https://app.thetennisbase.com/?enlace=playern&player1=DROBNY, JAROSLAV']DROBNY, JAROSLAV[/URL] [/LEFT][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]813[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]654[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]159[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]80,44 %[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][/TD]

[TD][/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD][/TD]

[TD] 2[/TD]
[TD][LEFT] [URL='https://app.thetennisbase.com/?enlace=playern&player1=VILAS, GUILLERMO']VILAS, GUILLERMO[/URL] [/LEFT][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]807[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]640[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]167[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]79,31 %[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD][/TD]

[TD] 3[/TD]
[TD][LEFT] [URL='https://app.thetennisbase.com/?enlace=playern&player1=TILDEN, BILL']TILDEN, BILL[/URL] [/LEFT][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]759[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]637[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]122[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]83,93 %[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD][/TD]

[TD] 4[/TD]
[TD][LEFT] [URL='https://app.thetennisbase.com/?enlace=playern&player1=ORANTES, MANUEL']ORANTES, MANUEL[/URL] [/LEFT][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]730[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]558[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]172[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]76,44 %[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD][/TD]

[TD] 5[/TD]
[TD][LEFT] [URL='https://app.thetennisbase.com/?enlace=playern&player1=MULLOY, GARDNAR']MULLOY, GARDNAR[/URL] [/LEFT][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]659[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]510[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]149[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]77,39 %[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD][/TD]

[TD] 6[/TD]
[TD][LEFT] [URL='https://app.thetennisbase.com/?enlace=playern&player1=PIETRANGELI, NICOLA']PIETRANGELI, NICOLA[/URL] [/LEFT][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]646[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]482[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]164[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]74,61 %[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD][/TD]

[TD] 7[/TD]
[TD][LEFT] [URL='https://app.thetennisbase.com/?enlace=playern&player1=MERLO, GIUSEPPE']MERLO, GIUSEPPE[/URL] [/LEFT][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]617[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]423[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]194[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]68,56 %[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD][/TD]

[TD] 8[/TD]
[TD][LEFT] [URL='https://app.thetennisbase.com/?enlace=playern&player1=PATTY, BUDGE']PATTY, BUDGE[/URL] [/LEFT][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]613[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]499[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]114[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]81,40 %[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD][/TD]

[TD] 9[/TD]
[TD][LEFT] [URL='https://app.thetennisbase.com/?enlace=playern&player1=MULLIGAN, MARTIN']MULLIGAN, MARTIN[/URL] [/LEFT][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]580[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]433[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]147[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]74,66 %[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD][/TD]

[TD] 10[/TD]
[TD][LEFT] [URL='https://app.thetennisbase.com/?enlace=playern&player1=EMERSON, ROY']EMERSON, ROY[/URL] [/LEFT][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]578[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]468[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]110[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]80,97 %[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD][/TD]

[TD] 11[/TD]
[TD][LEFT] [URL='https://app.thetennisbase.com/?enlace=playern&player1=ROSEWALL, KEN']ROSEWALL, KEN[/URL] [/LEFT][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]568[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]416[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]152[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]73,24 %[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD][/TD]

[TD] 12[/TD]
[TD][LEFT] [URL='https://app.thetennisbase.com/?enlace=playern&player1=HIGUERAS, JOSE']HIGUERAS, JOSE[/URL] [/LEFT][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]550[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]379[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]171[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]68,91 %[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD][/TD]

[TD] 13[/TD]
[TD][LEFT] [URL='https://app.thetennisbase.com/?enlace=playern&player1=LAVER, ROD']LAVER, ROD[/URL] [/LEFT][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]549[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]436[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]113[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]79,42 %[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD][/TD]

[TD] 14[/TD]
[TD][LEFT] [URL='https://app.thetennisbase.com/?enlace=playern&player1=RITCHIE, JOSIAH']RITCHIE, JOSIAH[/URL] [/LEFT][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]546[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]442[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]104[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][CENTER]80,95 %[/CENTER][/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]
i stopped at 14 because these are all the players w 400 wins.
My theory, which can be debunked, is that the Match Stats list lagged behind the new findings by [USER=755000]@NoMercy
and other researchers (Krosero probably, and others) that were ongoing. I think the new findings were added to the player's totals in the individual player profiles, but at some point the "Match Stats" were not automatically updated consonant with the player statistical updates. Meaning, I would go with the higher numbers.

As you can see, the Match Stats list is also quite different from the Wikipedia list.[/USER]
 

Drob

Hall of Fame
Okay, that post got messed up - i guess i can't transfer a TB list.

In sum, TB has two sets of numbers. 1. Those on the individual player profiles, which I faithfully reported. 2. Those on the "home page" under "Match Facts". Both sets of numbers are distinctly different from the Wikipedia numbers. So Wiki did not get its numbers from TB. And, for the conjectural reason stated, I would go with the higher numbers, which are the ones from the individual player pages, under "Career Match Record."
 
Nope, I can't see anyone ever getting close. The Tour of the last 25 years is too rigidly structured to even allow players to play that many matches...much less have that many tournaments floating around to get to that # of wins. The days of tennis stars having these marathon schedules and records is gone (yet another reason why trying to the stupid "GOAT" debate being based on # of Slams or weeks at #1 is idiotic. Too many different eras and variables in those different eras to make an apples to apples comparison)
 

Gizo

Hall of Fame
At least Orantes won a clay court major and in such an excellent way, beating Nastase, then mounting an incredible fight back against Vilas, then comprehensively outplaying Connors after an incredibly short turnaround time and hardly any rest.

But still seeing that he won 569 matches on clay, I think it's a big shame that he never won the title at RG. To me he's by far the best player, both in terms of raw ability (what a joy he was to watch when he was on-song, unleashing his magic and displaying his tremendous craft and touch), and credentials on the surface, not to strike gold there in the open era. He literally won everything else of note on the surface, including Rome, Hamburg x 2, Monte-Carlo, Barcelona x 3 and Madrid in Europe, and the US Open, Canadian Open, Indianapolis x 3 and Boston x 2 on har-tru.

He was favoured by many people to win the title in 1972 before he was upset by Patrick Proisy in the semis - he had won 16 matches in a row including the Italian Open and a 6-0 6-3 6-3 demolition of Proisy in the Davis Cup in the same Roland Garros stadium 2 weeks earlier. An all Spanish final between the 'old' Gimeno and the young Orantes would have been fascinating. 2 years later, he was of course 2 sets to love up against an 18 year old Borg in the final, before Borg fought back very strongly during the last 3 sets. In 1977 he suffered a lower back injury during his run to the final at Hamburg (where he also suffered a neck injury the following year vs. Vilas in his SF), playing through he pain barrier during his defeat to Bertolucci, but then had to withdraw from RG (when if healthy he could have been a serious title contender).

On the flip side Courier, only winning 115 matches on clay during his career per the ATP website (for players from earlier generations it's highly unlikely that the listed figures will be correct - for players that spent at least the bulk of their careers in the 90s onwards, they'll at least be more accurate), but back to back RG titles (including a very dominant title defence in 1992), nearly winning a third consecutive title there in 1993, a 4th consecutive semi-final appearance there in 1994, and back to back Italian Open titles, was incredible 'efficiency'.

I'd assume that the only other player that both played at least predominantly within the open era and won an open era clay court major (so excluding Rosewall, Laver and Gimeno although the first 2 at least definitely still won more open era clay court matches than Courier), with fewer wins on clay was Chang with 107. Apart from Chang, I'd assume that the only other player to reach a clay court major final in the open era, and record fewer wins on the surface, was Murray (109).
 

urban

Legend
I have seen Orantes a few times live from nearby. Had big teeth, which he showed often in his grin, a very friendly guy towards the public. A left hander, he was a very crafty, gentle touch player with deceptive shots, without much power, but fine court coverage, who could spin a web of slice and spin shots around the opponent. Had a good backhand, mostly slice. Surprisingly won the Masters indoors 1976 at Houston over Fibak. However, in an indoor challenge match at Las Vegas, he had no chance against Connors. I still think, that Santana at his best, was the more dangerous player, because he had more fire power with his topspin,, and Gimeno was more solid in his all- court game over all surfaces.
 

Gizo

Hall of Fame
Mikael Pernfors, the 1986 French Open finalist, was 38-42 on clay, Martin Verkerk, the 2003 French Open finalist, was 32-31, and Petr Korda, the 1992 French Open finalist, was 90-66

Thanks. Pernfors reaching a final at RG, with a negative W/L record on the surface, no other final appearances on the surface, and no other match wins at RG apart from during that year was quite something. On the women's side you had Myskina only making it past the QF stage once in 28 / 29 appearances at tournaments at tier 2 level or above on clay, but with that one time being her RG title run.

On a general note, it was big deal when Bruguera beat Courier in the 1993 final and had a negative W/L record on other surfaces at that point though he did looking to be at least improving there). He was probably the first RG champion at least in the open era, that could actually be labelled as a clay court specialist at the time.

And while he'd won a couple of matches at RG the previous year, Chang growing up playing predominantly on hard courts in California and having played in so few matches at any level on clay before, and then winning the ultimate prize on the surface at the age of 17, was also quite something. If he'd grown on up in Europe on clay it still would have been a hugely impressive feat, but against that backdrop it's even more amazing.
 

WCT

Professional
Mikael Pernfors, the 1986 French Open finalist, was 38-42 on clay, Martin Verkerk, the 2003 French Open finalist, was 32-31, and Petr Korda, the 1992 French Open finalist, was 90-66
Wow, I had no recollection of Pernfors having such a mediocre clay record.
 

urban

Legend
It helped, that clay or a clay- like surface was the dominant surface in the tennis boom years of the mid 1970s, worldwide, not only in Central Europe and South America. In the pre- open era, grass was dominant in Britain, US, and Australia, although, as Tildens numbers show, there were more clay events in the US, than i had ever imagined. Tilden never played that much in Europe as amateur, maybe only in 1930, and later as pro. In the mid 1970s, there were calls for longer rallies, better adjusted for television, and therefore in North America, most main events in the summer circuit turned to clay or har-tru, including the US Open, the US pro at Boston, the Canadian Open, Bretton Woods, and most of the leading up events to Forest Hills. They added up to traditional clay events like Houston, Miami, Washington or Indianapolis, which had been longer played on clay. So for a short while, ca. 60-70% of the whole tour was played on clay or har-tru. Would be a dream circuit for somone like Nadal. This trend ended, when the US Open turned to hard court and Flushing, and with it most of the US and Canadian events.. Many experts and media believed, these faster courts, would be a more distinct and specific US surface.
 
The Tennis Base's numbers are cited on Wikipedia's all-time records page:
Okay, that post got messed up - i guess i can't transfer a TB list.

In sum, TB has two sets of numbers. 1. Those on the individual player profiles, which I faithfully reported. 2. Those on the "home page" under "Match Facts". Both sets of numbers are distinctly different from the Wikipedia numbers. So Wiki did not get its numbers from TB. And, for the conjectural reason stated, I would go with the higher numbers, which are the ones from the individual player pages, under "Career Match Record."

Wikipedia at it again. What I should have written was "Wikipedia has cited The Tennis Base". I'm guessing maybe the TB numbers have been adjusted since originally being referenced, and WP hasn't updated them? Unfortunately I don't have access to TB just now, so had to rely on the secondary source.

Can you access the Tennis Base ok? It seems like signing up has been disabled for quite a while.
 

Drob

Hall of Fame
Wikipedia at it again. What I should have written was "Wikipedia has cited The Tennis Base". I'm guessing maybe the TB numbers have been adjusted since originally being referenced, and WP hasn't updated them? Unfortunately I don't have access to TB just now, so had to rely on the secondary source.

Can you access the Tennis Base ok? It seems like signing up has been disabled for quite a while.
What you wrote is fine. Clearly, there is some uncertainty in the numbers. And maybe Tilden and/or Drobny have more clay victories than Vilas and maybe not. Given the number of clay tournaments they won, it would not be at all surprising that they do have more total match victories.

Of course, I go with TB over Wikipedia w/o knowing whether WK has some superior source (which I doubt). But the discrepancy w/in TB is bothersome. I may try to find out if there is an explanation. I just have to think that because TB discontinued updating in 2020, the individual numbers (the most recent) did not get transferred to the Match Facts page.
 
At least Orantes won a clay court major and in such an excellent way, beating Nastase, then mounting an incredible fight back against Vilas, then comprehensively outplaying Connors after an incredibly short turnaround time and hardly any rest.

But still seeing that he won 569 matches on clay, I think it's a big shame that he never won the title at RG. To me he's by far the best player, both in terms of raw ability (what a joy he was to watch when he was on-song, unleashing his magic and displaying his tremendous craft and touch), and credentials on the surface, not to strike gold there in the open era. He literally won everything else of note on the surface, including Rome, Hamburg x 2, Monte-Carlo, Barcelona x 3 and Madrid in Europe, and the US Open, Canadian Open, Indianapolis x 3 and Boston x 2 on har-tru.

He was favoured by many people to win the title in 1972 before he was upset by Patrick Proisy in the semis - he had won 16 matches in a row including the Italian Open and a 6-0 6-3 6-3 demolition of Proisy in the Davis Cup in the same Roland Garros stadium 2 weeks earlier. An all Spanish final between the 'old' Gimeno and the young Orantes would have been fascinating. 2 years later, he was of course 2 sets to love up against an 18 year old Borg in the final, before Borg fought back very strongly during the last 3 sets. In 1977 he suffered a lower back injury during his run to the final at Hamburg (where he also suffered a neck injury the following year vs. Vilas in his SF), playing through he pain barrier during his defeat to Bertolucci, but then had to withdraw from RG (when if healthy he could have been a serious title contender).

On the flip side Courier, only winning 115 matches on clay during his career per the ATP website (for players from earlier generations it's highly unlikely that the listed figures will be correct - for players that spent at least the bulk of their careers in the 90s onwards, they'll at least be more accurate), but back to back RG titles (including a very dominant title defence in 1992), nearly winning a third consecutive title there in 1993, a 4th consecutive semi-final appearance there in 1994, and back to back Italian Open titles, was incredible 'efficiency'.

I'd assume that the only other player that both played at least predominantly within the open era and won an open era clay court major (so excluding Rosewall, Laver and Gimeno although the first 2 at least definitely still won more open era clay court matches than Courier), with fewer wins on clay was Chang with 107. Apart from Chang, I'd assume that the only other player to reach a clay court major final in the open era, and record fewer wins on the surface, was Murray (109).
Gizmo, I have to say...I love when you post summaries like this. Orantes was indeed very talented. I'm always amazed at how he straight setted Connors in that USO Finals, with hardly any rest after that all-time comeback in the SFs vs Vilas. He somehow gets underrated in terms of great clay courters of the 70s, as Nastase, Vilas, and of course Borg grabbed all the headlines. He came so close in '74 at RG against a teenage Borg, and I think he gets more remembered if he win there as well. He had won all the big clay tournaments in Europe (and several in North America)...and winning in Paris would've really made his resume stand out even more in the eyes of fans

Courier's reign over RG in the early 90s has always been fascinating to me as well. The last American male to do so (Agassi did win RG and had numerous other chances, but had his own issues to deal with), and the last one I can see doing so for a while too
 

Gizo

Hall of Fame
Gizmo, I have to say...I love when you post summaries like this. Orantes was indeed very talented. I'm always amazed at how he straight setted Connors in that USO Finals, with hardly any rest after that all-time comeback in the SFs vs Vilas. He somehow gets underrated in terms of great clay courters of the 70s, as Nastase, Vilas, and of course Borg grabbed all the headlines. He came so close in '74 at RG against a teenage Borg, and I think he gets more remembered if he win there as well. He had won all the big clay tournaments in Europe (and several in North America)...and winning in Paris would've really made his resume stand out even more in the eyes of fans

Courier's reign over RG in the early 90s has always been fascinating to me as well. The last American male to do so (Agassi did win RG and had numerous other chances, but had his own issues to deal with), and the last one I can see doing so for a while too

Orantes was so much fun to watch with his mixture of spins and pace, crazy angles, among the best dropshots that I've ever seen and his pet shot the offensive topspin lob which was a thing of beauty - that shot really served him well vs. Vilas at the 1975 USO.

I was impressed that Courier could easily swat aside players on clay, that were brought up on the surface and looked like they could rally all day long on it. His service motion and the kick it generated and bludgeoning forehand were devastatingly effective, and his insane fitness also helped greatly. Even during the 5th set of the 1993 RG final that he lost, he was clearly the fitter player, and he looked like he could physically play on for a lot longer.

Rosset at the Olympics in 1992, did basically set out the perfect tactical blueprint on how to beat him, hitting down the line to his forehand, forcing him to hit running forehands and reducing his ability to tee up his inside out forehand, and boxing him in the forehand corner, which would also then make him more vulnerable on his backhand side.

Almost a third of Courier's clay court wins during his career came at RG from 1991-1994, and in Rome from 1992-1993. His QF against Medvedev at Monte-Carlo in 1994, was one of the most enjoyable clay court matches that I saw during the 90s.
 
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