With the French Open coming up in May, it only makes sense to list the top five players on Clay Courts.
The Australian Open just finished. Soon, the pros will be transitioning from hard courts to clay courts. This will be a challenge for some but something to look forward to for others like Rafael Nadal and Stanislas Wawrinka. Today, we will be talking about the best five players on Clay in all of history.
5. Carlos Moya
In 1998, Carlos Moya won the French Open and became Number One soon after. Before retiring, he had a 575-319 record. He won a total of 16 Clay Court titles as well as coaching Raonic who would later go on to finish 2016 with a 52-17 record. In 2017, he joined forces with Nadal. Nadal has shown great success, reaching the Australian Open final, losing to Federer in a five set match for the ages.
4. Roger Federer
Though Roger Federer only holds one French Open, this is by no means an indication of his skill on clay. He could perhaps be placed higher on this list if not for Nadal’s dominance in his era. He has reached four French Open finals, and he finally completed the grand slam in 2009, defeating Soderling in four sets. He has reached sixteen clay court Masters finals, winning six of them. If not for Nadal, Federer could have another five grand slams. But alas, their rivalry is one that will live on in history.
3. Guillermo Vilas
Many do not know the name Guillermo Vilas. He was in the age of Bjorn Borg and Jimmy Connors. Though he was more of a silent player, he managed to uphold the spot Number One for a period of time. He has made it to four French Open finals even though he’s only won a single title. However, the most impressive thing in his arsenal is the fact that he’s had a 53 straight win-streak on clay. Fun fact: he was also the one that invented the “tweener.”
2. Bjorn Borg
The tennis heart-throb of the 1980’s, Bjorn Borg was the winner of 6 French Open titles and was never a runner up. He lost only one match in Roland Garros and that was to Adriano Panatta. This man was able to adapt to any court type whether it was grass, hard or clay. Also, his assets were topspin and a strong mental game–key components to playing on a clay court. In total, the Swede won thirty clay titles.
1. Rafael Nadal
Considered the “King of Clay,” Rafael Nadal is the winner of a record nine French Opens. He has a near 90% win-rate on clay which is something no one has ever done. Possibly his two highest accomplishments are winning five consecutive French Opens and his 81 win streak on clay. So far, he has won 49 clay court titles, a feat that will be difficult to surpass in the near future, if ever.
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