5 greatest male claycourt players of all time

  • Claycourt tennis is physically demanding, but these 5 players relished the challenge of wearing their opponents out on the slow surface.
Subhadeep Roy
Top 5 / Top 10
Modified 07 May 2019, 17:03 IST

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal

Playing on clay is usually considered to be the toughest test for a tennis player, as it tests their physical strength and mental stamina to the fullest. It is quite normal for a claycourt slug-fest to last 3-4 hours, and therefore, it often turns out to be an energy-sapping exercise for the players.

However, there are some players who prefer the slow pace and grind of claycourts. Rallies are usually longer on clay, and baseliners usually excel on it. The powerful serve-and-volley game of a player can be completely nullified on clay, and he might struggle to cope with the lack of pace on the surface.

There have been quite a few claycourt specialists in the history of tennis. Countries like Spain, Sweden and Argentina have produced a plethora of claycourt greats, and some of those players feature in this list too.

Let us take a look at the list of the 5 greatest claycourt players of all time:

5. Mats Wilander

Mats Wilander
Mats Wilander

Mats Wilander was the best tennis player in the world for a considerable period of time in the mid-1980s, and he remains one of the finest claycourt players of all time. Wilander won the French Open thrice, and retired with a total tally of 20 claycourt titles.

The Swede great had a brilliant return of serve and used to commit very few unforced errors. He was a complete player, and also managed to win the US Open on hardcourt and the Australian Open on grass.

However, Wilander was arguably at his best on the red clay of Paris, and beat players like John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl there. He hit his groundstrokes really well, and had a very good backhand too. He was not a very swift mover on the court, or else he would have won even more titles on the dirt.

Still, Wilander should definitely feature in this list because of his overall achievements on clay. It has to be kept in mind that he excelled in most of the claycourt matches featuring Sweden in Davis Cup too.

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Published 27 Mar 2019, 22:07 IST
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