I've been having a look at the tenniscorner.net archives. I noticed something that makes me think that our biases (and her ability on hardcourts and grass), have led us to under-estimate Venus Williams as a clay court player. Since she made the U.S.Open final in 1997
, Venus Williams has been the best clay court player in the world.
Whoa. WHOOOAA!!! Obviously, I wouldn't have said anything like that without some data to back it up. Below are the finalists of the six biggest clay events since Venus made the US Open final.
If you look, you'll see that Venus had made a Tier II clay final or better four out of those five years. No one else has done that. Besides Venus and the much missed Martina Hingis. Monica, Amelie and Mary Pierce have all made clay finals three of those five years. So who's WON the most Tier II or better clay tournaments since Venus made the '97 US Open final?
Martina Hingis. But she's no lnoger an active player. Among the 'actives'?
Venus Williams. At four wins.
Again, this is Tier II or better. The Sarasotas, Estorils and Madrids of the world I'm not counting. That's too much ananlysis of fields. Tier II or better on clay is Roland Garros, Rome, Berlin, Charleston/Hilton Head, Hamburg and Amelia Island.
1998 Hilton Head Coetzer def. Spirlea
1998 Amelia Island Pierce def. Martinez
1998 Hamburg Hingis def. Novotna
1998 Rome Hingis def. V.Williams
1998 Berlin Martinez def. Mauresmo
1998 Roland Garros Sanchez-Vicario def. Seles
1999 Hilton Head Hingis def. Kournikova
1999 Amelia Island Seles def. Dragomir Ilie
1999 Hamburg V.Williams def. Pierce
1999 Rome V.Williams def. Pierce
1999 Berlin Hingis def. Halard-Decugis
1999 Roland Garros Graf def. Hingis
2000 Amelia Island Seles def. Martinez
2000 Hilton Head Pierce def. Sanchez-Vicario
2000 Hamburg Hingis def. Sanchez-Vicario
2000 Berlin Martinez def. Coetzer
2000 Rome Seles def. Mauresmo
2000 Roland Garros Pierce def. Martinez
2001 Amelia Island Mauresmo def. Coetzer
2001 Charleston Capriati def. Hingis
2001 Hamburg V.Williams def. Shaughnessy
2001 Berlin Mauresmo def. Capriati
2001 Rome Dokic def. Mauresmo
2001 Roland Garros Capriati def. Clijsters
2002 Amelia Island V.Williams def. Henin-Hardenne
2002 Charleston Majoli def. Schnyder
2002 Hamburg Clijsters def. V.Williams
2002 Berlin Henin-Hardenne def. S.Williams
2002 Rome S.Williams def. Henin-Hardenne
2002 Roland Garros S.Williams def. V.Williams
Now, name the RG winners since Venus made the US open final?
Okay, maybe she's not the best.
But she performed more consistently, at a high level, on clay, than anyone else on tour for the past five years. Among the active players. Gotta give it up for Martina Hingis.