Re: Where does Justine Henin rate all time on clay
Well, I agree that everyone can have his/her opinion, but I don't think the French results obtained by a player should only be taken into account. In fact, this thread is about a given player's stature on clay, not in the French Open history, so ruling out any other tournamente would be highly misleading re the goal of this thread. I mean, the French is the most important title on clay, but there are other tournaments which are also important, especially when talking about clay court performance overall and considering how the French itself was regarded for some time, especially in late 70s. Of course, any good clay court player must have had some good results at Roland-Garros to be regarded like that, but it's not the only thing that matters. In that perspective, even if Justine won one more French than Seles, I'd never consider her better than Monica, simply because the level of play and dominance reached by Seles surpassed Henin's, especially considering the opposition. I really think Henin one of the best in history on this surface, around 5th or 6th overall, and accepting the fact that I don't really think I am able to compare Court equally (I have seen too little of the Reverend), but Evert, Graf, Seles and the best Navratilova (who could beat just everybody on her prime), would always be above the talented Belgian.
Regarding Sánchez Vicario, I think we've seen enough of what she could do especially on clay against some tremendous players such as Graf and Seles, the fact that she took THREE titles at the French and reached 3 more finals and won lots of other clay tournaments except Rome, how she beat everybody on the surface (not the best Seles but still the Seles that beat Henin MOST of the time, overweight and everything), so the Bumblebee has earned credit big time on this surface to be denied of respect. And just remember how many wouldn’t give a dime for her against Graf for instance, and how she ended up taking big titles, especially when her rival was in perfect health and there were no handicaps.
And Sabatini didn't win a French nor reached the finals, but reached 5 SF losing only to Graf, Seles and Evert at that stage, and also won a lot of big matches beating EVERYBODY on clay and winning all the other important clay titles several times, so she has some big results added to her big game on the surface. She may not be in the top five players, but just as some others posted about Henin, the difference between her and Graf, Seles or Evert was only mental: did you see any reason tennis-wise why she shouldn’t have one her 87 or 92 SFs at the French, or the R16 match in 1986 against Evert? What would have been her results or would she have ended up without a French title had she played any top player (Hingis, Capriati, Clijsters, Kuznetsova, Pierce, Williams, Henin herself) other than very PRIME Graf or Seles? Henin is above her or Sánchez Vicario for her results, but these depend greatly on who you have to play and of course are relevant, but as a clay court player there’s no that big a difference, if any. I’ve watched tennis many years and I just don’t take into account the results without a context; by that criteria I’d have to say that Majoli and Myskina are better clay court players than Sabatini or Martínez because they won the French and the latter didn’t, which is not the case. Not to me at least, and everyone is entitled to have his criteria. And as I stated before we’re talking about clay court players, which includes the results and level of tennis played in at least the main clay court tournaments along a career and not only the French, which would be a different topic.
I must say, though, that I can't include players before the Open Era as I really know too little about them and have hardly seen them play, and I also believe that tennis since around mid seventies is quite a different sport and I’m not so sure really old champions could do that well in the modern era. Anyway, I don’t think they’re much comparable, so I guess we could only elaborate about Open Era players GOATs.
Witness of an Era of Grandeur
Chris the Ice Lady - Martina Grace&Power
Fraulein Forehand - The Divine Argentine
Merciless Monica - Barcelona Bumblebee