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Discussion Starter #1
"I'd rather not be his idol and play him on hard court than be his idol and play him on clay."
--Agassi on being Guillermo Coria's idol.

"Agassi won't know which clay-court specialist he will play next until Coria and Zabaleta complete their match on Monday."
--Christopher Clarey, The New York Times

"Nowhere outside Brazil do they love Guga more than at Roland Garros, where the lanky 6-3 clay-court specialist has won three titles."
--The Miami Herald

"[Henman]does have history on his side against clay court specialist Ferrero."
--BBC


Hmmm. Everytime I hear the phrase "clay court specialist", the image that comes to mind is a Spanish-speaking dirtballer who would have no chance to win a Slam outside of the French Open. This individual usually comes out of nowhere to upset the English-speaking star, hero and favorite (Agassi, Sampras, Hewitt) to win the whole shabang before retreating into oblivion never to be heard of again...

But then, you do have those who live up to the reputation of producing nothing except on a slow surface. Bruguera? Berasategui? Muster? Costa???

I don't like the term used for those players who have pretty decent hardcourt results, including Moya and Guga.

What do you think?
 

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Sometimes it's a diss, sometimes it's the truth... if the player is good on clay but also good on everything else then it's a diss because it makes it sound like the player is only good on clay... However, if they player only has good results on clay then it's the truth... it might not sound very flattering but it's the truth none the less.
 

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It's the truth... I used to get all iffy about this, especially with Guga and all his hard court triumphs, but Guga IS *special* on clay. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
So are we left with only "clay court specialists" in the men's draw?
 

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It depends on context. If we are in the middle of the clay court season, being called a clay courter is an accolade. If we are in the grass season, someone who calls you a clay court specialist is effectively writing you off.

But for me, clay is the only Real surface out there. If I was a top player, I'd rather be a Mantilla than a Sampras. And that's the truth. Grass is special too, but far too rare to be taken seriously as a surface for playing tennis on.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
controlfreak said:
Grass is special too, but far too rare to be taken seriously as a surface for playing tennis on.
Yes, but those who win on grass typically win are hardcourts too.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
BTW, you're from the UK. Shouldn't you be all for the return of grass???
 

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Discussion Starter #9
PS said:
it's like with calling someone a Fool-sometimes it's a diss and often it's the truth :p
Not when it's a capital 'F', girlie.
 

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Tennis Fool said:
Not when it's a capital 'F', girlie.

would you care to tell me what's the difference?

And please use more innovative insults if you want my attention :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
PS said:
And please use more innovative insults if you want my attention :rolleyes:
Insults? I would *never* insult you.

:hearts: :hearts: :hearts:
 

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No offence, but in terms of a career I'd much rather have Sampras' than Mantilla's. It's less strain on the body, too. This term 'clay-courter' is a tricky one, since there are some players who only do especially well on clay and others who can perform well on all surfaces. I'd say that someone like Gaudio is probably a clay-courter since all his good results and his two titles have come on this surface - in terms of ranking points gained during the clay season, he's in the top five (although he did reach the IW quarters and the last 16 in Miami last year).

You could say that Costa is a clay-courter, as all his titles are on clay and he's only had isolated good results on hard (and yet look at the players he beat at the Masters Cup and in Miami, his two good performances on fast surfaces recently). Corretja has (or had) an incredible RG record and is renowned as one of the best players on clay, yet he has also been by far the best Spaniard on faster surfaces in recent years (he won the Singles Championship in 98 and of course beat Sampras on grass in DC last year).

But really, there are very few pure clay-court players around these days - Volandri could end up being one if he doesn't get more juice on his serve, that's for sure. I think that when the term is used during the clay season to describe someone who's been having great results on clay, that's fair enough; when you look at Coria's clay results this year you can see why he was called a clay specialist, even though he's also made the round of 16 at the AO, Indian Wells and Miami in 2003.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
HD, to add, "clay courter" almost sounds as if a player can't really play tennis. Yeah, they have the ability to win the French Open, become a "one Slam wonder" or maybe even a multiple FO winner, but where are they during the rest of the season?

It's like your game is underdeveloped. You spent so much time on clay that you never learned to play on a faster surface. Like forsaking the backhand for the forehand, or the serve for the return.

Plus, how many "clay court specialists" will become world renown? Guga would be an even bigger star if it were possible for him to win an Aussie or US Open.
 

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Yes, I suppose so - but when you consider how many of these "clay-courters" are now having an impact on hardcourts and even grass, those who are giving them the clay-court label will have to start eating their words. And hopefully, if they knew anything about tennis they'd realise that clay is the best surface to start developing a game and expanding it for faster surfaces, not the other way round.
 

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Hendouble said:
You could say that Costa is a clay-courter, as all his titles are on clay and he's only had isolated good results on hard (and yet look at the players he beat at the Masters Cup and in Miami, his two good performances on fast surfaces recently).
actually it's a bit different HC outdorrs and indoors.When we look at his record indoors,he hadn't won a match till 99,and right now his record stands at 12-36 (7-22 on carpet).If we judge ability to perform on 2 good performances it's a bit strange.He's capable of having decent results on HC,just as every clay-courter (he's 92-85 on HC),but that hardly makes him a force on that surface.I don't really see where you are going with that 'look at the players he beat' thing?
 

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Albert Costa has changed a lot in his game to make him a better player. Those improvements have put him in the semis of Roland Garros and got him the title last year but he is also had better results on hard court in the last couple of years. Early on he was just not as good as he is now- on any surface!
 

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treufreund said:
Albert Costa has changed a lot in his game to make him a better player. Those improvements have put him in the semis of Roland Garros and got him the title last year but he is also had better results on hard court in the last couple of years. Early on he was just not as good as he is now- on any surface!

I would think that a fan should know his fave results.Or at least I expect sb ,who is contradicting my arguments,to be prepared better.I'm sure you were pretty aware of his stats,when making your statements.But still I'm gonna post them,just to prove that you were right.
94- 0/1
95- 1/2
[/b]96- 17/11
[/b]97- 19/11
98- 12/12
99- 8/10
00- 12/13
01- 8/8
02- 7/11


Ooops!Last couple of years you say.If we have 1998 now,you're right in that case.
This season he's 8-6 on HC,but we still have half a year to play,so we'll see what happens.
 

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I much prefer clay court tennis to any other tennis. I think the term 'clay court' specialist is used as a diss by the US media, largely because their players have not been too successful on it. Consider most Europeans and S Americans are brought up on clay, it's not surprising they produce so many champions. But a lot of them can play on hardcourts - for example Rios, Guga, Ferrero and Moya. Also, nearly half the tournaments played on the ATP are clay.
 
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