The clay of Rolland Garros has humbled many a top tennis name over the years, and understandably so.
Nothing version of tennis gives as much variation and demands as complete a box of tricks as clay, so it can be a great indicator of who the most well-rounded players on Tour are.
So, which still active players have best record on clay?
10. Richard Gasquet -61.28% (142-86)
French players tend to do well on clay and Gasquet is the best of those currently active on Tour. In fact, Gasquet’s win percentage on clay is better than on hardcourt.
He is very much a veteran now, of course, and his three clay court titles cover a nine year period between 2006 and 2015.
9. Marin Cilic – 61.31% (124-75)
Let’s be honest: when you think of Marin Cilic, you don’t think of clay. However, the Croatian can certainly play on the red dirt.
He has own two career titles on clay, the last of which coming in Istanbul in 2017.
Like Gasquet, Cilic’s best days generally are now behind him, but his success on clay over the years show he was always far more than just a big hitter.
8. Stan Wawrinka – 66.42% (182-92)
Wawrinka has won a Grand Slam on clay, so perhaps the only surprising this here is that he’s nit higher on the list.
Of his 16 career titles, seven have come on clay and it’s the surface on which he boasts his best win percentage.
Not only does Wawrinka have a French Open title to his name, but he also has a Masters level crown after winning the 2014 Monte-Carlo Masters.
7. Andy Murray – 69.54% (105-46)
Murray’s philosophy regarding clay court tennis seems to be to not win tournaments often but win the big ones when you do.
Of course, the biggest of the lot, the French Open, has eluded him. The closest he got was the 2016 final, which he lost to Novak Djokovic.
He still has two Masters level titles, though, which he won in Rome and Madrid.
The fact that Murray has a worse record on clay than any other surface just serves to highlight how brilliant he is on grass and hardcourts.
6. Alexander Zverev – 69.81% (74-32)
The German never seems to get the credit he deserves for his clay game, probably due to all eyes being in Dominic Thiem with regard the younger players on the surface.
However, Zverev’s record on clay is excellent, and his game is incredibly well suited to the surface.
Zverev possesses the power to hit through opponents on slower courts and the reach and court coverage to make it very hard for opponents to do the same to him.
Despite being the youngest player by far on this list, he already boasts two clay court Masters titles and there is be plenty more where those came from.
5. Kei Nishikori – 69.85% (95-41)
Nishikori is one of these players who seems to win often, but rarely wins the matches that ultimately count.
That theory plays out examining his record on clay too, which shows only three players win more of their matches on the surface yet he only has two Barcelona Open (ATP500) titles to his name.
The Japanese star gets the Rafael Nadal era caveat, but he still probably should have won more than he has.
4. Dominic Thiem – 74.73% (136-46)
Thiem seems like the heir-apparent to Nadal’s ‘King of Clay’ crown and it’s easy to see why.
The Austrian wins three quarters of his matches on clay and has won more than half of his total career titles on the surface.
There is also the not so insignificant matter of two Roland Garros finals too.
Once Nadal hangs up the Babolat, you could very easily see Thiem and Zverev having a clay rivalry for the ages.
3. Roger Federer – 76/11% (223-70)
Federer didn’t make it to Roland Garros again this year due to injury, meaning he has played just one French Open in the last five years.
The Swiss Maestro made the decision a while ago to generally skip clay season in order to prolong his longevity, and you can’t really argue with the results of that.
He is, though, still a brilliant player o the surface, as his win record and 11 career titles attest.
2. Novak Djokovic – 80.00% (220-55)
In any other era, Djokovic would be heralded as the stunningly good clay court player that he unquestionably is, and he’s have far more French Open titles than the one he managed in 2016.
He has also won 10 Masters level titles on clay, which in the Nadal era is an incredible feat in itself.
Djokovic is a special clay court player at a time when we have an extra-special one.
1. Rafael Nadal – 91.63% (438-40)
What can you say about Rafael Nadal on the red dirt that hasn’t already been said? The statistics speak for themselves.
12 French Open titles, 47 other titles on clay, and he literally wins nine times out of ten on the surface.
Bjorn Borg was an incredible player on the red dirt, and one that we probably could only ever expect to have been matched someday. Nadal’s record is far superior.
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