Spain Reigns on Clay
- Rafa Nadal’s 9 Roland Garros titles and decade of dominance on clay are the peak of a Spanish trend on clay
- Sergei Bruguera won Roland Garros in 1993 and 1994, Carlos Moya won in 1998, Albert Costa won in 2002, and Juan Carlos Ferrero won in 2003.
- Alex Corretja, Sergei Bruguera, Juan Carlos Ferrero, David Ferrer, & Alberto Berasategui have all been Roland Garros runner-up finishers.
- Since 1993 14 of 22 Roland Garros titles have been awarded to Spanish men. 6 of the 22 runner-up finishers have been from Spain.
- 1994, 1998, 2002, and 2013 featured all-Spanish finals at Roland Garros.
- 13% of the world’s top 100 players are Spanish
- The 2015 Barcelona draw boasts 14 Spanish players
While clay courts host 3 Masters 1000 events and 1 Grand Slam, Barcelona serves as an unofficial Spanish national championship. This has remained the case even with Madrid becoming a high altitude and at times blue Masters 1000 event. As the Spanish Armada launches into action again in Barcelona, it is amazing to consider how dominant Spain has been on clay, but also how many inroads Spanish players have made across all surfaces. This was foreshadowed by Alex Corretja’s 5 set win on a fast indoor court to take the 1998 ATP World Championship over Carlos Moya (the 1998 French Open champion and US Open semifinalist). This did not tortaly prefigure Nadal’s successes on grass and hard courts, but it did help show that Spaniards could win everywhere even if clay is preferred by most Spaniards.
Spain’s players with a few exceptions have been baseline based grinders. These players tend to run, sweat, and bleed in order to win. Rafael Nadal’s Nike emblem is a bull. This week in Barcelona a celebration of Spanish tennis will take place. Unlike the actual corrida de toros, it will be a mostly bloodless affair. Still, the Godo’s tennis courts will be a place for fans to see what grit, guile, and guts each player possesses in the Barcelona ring.