Best Tennis Players on Clay

Best Tennis Players on Clay

One of the easiest surfaces to play tennis at, being the longest in terms of rallies is the clay and we’ll shortlist the best tennis players on clay all time.

The best tennis players on clay usually are the ones with a variety of skills, speed, power, and resistance which makes them able to go on for a match for a reasonable amount of time.

In this article, we will take a look at the best tennis players of all time on clay in the ATP, and highlight their achievements on this surface.

The Demographics of Clay Court Tennis Players

On this surface, especially in the southern European and southern American areas most players grow from a young age playing exclusively on clay. This is due to the nicer weather and the sun and dry climate that clay needs to be maintained.

For this reason, rarely you’d find a great English player on clay or an American player as it’s mostly played by Europeans, Spanish, Italians, Argentinians, and Brazilians mostly.

10 Best Tennis Players on Clay in ATP

#1: Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal is the greatest clay court player of all time, winning a record-breaking 14 French Open titles, 63 total titles on clay, the most by any player in the Open Era. 

His ability to slice, spin and hit with incredible topspin on the clay has made him nearly unbeatable on the surface. Nadal’s dominance on the clay courts of Roland Garros is unparalleled, earning him the nickname “The King of Clay” and cementing his legacy as one of the greatest players in tennis history.  

#2: Björn  Borg

A legend in the world of tennis. Everyone heard his name and the Swedish country had never seen a better tennis player before. He is the second-best tennis player of all time on clay 6 French Open and 32 titles all around.

His aggressive style on the court marked an era of change in the world of tennis. His great rival is another well-known world champion, John McEnroe, playing against each other on 14 occasions during their career.

#3: Ivan Lendl

Ivan Lendl is a Czech tennis player who reached great results during his era in the 1980s and early 90s. He managed to win 3 French open and 28 clay titles, making him one of the best players of clay of all time.

His speed on the court was fantastic and shocked many players, changing the way tennis was played before the great American players arrived at the top level (Sampras and Agassi) arrived in the ATP.

#4: Mats Wilander

Mats Wilander another great Swedish tennis star won the French Open 3 times and 20 clay titles in his career. He is regarded as one of the best tacticians of all time, making the serve and volley his most recognized way of playing.

Nowadays he is a commentator at the top level in the world of tennis.

#5: Gustavo Kuerten

The Brazilian native, Gustavo Kuerten is a player that had to compete against probably the best players of all time in tennis, Sampras and Agassi, and managed even to play against Federer when the latest was at the beginning of his career.

He won in his career 3 times the Roland Garros and 14 ATP tournaments on clay.

#6: Novak Djokovic

The Serbian star Novak Djokovic took part in one of the best duels in the history of tennis. His era, one of the big three, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal lead him to play in the final against the above-mentioned multiple times.

He won a total of 2 Roland Garros and a total of 18 ATP titles on clay while in 2023 he’s altogether with Nadal the player to have won the greatest number of Grand Slams, 22 in the entire history of tennis.

His greatest accomplishment was winning the French Open 2021 after defeating Rafael Nadal in the semifinals and ultimately becoming the champion by defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final while being 2 sets down, completing the comeback in 5 sets.

#7: Sergi Bruguera

In the same epoque of Jim Courier who you’ll find also in this top 10 list of the best players on the clay of all times.

Sergi Bruguera, nowadays in 2023 a coach had his success. As a Spanish native of Barcelona his practice since a young age was done mostly on clay and the results arrived in the mid-90s when he won 2 Roland Garros titles, total 14 ATP titles to complete his record of achievements. 

#8: Jan Kodeš

The Czechoslovakian player was at his best on the clay during his career spent almost in the late 60s and the following decade of the 70s.

The game of tennis was very different than the one we have seen in the last years however he won 2 French Open and 7 ATP titles on clay, making him one of the first European players to dominate on this surface.

#9: Jim Courier

Jim Courier, always wearing a baseball cap during his matches is an American ex-tennis player who reached his peak around the early 90s.

His style was one of a fighter, never giving up and the clay courts helped to achieve the major trophy of Ronald Garros 2 times while he won total 5 ATP titles in his career.

#10: Guillermo Vilas

The South American Guillermo Vilas was a legend of his own. He won only 1 title at Roland Garros but a total of 49 clay titles in his career, he was a beast on clay.

On this surface, his slice and great forehand were the major skills at his disposal. He is still nowadays one of the most successful players ever being on a court on the clay.


Q1: Who is the second-best clay court player?

The second-best clay player in the world, based on the titles and matches won is Bjorn Borg.

Q2: Why is Nadal so good on clay?

He has a combination of slide, spin, speed, and court knowledge that is above any other player for the last 15 years.

Q3: Is Djokovic good on clay?

Novak Djokovic is a great player all-around and won even 2 times the Roland Garros. He is also in 2023 the only player who beat Nadal in all 3 main clay events in the world, Roland Garros, Rome, and Madrid.

Q4: How many Roger Federer clay court titles?

He even managed to win one Ronald Garros title in his career in 2009. All around Roger Federer won 11 ATP titles on clay in his entire career.

Who Will Be the Next Best Clay Court Players?

As the current crop of tennis greats age and retire, the question on everyone’s mind is who will be the next best players on clay? Carlos Alcaraz, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev, or Jannik Sinner who will take up the mantle and dominate the clay court circuit?

With the increasing competitiveness and athleticism in the sport, the race to become the next best tennis player on clay promises to be an exciting one, and only time will tell who will rise to the top and make their mark in the history of the game.

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