The semifinals are taking shape at the big tournaments this week, and on both tours, you see some familiar names that always seem to handle their business on the dirt: Federer, Dementieva, Gonzalez, Jankovic, etc.
So this got me thinking: Who are the best clay courters on the tour today? And since I so love to share my thoughts with anyone and everyone, here's my breakdown of the top five on each tour. I'm basing this on past successes and the fact that if you see them in the draw, you know they're going deep. (Or at least they should!)
ATP 1) Rafael Nadal: He's arguably the greatest dirtballer of all time.
2) Roger Federer: All those French Open finals and Hamburg titles have to mean something!
3) Novak Djokovic: He doesn't have a ton of clay-court titles, but he does own one at the second-biggest event after the French as he's the defending champ in Rome this week.
4) Nikolay Davydenko: He lost early in Rome, but his resume is pretty stacked on crushed brick, plus you have to throw in those French semis.
5) Tommy Robredo/David Ferrer/Fernando Gonzalez: OK, I know that's cheating, but I always think you're going to see one or all making it deep in the dirt. Plus, the fact that there's a lot of clay-court titles among them doesn't hurt, either.
WTA 1) Ana Ivanovic: I know she's in a rough patch and has been for a little while, but I think technically, she's the best clay courter on tour.
2) Dinara Safina: The new number one can get it done. Remember last season around this time?
3) Jelena Jankovic: She's always going to go far in a draw, and before it's all said and done, I think she'll bag a French or two.
4) Elena Dementieva: The former French runner-up plays good on everything, but I think her athleticism and court sense really shows on clay, too.
5) Serena Williams: You can't leave her off this list. She does have a French title after all!
There you have it. Anyone that shouldn't be here or should be?
An old friend of mine and I used to talk tennis for hours, whether it was our own games or what was happening in the pros. I've started Tennis Talk, Anyone? to, well, talk tennis with an even broader crowd! My name is Van Sias and I've been playing for 20 years now, and not only am I player, I'm a huge fan of the game as well: pro, amateur, you name it. I'll post links to news items related to the sport, and offer my own personal opinion, predictions and hopefully get some of yours as well.