In an interview to La Gazzetta Dello Sport, the former player Thomas Muster commented on Rafael Nadal's clay-court dominance. That time of the year will come around again in April and the Spaniard will once again be a favourite to go all the way.
"Rafa is the strongest over on this surface, there is no doubt about it. Otherwise, you do not win the French Open so many times, and he did it in the last years as well, going through all the injuries he suffered. Apart from the amounts of successes in Rome, Monte Carlo and Barcelona as well, he is really the best out of any era on clay", said Muster.
"I am particularly proud about my success over Pete Sampras in 1995 Essen, the only indoor hard-court tournament I won, and then in Indian Wells 1998. I also won Miami. I reached finals and semifinals on hard, I reached the US Open quarters and the Australian Open semifinals.
Apart from the grass, I achieved great results outside clay as well, I was not good just on one surface. Out of my 44 ATP titles, I won 40 of them on clay but I also won four on clay. Some French Open and Davis Cup matches, against Andre Agassi in Vienna, Michael Stich in Miami after the injury.
Not even the doctors believed at it! That was my biggest victory: I did not just walk again but also run and play on the professional tennis tour." Now clay-court players could win more on hard as well, especially outdoors.
"I think so. We switched from very fast surfaces to pretty slow surfaces and similar each other. It was too big of a difference. They should play using faster balls in order to avoid long rallies."