US Men’s Clay Court Championships Winners

Croatia's Ivo Karlovic returns the ball to Switzerland's Roger Federer during their Paris Indoor Masters tournament tennis match, 31 October 2007. Federer won 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. (FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)
In the 98 years of the US Men’s Clay Court Championships, many a top player has come to the United States and walked away as victor. There is however one player who has been conspicuous in his absence, and that is world number 2 and the undisputed King of Clay, Spaniard, Rafael Nadal.

One can only assume that the purse is not rich enough to entice the incredibly talented young man, or that the championships coincide with another European Masters Series or ATP Tour event. In any event, the avid Houston tennis fan will feel cheated by his non-appearance.

Other greats of the game have supported the Championships. If you cast your eye down the list of US Men’s Clay Court Championships winners, names like Bjorn Borg, Arthur Ashe, Jose Luis Clerc and Thomas Enqvist will jump out at you, so too will Michael Chang and MaliVai Washington, but there are a few men who stand head and shoulders above the rest and they are Jimmy Connors, Andres Gomez and Andy Roddick.

All three have won the Championships regularly and Roddick is not finished yet. Although he had to pull out of the 2008 event, odds are that he will be back in 2009 to claim a fourth US Men’s Clay Court Championships. There is still room for a surprise win though, at the 2008 US Men’s Clay Court Championships, Marcel Granollers managed to win his first ATP title and defeated James Blake (ranked world #8 at the time). An even bigger surprise came at the 2009 US Men’s Clay Court Championships when Australian former world number 1 Lleyton Hewitt won the event making it only his second clay court victory in over a decade.

US Men’s Clay Court Championships winners and runners-up since 1970

Year Winner Runner-up
2009 Lleyton Hewitt Wayne Odesnik
2008 Marcel Granollers James Blake
2007 Ivo Karlovic Mariano Zabaleta
2006 Mardy Fish Jurgen Melzer
2005 Andy Roddick Sebastien Grosjean
2004 Tommy Haas Andy Roddick
2003 Andre Agassi Andy Roddick
2002 Andy Roddick Pete Sampras
2001 Andy Roddick Hyung-Taik Lee
2000 Fernando Gonzalez Nicolas Massu
1999 Magnus Norman Guillermo Canas
1998 Jim Courier Michael Chang
1997 Michael Chang Grant Stafford
1996 Fernando Meligeni Mats Wilander
1995 Thomas Enqvist Javier Frana
1994 Jason Stoltenberg Gabriel Markus
1993 Horacio de la Pena Jaime Yzaga
1992 MaliVai Washington Claudio Mezzadri
1991 Jaime Yzaga Jimmy Arias
1990 David Wheaton Mark Kaplan
1989 Jay Berger Lawson Duncan
1988 Andre Agassi Jimmy Arias
1987 Mats Wilander Kent Carlsson
1986 Andres Gomez Thierry Tulasne
1985 Ivan Lendl Andres Gomez
1984 Andres Gomez Balazs Taroczy
1983 Jimmy Arias Andres Gomez
1982 Jose Higueras Jimmy Arias
1981 Jose Luis Clerc Ivan Lendl
1980 Jose Luis Clerc Mel Purcell
1979 Jimmy Connors Guillermo Vilas
1978 Jimmy Connors Jose Higueras
1977 Manuel Orantes Jimmy Connors
1976 Jimmy Connors Wojtek Fibak
1975 Manuel Orantes Arthur Ashe
1974 Jimmy Conors Bjorn Borg
1973 Manuel Orantes Georges Goven
1972 Bob Hewitt Jimmy Connors
1971 Zeljko Franulovic Cliff Richey
1970 Cliff Ricey Stan Smith