Early Ups and Downs on Clay

After the first weeks of the clay season, who is making fwaves and who has had a wipe out? Here are men’s and women’s twenty biggest movers so far on clay.

As April comes to a close, we have multiple clay events on the men’s and women’s tour to assess who have had the most unexpected starts to the 2019 clay season, for better and worse. Using the change in my margin of victory clay Elo rating between the start of April and April 23rd, I have ranked the 10 players who have gained the most and the 10 who have lost the most footing on clay.

On the men’s side, Benoit Paire takes the top spot with a total gain +100 in his clay rating. Much of that had to do with an unexpected title win in Marrakech, where his biggest wins came in his victories over Jaume Clar and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Paire is among 3 of the highest rated players in the 10 most improved. The other places going to Fabio Fognini, whose defeat of Rafael Nadal and eventual title win in Monte Carlo boosted his rating by +91 points, and fellow countrymen, Lorenzo Sonego, who went 3 rounds or more in Marrakech and Monte Carlo.

The Zverev brothers take the 1st and 3rd least impressive performances. Raising a lot of doubt about their chances at Roland Garros.

Fewer of the top women’s players have played multiple clay events at this stage, but there are still some familiar names among the biggest moves on clay so far. Belinda Bencic and and Amanda Anisimova made some huge strides on hard court at the start of the year and both of them are showing some good momentum on clay.

There are no major shocks among the women who have struggled the most on clay so far. This suggests that we can expect a lot of possible contenders at Roland Garros. The clay slam April become a contest of whether anyone can end the streak of no repeat WTA champions.