Lorenzo Musetti - Tough to beat in clay season

Four unlikely challengers capable of big ATP clay seasons

Clay season is known for being perhaps the most gruelling test of the tennis season. The matches are longer, the conditions are tougher, and there is a seeming clay specialist lurking around every corner.

Of course, ‘clay specialist’ is an unfair term. Some players are just naturally best suited to the slower court – generally players with get a lot of action on the ball and are able to construct points in a very cerebral way that faster courts rarely allow for.

So who might those players be in the ATP this clay season? Well there are four that will likely worry the top players on the red dirt a lot more than they usually do.

Sebastian Baez

You will struggle to find an Argentinian tennis player who is not formidable on clay, and Sebastian Baez is the best they have right now. Five of his six career titles to date have come on clay, including two this season already in Santiago and Rio de Janeiro.

Surprisingly, he is yet to make his presence felt at Roland Garros, with him not making it past the second round yet, but it only feels like a matter of time.

Francisco Cerundolo

Clay season last year saw Francisco Cerundolo make a big rankings breakthrough with him threatening the ATP top 20. A Rome quarterfinal and run to the last 16 of Roland Garros showed a degree of consistency he had not found before, and a semi-final in Rio this year hammered home that point even further.

The Argentinian also has an impressive list of victims on clay, with him beating Andrey Rublev, Jannik Sinner and Casper Ruud already. He also has an impressive 12 titles on clay at Challenger and ITF Futures level, so expect him to make his mark on the surface again this year.

Nicolas Jarry

Ask any top player on the ATP Tour and they will tell you that Nicolas Jarry is one of those players you don’t want to see in your half of the draw. The Chilean has scaled no real heights but he is incredibly consistent, solid, and able to disrupt any player in the world on any given day.

His very best days, though, tend to come on clay. All three of his ATP titles have been won on the surface, albeit all of them ATP 250s, and nine Challenger and ITF Futures titles on the red dirt tell their own story as well.

Lorenzo Musetti

If you can beat Carlos Alcaraz, Casper Ruud and Novak Djokovic on clay, you have to be pretty good, right? Tennis has known about Lorenzo Musetti’s talent for some time now, and he was heralded at the same level as Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner at junior level.

He could still join them at the top of the game, and if he does then much of it will be built upon clay courts. He has consistently looked a real threat on the surface, with his driven one-handed backhand a huge weapon, and already has an ATP 500 clay title to his name.

READ NEXT: Jannik Sinner ‘a favourite player to win every tournament’ claims Carlos Alcaraz

 Join >> Receive $700/£600 of tennis gear from the Tennishead CLUB

 Social >> FacebookTwitter & YouTube

 Read >> World’s best tennis magazine

 Shop >> Lowest price tennis gear from our trusted partner 

Michael Graham, Editor, has been a professional sports journalist for his whole career and is especially passionate about tennis. He's been the Editor of for over 5 years and loves watching live tennis by visiting as many tournaments as possible. Michael specialises in writing in-depth features about the ATP & WTA tours.