Daily Data Viz: Left-handed players dominate the clay courts
Four of the top five in career clay court singles titles on the ATP Tour in the Open Era are left-handers with massive forehands—Guillermo Vilas (49), nine-time Roland Garros singles champion Rafael Nadal (49), Thomas Muster (40), and Nadal’s countryman, Manuel Orantes (30). Six-time French Open champion Bjorn Borg is the only right-hander in the top five (30 titles).
With roughly 10% of the population being left-handed, it may be surprising that so many of the top champions are lefties. Left-handed players can create different spins and angles and their opponents must adjust to that change. Also, the majority of key pressure points in a match are played in the Ad Court—the left side of the court—where a left-hander should have the natural advantage.
And it’s not just on clay—half of the top eight in terms of career match winning percentages in the Open Era on the ATP Tour on all surfaces are left-handed—Nadal, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe and Rod Laver.
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