Rome Masters Tennis Champions
The lovely Chris Evert is the outstanding champion of the women’s event, having bagged five Rome Masters titles in the 1970s and 80s. Hot on her heels is Spaniard, Conchita Martinez, known to favour clay. Although she managed only four singles wins, they were back-to-back successes from 1993 to 1996.
The champion of the men’s game is without a doubt the ‘King of Clay’. Rafael Nadal has, since 2005, claimed the title in the last three consecutive years, and his scalps have included the world number one, Roger Federer and two celebrated clay court specialists in Fernando Gonzalez and Guillermo Coria. However, there is a new threat to Raffa’s reign – Novak Djokovic, who provided an excellent twist to the end of the 2008 Rome Masters, winning the title over Swiss player Stanislas Wawrinka.
Although Nadal is already a Rome Masters champion he is still a long way from hanging up his racket, so we won’t include him here.
- In 1990 he defeated Andrei Chesnekov of the Soviet Union in straight sets 6-1 6-3 6-1.
- Spaniard Sergi Bruguera fell to the Muster might in 1995, but at least he tried to put up a bit of resistance in the first couple of sets 3-6 7-6 6-2 6-3.
- Richard Krajicek of the Netherlands was Muster’s third victim in 1996 – 6-2 6-4 3-6 6-3.
Thomas Muster, too, was known as the ‘King of Clay’ in the mid 1990s. A former world number one, Muster is regarded by some as the best clay court combatant the game has ever produced. He won the coveted French Open in 1995 and of his 44 singles titles, 40 were on clay.
Conchita Martinez’s enduring claim to fame is that she is the only Spanish woman to have won the ladies’ singles event at the Wimbledon Championships. What made her victory all the more sweet was that she overcame the undisputed ‘Wimbledon Wonder Girl’, nine-time champion, Martina Navratilova.
Martinez lifted the title at the Rome Masters four times:
- In 1993 she took on Argentine Gabriela Sabatini and triumphed 7-5 6-1.
- Martina Navratilova was her second victim in 1994 7-5 6-4.
- She then thrashed compatriot Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 6-3 6-1 in 1995.
- In 1996 she subdued ‘Swiss Miss’, Martina Hingis, in two sets 6-2 6-3.
Her other successes on the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour included two consecutive wins at Charleston, a double victory in Berlin, and single wins at San Diego and Moscow.
The Princess of US, and world tennis in the 1970s and 80s, is the alluring Chris Evert. She is arguably the best women’s tennis player after the great Steffi Graf and the legendary Martina Navratilova. In her career she bagged an astonishing 18 Grand Slam singles titles including a record-breaking seven French Open wins.
Her playing style, with pinpoint ground strokes delivered from the back of the court, was best suited to clay courts, and of her 18 Grand Slam wins, ten were contested on clay. She won the US Open six times, and three of those victories were in 1975, ’76 & ’77 when the US Open was still contested on a clay surface.
Evert’s victories at the Rome Masters:
- 1974 versus Martina Navratilova 6-3 6-3
- 1975 versus Martina Navratilova 6-1 6-0
- 1980 versus Virginia Ruzici 5-7 6-2 6-2
- 1981 versus Virginia Ruzici 6-1 6-2
- 1982 versus Hanna Mandlikova 6-0 6-2