US Men’s Clay Court Championships: 21 years in Houston in pictures

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US Men's Clay Court Championships

The historic US Men’s Clay Court Championships tournament moved to Houston’s River Oaks Country Club in 2001 and it has been held there since.

US Men's Clay Court Championships
Andy Roddick appeared in the first five US Men’s Clay Court Championships finals held in Houston winning the title three times in all and going down to Tommy Haas and Andre Agassi in the other two.

Between 2007 and 2010 the home contingent were kept from lifting the trophy in Houston with the crowds made to wait until 2011 for another American winner.

US Men's Clay Court Championships
Mardy Fish won the title in Houston back in 2006 before the surface was overhauled which also coincided with a title drought for the host nation as they had to wait until 2011 to see Ryan Sweeting claim the honour.

The tournament’s fortunes have been closely linked with those of US men’s tennis in general.

US Men's Clay Court Championships
While the top American players almost always attend, the event has struggled to attract big name clay court specialists from Europe and regular stars of the ATP Tour.

Houston has a special place in the hearts of some players even if it has an awkward slot on the tour.

US Men's Clay Court Championships
In 2007 Ivo Karlovic became the first Croatian to win the US Men’s Clay Court Championships since Željko Franulović won the 1971 edition representing Yugoslavia. Karlovic beat Mariano Zabaleta in the final

Lleyton Hewitt is the most recent Grand Slam winner to also lift the Houston trophy, winning the championship in 2009.

US Men's Clay Court Championships
Australian Lleyton Hewitt won the 2009 US Men’s Clay Court Championships with his toughest opponent en route to the final proving to be three-time French Open quarterfinalist Guillermo Cañas.

Argentinean players have a deep connection to this event with a number of winners hailing from the South American nation.

US Men's Clay Court Championships
Argentina’s Juan Monaco is the last man to repeat victory on the Maroon clay in Houston, winning in the US Men’s Clay Court Championships in both 2012 and 2016.

The US Men’s Clay Court Championships were held on a green clay surface for a single tournament back in 2007 before shifting to the Maroon or ‘American red clay’ court currently in use.

US Men's Clay Court Championships
The US Men’s Clay Court Championships experimented with a green clay surface in 2007 before moving to another American-made surface that had a hue closer to the traditional red.

Since Andy Roddick’s defence in 2002 only one other man has gone back to back in Houston with American Steve Johnson taking the crown in 2017 and 2018.

US Men's Clay Court Championships
Steve Johnson went back to back at the US Men’s Clay Court Championships in 2017 and 2018 winning two three-set battles in his two final appearances.

In 2019 Cristian Garín became the second Chilean player to win the US Men’s Clay Court Championships but the first to triumph since the move to Houston.

US Men's Clay Court Championships
Cristian Garin won his maiden ATP trophy with a 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 6-3 victory over Casper Ruud in the 2019 US Men’s Clay Court Championships final as he became the first Chilean to win a singles title since Fernando Gonzalez in Vina del Mar in 2009.

The event kicks off the ATP Tour’s clay court season but has struggled to attract big names given that it follows a pair of back to back Masters events in the Sunshine Double.

US Men's Clay Court Championships
Despite a rich history stretching back to 1910 the tournament hasn’t been able to attract as many big names as organisers would like in recent seasons.

The event has migrated across the USA before settling in Houston in 2001.

US Men's Clay Court Championships
The main stadium at the River Oaks Country Club can house up to 3,000 spectators, it had previously played host to the River Oaks International Tennis Tournament from 1931 until 2007.

Organisers would have been delighted to capture controversial Aussie Nick Kyrgios for the 2022 draw as he makes his return to clay.

US Men's Clay Court Championships
Nick Kyrgios reached the last eight in Houston in 2018 but hasn’t turned out during the traditional clay season since the 2019 ATP Tour season.

 

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