José Luis Clerc

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José Luis Clerc
Country (sports)  Argentina
Residence Miami, USA
Born (1958-08-16) 16 August 1958 (age 59)
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Turned pro 1977
Retired 1986 (from full-time playing)
1995 (last match)
Plays Right-handed (one-handed backhand)
Prize money unknown
Singles
Career record 375–148 (71.70%)
Career titles 25 (listed by ATP)
Highest ranking No. 4 (3 August 1981)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open 2R (1980)
French Open SF (1981, 1982)
Wimbledon 4R (1979)
US Open 4R (1979, 1981)
Other tournaments
Tour Finals QF (1982)
WCT Finals QF (1982)
Doubles
Career record 110–99
Career titles 2
Highest ranking No. 30 (8 October 1979)
Grand Slam Doubles results
French Open SF (1981)
Wimbledon 2R (1977, 1979, 1981)

José Luis Clerc (born 16 August 1958) is a former Argentine professional tennis player, and one of the most important Argentine players in history. He is nicknamed Batata. He reached a career-high Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) world No. 4 singles ranking on 3 August 1981, following a run of 25 consecutive match wins after Wimbledon.

Tennis career[edit]

Clerc represented Argentina for the Davis Cup from 1976 to 1989. With fellow top player Guillermo Vilas, they led Argentina to her first Davis Cup final in 1981 to set up a tie against United States in Cincinnati. After Vilas lost the first rubber in straight sets to John McEnroe, Clerc defeated Roscoe Tanner in straight sets in the second rubber to level the tie. During the third rubber, partnering Vilas, the pair lost to Fleming/McEnroe in doubles, 9–11 in the fifth and deciding set. Clerc then played McEnroe in the fourth rubber and eventually lost in 5 sets.

Clerc, along with Vilas and Carlos Gattiker, made the final of 1980 World Team Cup in Düsseldorf. Clerc defeated former French Open champion Adriano Panatta 7–6, 6–3. Argentina eventually beat Italy 3–0 to claim the title.

In 1981, Clerc entered the French Open off an 11-match win streak, and defeated Jimmy Connors in an epic 5-setter in the quarterfinals to extend it to 16. The streak ended when Clerc lost in 5 sets against Ivan Lendl who advanced into his first Grand Slam final, despite being up 2 sets to 1 and had a match point in the fourth set. Later that year, starting after Wimbledon, Clerc won another 28 consecutive matches before losing in the third round of the US Open.

In 1982, Clerc reached the semifinals of the French Open for the second consecutive year, and was looking to create the unprecedented all-Argentine final at the French Open, but was however upset by a 17-year old Swedish teenager Mats Wilander in four sets.[1] Wilander would go on to beat Vilas in the final in 4 sets to become the youngest winner of a Grand Slam at the time.

Injuries began to plague Clerc since 1984 and his consistency dropped. Clerc never recovered and only played sporadically after 1985.

He received the ATP Sportsmanship Award in 1981, and Argentine Konex Awards in 1980 and 1990 for Merit in Tennis.

ATP career finals[edit]

Singles: 35 (25 titles, 10 runners-up)[edit]

Legend
Grand Slam tournaments (0–0)
Year-End Championships (0–0)
Grand Prix Super Series (1–1)
Grand Prix / WCT Tour (24–9)
Titles by Surface
Hard (3–1)
Clay (21–9)
Grass (0–0)
Carpet (1–0)
Outcome No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent Score
Winner 1. 21 May 1978 Florence, Italy Clay France Patrice Dominguez 6–4, 6–2, 6–1
Runner-up 1. 10 July 1978 Gstaad, Switzerland Clay Argentina Guillermo Vilas 3–6, 6–7, 4–6
Runner-up 2. 31 July 1978 South Orange, New Jersey, U.S. Clay Argentina Guillermo Vilas 1–6, 3–6
Runner-up 3. 14 August 1978 Toronto, Canada Clay United States Eddie Dibbs 7–5, 4–6, 1–6
Runner-up 4. 25 September 1978 Aix-En-Provence, France Clay Argentina Guillermo Vilas 3–6, 0–6, 3–6
Winner 2. 26 November 1978 Buenos Aires, Argentina Clay Paraguay Víctor Pecci 6–4, 6–4
Winner 3. 4 December 1978 Santiago de Chile, Chile Clay Paraguay Víctor Pecci 3–6, 6–3, 6–3
Winner 4. 16 April 1979 Johannesburg, South Africa Hard South Africa Deon Joubert 6–2, 6–1
Runner-up 5. 19 November 1979 Buenos Aires, Argentina (2) Clay Argentina Guillermo Vilas 1–6, 2–6, 2–6
Winner 5. 10 March 1980 San José de Costa Rica, Costa Rica Hard United States Jimmy Connors 4–6, 2–6, retired
Runner-up 6. 21 July 1980 Washington D.C., US Clay United States Brian Gottfried 5–7, 6–4, 4–6
Winner 6. 28 July 1980 South Orange, New Jersey, U.S. Clay United States John McEnroe 6–3, 6–2
Winner 7. 4 August 1980 Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S. Clay United States Mel Purcell 7–5, 6–3
Winner 8. 29 September 1980 Madrid, Spain Clay Argentina Guillermo Vilas 6–3, 1–6, 1–6, 6–4, 6–2
Winner 9. 3 November 1980 Quito, Ecuador Clay Paraguay Víctor Pecci 6–4, 1–6, 10–8
Winner 10. 17 November 1980 Buenos Aires, Argentina (2) Clay West Germany Rolf Gehring 6–7, 2–6, 7–5, 6–0, 6–3
Winner 11. 11 May 1981 Florence, Italy (2) Clay Mexico Raúl Ramírez 6–1, 6–2
Winner 12. 18 May 1981 Italian Open, Rome Clay Paraguay Víctor Pecci 6–3, 6–4, 6–0
Winner 13. 13 July 1981 Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. Clay Chile Hans Gildemeister 0–6, 6–2, 6–2
Winner 14. 20 July 1981 Washington D.C., US Clay Argentina Guillermo Vilas 7–5, 6–2
Winner 15. 28 July 1981 North Conway, New Hampshire, U.S. Clay Argentina Guillermo Vilas 6–3, 6–2
Winner 16. 3 August 1981 Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S. (2) Clay Czechoslovakia Ivan Lendl 4–6, 6–4, 6–2
Runner-up 7. 12 October 1981 Basel, Switzerland Hard (i) Czechoslovakia Ivan Lendl 2–6, 3–6, 0–6
Winner 17. 8 February 1982 Richmond, Virginia, U.S. Carpet (i) United States Fritz Buehning 3–6, 6–3, 6–4, 6–3
Runner-up 8. 12 April 1982 Houston, Texas, US Clay Czechoslovakia Ivan Lendl 6–3, 6–7, 0–6, 4–1, retired
Winner 18. 7 June 1982 Venice, Italy Clay Australia Peter McNamara 7–6, 6–1
Winner 19. 5 July 1982 Gstaad, Switzerland Clay Argentina Guillermo Vilas 6–1, 6–3, 6–2
Winner 20. 12 July 1982 Zell am See, Austria Clay Switzerland Heinz Günthardt 6–0, 3–6, 6–2, 6–1
Winner 21. 15 November 1982 Sao Paulo, Brazil Clay Brazil Marcos Hocevar 6–2, 6–7, 6–3
Winner 22. 24 January 1983 Guarujá, Brazil Hard Sweden Mats Wilander 3–6, 7–5, 6–1
Winner 23. 11 July 1983 Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. (2) Clay United States Jimmy Arias 6–3, 6–1
Winner 24. 18 July 1983 Washington D.C., U.S. (2) Clay United States Jimmy Arias 6–3, 3–6, 6–0
Runner-up 9. 12 September 1983 Palermo, Italy Clay United States Jimmy Arias 2–6, 6–2, 0–6
Winner 25. 25 July 1983 North Conway, New Hampshire, U.S. (2) Clay Ecuador Andrés Gómez 6–3, 6–1
Runner-up 10. 16 July 1984 Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. (3) Clay United States Aaron Krickstein 6–7, 6–3, 4–6

Performance timeline[edit]

Singles[edit]

Tournament 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 SR W–L
Grand Slam Tournaments
Australian Open 1R 2R NH 0 / 2 1–2
French Open 2R 2R 2R SF SF 2R 2R 3R 1R 0 / 9 17–9
Wimbledon 1R 4R 3R 3R 1R 0 / 5 7–5
US Open 3R 4R 1R 4R 1R 1R 1R 0 / 7 8–7
Win–Loss 0–0 3–4 7–3 4–4 10–3 5–2 1–3 1–1 2–2 0–0 0–0 0–0 0–1 0–0 0 / 23 33–23
Year-End Championship
Masters Did Not Qualify RR RR QF 1R Did Not Qualify 0 / 4 2–6
Career statistics
Finals 0 7 2 7 7 6 5 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 35
Titles 0 3 1 6 6 5 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 25
Overall Win–Loss 1–3 50–17 56–22 73–23 58–14 65–22 31–15 16–14 24–14 0–0 0–0 0–0 1–4 0–0 375–148
Win % 25% 75% 72% 76% 81% 75% 67% 53% 63% 20% 71.70%
Year-End Ranking 278 15 17 8 5 6 8 33 28 514

Notable rivalries[edit]

Clerc vs. Vilas[edit]

Often regarded as two of the single most important Argentine male tennis players, José Luis Clerc and Guillermo Vilas have played each other 14 times in their careers, with Vilas leading 10–4. Vilas is 6 years older than Clerc, making it a clash of generations, with Vilas being the dominant force on clay for much of the second half of 1970s and Clerc as a rising star on clay. All of their 14 meetings came after the quarterfinal stage (except 1, which was at the Masters Grand Prix), including 8 finals. Vilas won their first 6 encounters before 1980, including 4 finals and only lost 1 set to Clerc. However, since 1980, they have a tied record of 4–4, with Clerc winning all 4 finals.

Despite their insurmountable contribution to Argentine tennis, it is also noted that the pair does not get along well. The tension between them even reverberated to the 2004 French Open awards ceremony, in which Vilas presented Gastón Gaudio with his trophy over Clerc's objections.

Coincidentally, both players' final Grand Slam appearance to date were at the 1989 French Open where both players received wild card entry.

Personal life[edit]

José Luis Clerc in 1980 he married to Annelie Czerner ((Who was the beauty queen of the city of Mar del Plata) and has two sons & a daughter: Juan Pablo Clerc (born September 23, 1981), Dominique Clerc (born January 12, 1984), and Nicolás Clerc (born October 19, 1990). In 2009 they divorced, Clerc in 2010 married with Gisela Medrano with whom she had a daughter named Sophie (born April 7, 2011).

Clerc runs a tennis school in Argentina, participates in Senior tournaments, and regularly serves as a tennis analyst for ESPN Latin America and ESPN Deportes. He also coaches Julia Cohen, a top American junior player.

Clerc is currently developing and will serve as director of the "José Luis Clerc Tennis Academy" at Algodon Wine Estates in San Rafael, Mendoza, Argentina. He also serves as Ambassador to the "Algodon" brand.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Exclusive interview with José Luis Clerc alias Batata who is a part of history". DB4Tennis.com. 13 September 2015. 
  2. ^ "Where to Go Next". 16 September 2008. Retrieved 22 December 2008. Argentine Tennis Great, Jose Luis Clerc, Partners with Algodon Wine Estates To Develop Professional Tennis Academy 

External links[edit]