2009 French Open: Patrick McEnroe's Perfect Clay Court Tennis Player requires the Flash plugin to work. You can install it here
How do you stop Rafael Nadal on clay?
The answer: You create a hybrid opponent using strengths from his rivals. With that in mind, ESPN's Patrick McEnroe built that perfect player.
No one wins more cheap points on his serve than Andy Roddick. If he is able to consistently get his kick serve working and mix it up a bit, Roddick would put himself in a position to dictate action. It would also cause Nadal to miss a few returns.
Novak Djokovic can hit his backhand crosscourt and down the line with the best of them. He has a penchant for attacking the short ball and putting it away. Djokovic's two-hander allows him to be more forceful on high balls, which is a favorable attribute to have on clay courts.
Juan Martin del Potro has an enormous wingspan. He is equally adept from both wings to handles his opponents' serve. Del Potro often takes big rips on the return, allowing him to take the offensive. This would be necessary against Nadal, who kicks the ball up high on clay.
Roger Federer has deft hands and can stick his volleys with the best of them. Federer can be imposing at net, but he has to find a way to move forward often and maintain success at net -- something he finally invoked against Nadal in the Madrid final.
Andy Murray's improved fitness has directly impacted the mental aspect of his game. Murray's acuity and tennis IQ are eminently high. He is well versed at blunting other players' games. Though he doesn't possess the clay-court game that Nadal does, Murray has the tools and mindset to frustrate the world No. 1 player at times.
The spin and pace Fernando Verdasco produces from this wing is comparable to Nadal. There are plenty of players with potent forehands, but a grueling offseason workout regimen has propelled Fernando to the next level, and his forehand has emerged as one of the most penetrating in the game today.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is big-match player. He blew Nadal away at the Australian Open in 2008. The Frenchman won't be intimidated. He harnesses the weapons, right attitude and has the x-factor to thrive on the grandest of stages.
The footwork of Nikolay Davydenko is impeccable. He has vanquished Nadal on other surfaces, including twice in hard-court Master series events last year. Davydenko sets himself up early and capitalizes on short balls.
David Ferrer has outlasted Nadal on hard courts a couple of times. Though Ferrer has beaten Nadal only once on clay (2004), he is fit as a fiddle and one of the most indefatigable players on tour. Ferrer wins by attrition, and if anyone has the stamina to match Nadal, it's his Spanish compatriot.
The shear speed and athleticism of Gael Monfils is unparalleled in today's game. He is able to retrieve balls better than most. Monfils has struggled with injury in the past, but when healthy has a game tailor-made for the dirt. He has a long reach and is able to track down shots better than most.