American Males Continue Winless at Tennis Grand Slams
No American male tennis player will win a Grand Slam in the next 10 years. I am pretty confident in that belief. The fact that Americans won Grand Slams in the new century turned out to be an anomaly, not the norm. Andre Agassi picked up three Australian Opens in the early 2000s and Andy Roddick picked up his lone Grand Slam at the US Open in 2003. Since then, no American male has contended for a Grand Slam other than Andy Roddick’s failed attempts against Roger Federer. The only time Andy came close was in his heart-breaking 2009 Wimbledon final loss. But again, Roger shut the door.
Since then we’ve had John Isner make some runs at Grand Slams. However, that’s pretty much it. We’ve begun to get accustomed to no top American players into the second week of Grand Slams. How quickly people have forgotten how dominant American men were in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. We had Connors, McEnroe, Chang, Agassi, Sampras and Courier. All great players, and all Grand Slam champions. Some people say that the demise of men’s tennis has a little something to do with the fact that European players grow up in clay, and in this modern era of tennis, which focuses on an all-around physical game, learning on clay provides an advantage.
I seem to agree with this theory, partly because I’ve watched hundreds of matches featuring Nadal, Federer and Djokovic and their ability to go from one surface to the other has been spectacularly successful. So, maybe the trick will be to shift from hard courts to red clay courts all over the USA. Thereafter, maybe bring in a bunch of European coaches, especially from Spanish tennis academies. I have a feeling that this would do the trick.
In the meantime, while the USTA figures this out, we’ll have to settle for hoping that Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock continue to develop into better players. The kind of players that can get themselves into the second week at Grand Slams with frequency. However, given their lack of comfort on clay, this may turn out to be a tall task for them. One can only hope.