State of American Men’s Tennis is Looking Good
After a long lull of mediocre U.S. men’s tennis, it finally looks like we may have some good representation at the top. Upon the retirement of Andre Agassi and then Andy Roddick and James Blake, the U.S. men’s tennis torch has been carried by John Isner. It’s been lonely at the top for John, however fortunately for him, he now has some great company. Let’s take a look at some of the rising American youngsters at the top, and their prospects for success in 2021 and beyond.
Frances Tiafoe (67)
Frances easily has the most talent out of this group of youngsters and also has had the most success. He won his lone title in Delray Beach in 2018 and has had quarterfinals appearances at the 2019 Australian Open and the 2019 Miami Open. Although Frances had a sub-par 2020 season, he’s now back to playing a full schedule and I have no doubt the wins will start coming his way. He had a decent showing at the Miami Open, losing in the round of 16, and his continued work with coach Wayne Ferreira should get him where he wants to be by the end of the year.
Sebastian Korda (65)
The fact that Sebastian Korda is rising in the ranks of the ATP makes me extremely happy. I loved watching his father play in the 90s, and although the younger Korda does not seem to be as quirky and fun as his father, he’s definitely showing he may have as much game. He’s also the youngest of this group at 20 years of age. Everyone else on this list is 23. Anyway, Korda has already posted a quarterfinal appearance at the 2020 French Open, and a nice quarterfinal run at the 2021 Miami Open. The future looks bright for Sebastian Korda.
Tommy Paul (53)
Tommy has not necessarily had a breakout tournament. What he has done is consistently picked up wins in every tournament he enters. His ranking now allows him the luxury of not having to qualify for tournaments. This will help Tommy continue to slowly rise in the rankings. I don’t necessarily see a big break-out tournament for Tommy, however, I do see him in the top 30, and pulling the occasional upset on tour.
Reilly Opelka (45)
Reilly is the heir apparent to John Isner. Standing at 6’ 11”, Reilly is an imposing force on the other side of the net. He’s already posted two ATP Tour wins at the 2019 New York Open, and 2020 Delray Beach. He hasn’t had a great start to the season, however as he gets more match play, and we move into the grass and hard-court swings, Opelka will be someone nobody will want to face. Expect to see him win a lot of tie breaks in 2021.
Taylor Fritz (30)
Taylor will continue to rise in the rankings in 2021. This kid has game and has proved it time and time again. Not a lot of players can come from two sets down against Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open this year. But that’s exactly what Taylor did. Unfortunately for him, he did not pull the upset. What he did though is put the tennis world on notice. His game and his mind are coming together, and Taylor will continue to improve into 2021, and will probably end the year in the top 20 if he continues his impressive play.
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