Andy Roddick

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Andy Roddick’s latest loss to Marin Cilic in the quarter finals of the Australian Open highlighted the fact that USA is no longer a force to be reckoned with in men’s Tennis. America always had great Tennis material in legends such as Arthur Ash, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Jim Courier, Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras.

The good ol' days

The good ol' days

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Since the start of the open era and the beginning of professional tennis, USA had two main periods where American Tennis players ruled the ATP. The first was in the mid 70’s till the mid 80’s when the famous Connors-McEnroe rivalry featured in different Grand Slam and ATP finals with Bjorn Borg becoming a tough opponent for both the Americans those years. The 2nd successful period was when Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras prospered all through the 90’s until the 00’s (with a special mention to Jim Courier who won 4 grand slam titles in the early 90’s) grabbing 22 grand slam titles between them, providing memorable encounters such as the 1990,2001 and 2002 US Open finals.

Andy Roddick

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With Sampras and Agassi reaching the end of their careers, America looked for an heir, and they found one in the young Andy Roddick as he managed to beat Sampras, Ivanisavic and Gustavo Kuerten since he turned into pro in 2000. In 2003 Roddick reached the semis of the Australian Open and won the US Open, finishing number 1 in the end of 2003. With his trademark powerful serves (recorded the fastest serve in the history of Tennis with 155 Mph) and never say die attitude Roddick became a main figure in the top 10. However, since his win at the US Open Roddick hasn’t won any Grand Slams, being outplayed time and time again by (mostly) Federer, Nadal and others who highlighted the fact that Roddick may be an exiting player to watch and is a fantastic server, but is very limited in most aspects of the game.

The best proof for the decline of American Tennis is the fact that the 7 year period since 2003 is the longest that no American won a Grand Slam. Apart from Roddick, the other Americans who proved to be somewhat significant in the tour in recent years are  James Blake who’s best achievement is the Masters Cup Final in 2006 which he lost in straight sets to who else but… Roger Federer. Mardy Fish, Robby Ginepri (who managed to reach 15 in the ATP Ranking in the end of 2005) and Taylor Dent have been regarded as talented each with his own style of play, although not enough to make it count in major tournaments.

A look at The USA Davis Cup team will show that since 1997 the team reached three finals finishing runners up to Sweden in 1997 (with an infamous 5-0 humiliation) and Spain in 2004. However they won against Russia in 2007. The American team possess the number one seeded double, Bob and Mike Bryan and Andy Roddick. Roddick ,who is 27 years old, is the youngest member of the team(the Bryan brothers are 31 and James Blake is 30 years old) which implements that the team will have a tough time as sufficient back ups haven’t come up just yet and as we all know the clock is ticking. However, the USA are still a powerhouse in the Davis Cup as they hold the record for playing in the World Group for ongoing consecutive years, as it stands on 22 years at the moment.

John Isner

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However, there just might be some hope for American tennis, as two up and coming players threaten to make it to the top 15 this year. One of them is the 2.06 meters high, John Isner, who is currently seeded 29th in the world and after his latest achievements (4th round of the Australian Open 2010 and the US Open 2009) he seems to have potential to be a top 10 player in the upcoming years, as he managed to beat top notch players such as Gael Monfils and Andy Roddick with the help of his powerful serve. The other player who seems to have potential is Sam Querrey who like his doubles team-mate, John Isner,  is a tennis giant notching up to 1.98 meters. Both players featured in all the Grand Slams with minor success though they left an impression and left a bit of hope for mens Tennis in America.

Sam Querrey

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So, American mens Tennis has come up a bit short (only in terms of success) these days but with two talents on the way to become an integral part of the elite of the ATP and one Andy Roddick who can maybe serve his way to another long awaited and coveted Grand Slam, America is maybe not so far from finding their next Tennis superstar.