British hero Andy Murray finally won Wimbledon this year, ending a 77 year drought of a British champion to not only please, but electrify the U.K this summer. Over 73% of the U.K, which included avid tennis fans, to the casual viewer watched and cheered for Murray as he made history.
Meanwhile on American soil, we are facing the same problem the Brits had …although much less severe.
Recently in men's tennis, the Americans have hit a wall. It’s been coming for a while. Andy Roddick, the last American to win the US Open in 2003, has recently retired, leaving no true heir to carry the load of being the US No. 1.
Roddick, who will forever be known for having his Grand Slam success hampered by Roger Federer, the greatest tennis player of all-time, carried the American banner as a top 10 player in the world for a decade. He retired rather prematurely, due to complaints from American fans who expected him to win another Grand Slam.
In the Golden Era of American tennis, we dominated on both the men and women’s side of tennis. In the men’s side, we had John McEnroe, Arthur Ashe, Michael Chang, Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Jimmy Connors, and many more in a 20 year period of amazing tennis. On the women’s side we had Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, the Williams Sisters (still dominating today), and many more.
As of late, American tennis has been quite disappointing on the men’s side.
A few weeks ago, there were no American men in the top 20 of the world rankings for the first time in 40 years. Fortunately, that was quickly nullified by a good result at the Western and Southern Open by American number one John Isner who catapulted back into the top 15.
Meanwhile, the women have been on fire. There are currently ten women in the top 100 of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) rankings, including world number 1, Serena Williams, the outright favorite to win this year's open. Aside from her, the American women are mostly young guns, ready to burst into the top 20 of the world.
So with the women doing their thing for the next couple of years, why don’t our male players have a legitimate chance of winning the US Open?
It’s simple, they, and the rest of the world, stand no chance against the elite. Since 2005, male tennis has been dominated by the “Big Four” consisted of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray. They’ve won the last 34 out of the last 35 majors, and continue to dominate tennis today on all surfaces throughout the calendar year.
The one glimmer of hope for the US men is John Isner. When he is playing his game, the 6 foot 9 inch- giant has the ability to beat anyone, including the “Big Four”. Just two weeks ago he defeated World Number 1 Djokovic in an epic semifinal before narrowly losing to Rafael Nadal in the finals. His game consists of a huge serve and a bazooka-like forehand, and has seen him defeat Roger Federer and Djokovic multiple times in the past. His main problem has not been pulling off upsets, but his level of consistency at the Grand Slams. His best result at Flushing Meadows was a quarterfinal appearance in 2011.
So with the US Open commencing tomorrow at Flushing Meadows, New York, we ask ourselves, how long will it be until we have another men’s champion?
The answer: A while, maybe five to ten years, but we can certainly wait. The French haven’t had a Frenchman win their Grand Slam since 1983, and Australian Open has not been won an Aussie since 1976. It’s only been 10 years since Roddick won the US Open, so we definitely cannot complain. In the meantime, we shall just have to wait for our upcoming junior players to break out and shine when their time comes.
Note: Be sure to watch Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal play for the chance to win $3.6 million! The two superstars won this summer’s US Open Series Challenge, which will reward them with an additional $1 million should they win the last major of the year.