x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

US men's tennis 'A victim of own success'

Commentators have been lamenting American men's tennis for a few years now.

Andy Roddick was the last US men's tennis pro to win a grand slam event, that being the 2003 US Open.
Andy Roddick was the last US men's tennis pro to win a grand slam event, that being the 2003 US Open.

On the first two days of the London 2012 tennis, three of the United States' four participants in the men's singles have been on court and only one of them has not walked through the exit door.

Donald Young, once the great hope of American tennis, is out and now has not won a match since February. Ryan Harrison, meanwhile, left the Games frustrated with a mangled racket as a souvenir after going down to Colombia's Santiago Giraldo.

John Isner was the early winner for the US, and was later joined in the second round by Andy Roddick, who defeated Slovakia's Martin Klizan 7-5, 6-4.

In winning that battle, he runs into Novak Djokovic in the second round for a place in the last 16. The upshot of the clash with the Serbian is the US will still be waiting for their first men's Olympic champion since Andre Agassi's triumph at Atlanta in 1996.

Commentators have been lamenting American men's tennis for a few years now.

Roddick was the last American male to win a grand slam (the US Open in 2003) and the last to reach the top of the rankings. Roddick was the sixth American to occupy the No 1 spot since the start of the rankings in August 1973, with the others being Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Jim Courier, Pete Sampras and Agassi.

Together, they have held the top ranking for a combined 896 weeks. To put their era of dominance into perspective, Switzerland are the second-best nation on that list with 289 weeks, all down to the Roger Federer.

America is also at the top of the list of nations with the most men's grand slam champions in the open era with 51. The next best is Sweden with 25.

Yet this week there is not a single American in the ATP top 10 and only 10 in the top 100.

What, then, are the reasons for their spiralling fortunes?

According to Roddick: "I think we're kind of a victim of our own success over the years in the past."

arizvi@thenational.ae

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