Concrete Elbow by Steve Tignor - Un-American
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Un-American 09/07/2010 - 9:16 PM

Wawrinka The question, whatever the venue, whatever the day, is always the same: “What’s wrong with American tennis?” No, that's not true, it’s not exactly the same, as I found out this morning when I was a guest on a sports radio program in Florida. This time the host asked, “What happened to American tennis?”

It’s still going pretty strong on the women’s side, at least for the moment. But it’s a valid question on the men’s, where Sam Querrey’s fourth-round exit today means there will be no American male in the U.S. Open quarters for the second consecutive year, and, putting the four Grand Slams together, this country’s ATP players just completed their weakest collective season of the Open era.

The relative and likely temporary decline of U.S. men’s tennis is the furthest thing from news, and we’ve heard all kinds of theories about what must be done to combat it, from corralling every kid with a 100-m.p.h. serve into a giant tennis farm to making them all play on little courts with nerf balls. The answer remains elusive, probably because it doesn’t exist. Take the case of Sam Querrey, the last American man left. The easygoing Californian and current No. 22 in the world defies all the stereotypes of the prodigy. He went to high school, ate dinner at home, and wasn’t on anyone’s radar screen until late in his teens. I can remember seeing him play at the Orange Bowl four or five years ago. The card-carrying members of the junior elite were stunned to watch him winning matches. Of the dozens of players who entered that event, the only guy ranked ahead of Querrey now is Marin Cilic. The point is, next great hopes, even multiple next great hopes, can come from nowhere. 1987 was a season of comparable weakness for American men. Two years later, Michael Chang won the French Open. Pete Sampras won the U.S. Open in 1990. Jim Courier won the French Open in 1991. Andre Agassi won Wimbledon in 1992.

For today, though, the U.S. had Querrey and Querrey alone. He spent five sets and more than four hours in Ashe Stadium battling the gusts and playing enervating, cat and mouse, error-strewn tennis against Stanislas Wawrinka. It was a match of long lulls and monotonous holds; with the air swirling, each player had to shorten their strokes and play cautiously, but it was still tough for them to keep the ball inside the baseline. Wawrinka, who said before the match that he wanted to be more aggressive because Querrey doesn’t like to play “on the defense,” spent long periods patiently floating his slice backhand deep into his opponent’s backhand side. Querrey, robbed of pace, was hesitant to let the ball rip.

It all made for choppy tennis. Each set unfolded in a similar way: After all of the monotonous holds, a mad scramble ensued. The first set ended with an 11-9 tiebreaker. On set point in the second, Wawrinka watched as a forehand of his hit the tape, popped forward, and was still pushed back onto his side of the court by the wind. He lost the set 7-5. The third set, which also ended 7-5, turned on a couple of botched volleys by Querrey. At the end of the fourth, Querrey capitalized on a sudden drop in play from Wawrinka to break. The Swiss returned the favor in the fifth, when Querrey couldn’t find a first serve.

After four hours of back and forth, very little daylight developed between the two; each gave and took in equal measures, and looked equally brilliant in spots and utterly vulnerable in others. Wawrinka’s new coach, Peter Lundgren—they started working together two months ago—said right off the bat that he wanted to make Wawrinka play more aggressively. This is what every coach says, of course, but they were pretty much the first words out of Lundgren’s mouth when they hooked up. Wawrinka did belt the ball with abandon against Andy Murray in the last round. In this one, hampered by the wind, he went to the slice with his backhand. But while he used that primarily as a change of pace for the first four sets, he was able to transform it into a match-deciding offensive play in the fifth. Up 3-2, he began to slide that slice down the line and follow it to net. It was a play he used the rest of the way, and which paid dividends in the final game. On his first match point, Wawrinka came forward, but ended up missing an overhead. On his second, he hit a superb approach and finished the point with his second volley. Lundgren, bellowing irritatingly throughout, must have been happy. It took five sets, but Wawrinka found his aggressive solution.

Afterward, Querrey was, predictably, barraged with questions about the absence of American men in the quarters, the general decline of American tennis, and the disgraceful incompetence his U.S. cronies—that last part was not explicitly stated, but the tone was there. Querrey could only muster one answer, the only answer possible: “We’re trying our best.” As I said, these things come in cycles, but looking at Querrey's loss next to Mardy Fish’s (to Djokovic), John Isner’s (to Youzhny) and Andy Roddick’s (to Tipsarevic), you can see that the U.S. lives a tier below the Europeans these days—only one of those defeats came to someone in the Top 10.

Americans serve bigger but don’t move as well as the Euros. Their two-handed backhands largely limit their games to the backcourt. They rally and blast, rather than construct, from the baseline. Isner has had a great year, but Youzhny was the superior player in all facets the other night. Ditto for Fish—great year, but he was outclassed by Djokovic. Querrey and Wawrinka were dead even for four sets, but Wawrinka’s one-hand backhand gave him the flexibility to mix in a new look after four hours.

In the past, U.S. men have excelled most of all at arrogance, the Connors-McEnroe-Agassi-Roddick brand of arrogance that looks ugly but wins matches. Roddick still has it, and a touch of that toughness survives in Isner. Querrey? When he wins, I like to say that his calmness helps him. When he loses, I usually write that he’s too calm, that he needs to show more fire at the crucial moments. The guy can’t win with me. This time, while Wawrinka made adjustments at the end, Querrey stuck with he what had and got tight in the final game. After all that time, I couldn’t believe he would let it end that easily. Sam lost in the fourth round at Wimbledon and the fourth round here, his two strongest results at the majors. Would a little more arrogance have helped? Maybe, or maybe that just isn’t him; maybe that isn’t American tennis at the moment. Like Querrey said, all he and his countryman can do is try their best. Too bad that’s never going to be good enough for us.


Posted by federerfan 09/07/2010 at 09:41 PM

first ?!

and too bad, i am sure that would be good enuf and europe! and maybe that is the reason for the whole thing being what it is!

Posted by federerfan 09/07/2010 at 09:41 PM

that should read "in europe" not "and europe"

Posted by Mark 09/07/2010 at 10:02 PM

What's up with Pete Bodo and Steve Tignor writing and criticizing American Tennis players. It's not their fault; the guys are just playing tennis to the best of ability. I think they need to blame the American system being so pro football and baseball; tennis is not important for the young generations in the US it is all about something else. Just face it, tennis is not popular in the US and as long is it is not popular younger generations will get into the boring sports such as: baseball and football. It is all about money!!!!!! Money talks!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Tom in Smalltown 09/07/2010 at 10:08 PM

I agree, there will be another breakthrough some time. I don't know about the rest of the country, but in my little corner of the world, tennis is largely played by sub par athletes--the big team sports and even wrestling gobble up the athletes at very young ages with fantastic youth programs, while tennis languishes in wealthy clubs that hold the commoners at bay with clothing restrictions and expensive lessons. (Can you tell that I'm a blue collar tennis player?)

Posted by Pete Van T 09/07/2010 at 10:21 PM

It's not going to be good enough for a great many people in the U.S., but for some of us, not having a wealth of American contenders is not a concern. I am drawn to the drama of the tour and the array of different endearing characters, no matter what their nationality.

It has always confused me when people bring national pride into tour events. In
Davis Cup that is sort of the whole point, but tour events? Why should national pride have anything to do with anything? These are all individuals competing, not part of any team. I will always root for and be drawn to the people whom I like the most, or who I feel are the most deserving.

I loved Sampras, Courier, Agassi, and Martin, and it had nothing to do with the fact that they are American. I hate Roddick and it also has nothing to do with the fact that he is American.

Querrey? He has shown me in past years that he is talented, competitive, modest, and likable. I would like to see him have even more of a break-through at some point, even if he were from North Korea.

Posted by Northern boy 09/07/2010 at 10:59 PM

I hardly think Stan's one handed backhand won him the match. Querrey was more than capable of winning this in straight sets. He had triple break point early on Stan's serve, but didn't convert. He was up a break in the 3rd and lost on a profoundly sloppy and unintelligent game (not a single first serve and a horrible decision to try for a zinger 2nd serve DTL on break point = DF). Similarly, he wasted a break in the 5th and played sloppy again in the final game.

So while Stan played terrific to keep himself in it, I would say Querrey lost this match, it was on his racquet. Too bad, his movement is fantastic for his size (makes Isner look like an arthritic giraffe). His serve doesn't match up to Isner though.

Posted by Andrew Miller 09/07/2010 at 11:00 PM

If the issue is the lack of a probing backhand, I have to say that Agassi may have been great because his backhand created opportunities - even if it was two handed. Roddick's backhand is a rally shot, Blake's backhand is a rally shot, diddo for Querrey and Isner. But Agassi, and to an extent Fish, possess backhands that, although two handed, can probe. I think Nadal and Djokovic do also - their backhands win points, rather than keep them in points. So is it fair to say that the U.S. players' lack of opportunistic backhands holds them, for lack of a better word, back?

Posted by i come from anon 09/07/2010 at 11:01 PM

Unfortunately, that's what you get when so many kids in America think of (American) football and basketball as the best sports. It also doesn't help that there are so many chances to get rich in those team sports from sponsorships and whatnot. Tennis takes a lot of money to focus on, from coaching to travel to tournament fees (when you aren't one of the top). Without popularity, our tennis organizations fail to help with funding potential.

Posted by arbiter 09/07/2010 at 11:04 PM

For me, Sam needs more strength in his legs. He simply often does not go low enough, especially on important points. He is very calm, but I think that is good for tennis. US is doing very well, in my mind. Roddick, Querrey and the new guy, Harrison, present a formidable team (if the new Davis Cup captain convinces Andy to play). I like Isner a lot, but he is simply - too tall.

Posted by Maria 09/07/2010 at 11:14 PM

Good article. Steve. It's true that the only really excellent shot of American players is the serve. As far as the rest of the game, no American is currently even in the top 30. It's the serve that keeps Roddick, Querrey and Isner relatively well positioned. Nothing is really outstanding in their other shots: Roddick plays very defensively and is essentially boring to watch, the other two occasionally hit big forehands but that's about it. Their movement is at best mediocre. The last American player who was moving well was Agassi. Perhaps this is what US coaches should emphasize in their youth development programs etc -- ability to anticipate, get to the ball early, take it on the rise etc.

Posted by Kombo 09/07/2010 at 11:32 PM

Deal with it, America.

"Not good enough" sounds like something a spoiled brat with an overblown sense of entitlement would say.

Too many doughnuts and myopic coaching.

Posted by Andra 09/07/2010 at 11:43 PM

Arrogance doesn't do it, nor do big serves alone. Fifteen or more years ago the Spanish were known as clay court players and little else. They began to develop a game on CLAY that transitioned well to the other surfaces. And here they are with more players in the round of sixteen than I can remember from any one country - winning on fast hard courts.

Maybe the powers that be here in the USA can dig their respective heads out of their bum and give some thought to this. Then maybe they can begin to restore those clay courts they poured concrete over and realize that maybe they should be developing their young players on some other surface too.

Posted by Bob Sacamano 09/07/2010 at 11:48 PM

I grant that it is possible that this is a temporary fallow period for the U.S. But I would also add this: tennis is not popular with young people. Richard Williams singlehandedly created the Serena/Venus juggernaut. It takes a lot of practice time to see whether a kid has the requisite game to advance to the highest level. And it is not as enjoyable or social as golf can be. I see a period ahead where a lot of great young golfers (male and female) will emerge in the U.S. But unless there is an obsessive American parent out there fortuitously matched with a supremely talented son or daughter, the U.S. will continue on this slide, underrepresented in tennis given the size of our population.

Posted by Eurotour 09/08/2010 at 01:14 AM

Better get used to this "America". Your best doctors come from India, your brightest scientists are German or Japanese. You even have a black president who I think has a middle name Hussein, no? I personally don't like the attitude of some players like Roddick who think they are heirs to tennis glory. Bad news Andy, you have to earn it. In the U.S. Major League Baseball calls their champion "World Champions", yet that league is only played within the U.S. and Canada, I think. You know who the real baseball World Champions are? Japan and/or Cuba who have won the last two Baseball Classics where the U.S. have been eliminated before even the semifinals. Football is only played here, so the Super Bowl winner is not a real world champ and I guess you all saw where we placed in the last World Cup, which is a real global contest of the most popular sport in the world. Oh, and by the way, stop referring to the United States as "America". The real meaning of America or the correct use of the word is used to refer to the entire continent and it must include all countries in South and Central America and not just one country in its northern hemisphere. Even if you say that past great tennis champions are from the U.S, well, Sampras sounds Italian to me. Agassi is from Iran. McEnroe is Irish. Chang and Pancho Gonzalez, are you kidding me? Capriati? Even our possible future star, Melanie Oudin is FRENCH!

Posted by Geellis 09/08/2010 at 01:52 AM

Ugh!!! Even though I just moved back from Germany, I feel I have more American pride than you evince here. Although tennis is an individual player sport, it's clear that nations support their own. Can you imagine anything less than 100% partisanship in Madrid or Barcelona with a Spanish player playing a player from any other country? Ditto for France, Germany, and England. So I think it's fitting that Americans support American players. And get over the "real meaning" nonsense. I went to the University of Michigan and we say Michigan. It doesn't matter to us that there are other schools with Michigan in their name: Eastern, Western, Michigan State, Central Mich., etc, globally, there's only one school that can recognizably call itself Michigan and that's The University of Michigan. Same for America. All other countries and continents just have to content themselves with adding adjectives to clarify who/where they are (South or Central or North when we wish to include Canada in some way), that's called connotation and it's ok.

Posted by David 09/08/2010 at 02:09 AM

wow eurotour, even by internet standards, you are an idiot. congrats

Posted by Corrie 09/08/2010 at 03:49 AM

I completely agree with Pete van T. The reason I got interested in tennis was because you could follow individual players who took your fancy without having to be nationalistic - apart from Davis Cup, of course. I like Querry's calmness a lot and usually support him, though doubtless what I like isn't the best for winning. He probably does need more fire and fervour. I also like Wawrinka and like to support him too.. Two players I can follow from different continents from me - that's what great about tennis.

Posted by felizjulianidad 09/08/2010 at 04:15 AM


I am one more European who would rather you shut up and refrain from broadcasting your ignorance.

"Sampras" sounding Italian? That's pathetic. Words ending in consonants that aren't "n" are outliers in Italian - Sampras is of Greek origin. However, with the Republican that he is, I'm sure he'd have no problem telling you what his nationality is.

As for the imported medical and scientific talent, that is no different from the last 300 years of North Americann history: offering talented people a safer haven and venue than they find in their native countries (which are usually populated by mediocre, ignorant bigots much like yourself) - offering a home to foreign talent is what defines North America.

I also disagree with your comments on Roddick - he is a consummate hard worker, shoots straight, and keeps coming back with a new tweak to his admittedly limited game no matter how many times Federer sends him home.

Also, cut it out with the racism or get with the 21st century - if you find black skin un-American, there are plenty of illiterate folk nostalgic of the Antebellum South that you could be introduced to. You'd fit in grandly.

Posted by drew 09/08/2010 at 04:38 AM

As someone mentioned, money talks. One of the reasons that baseball, football and now soccer are so popular among young people in this country is they are comparatively very inexpensive to play. It costs $60 for my son (age 7) to play soccer for the entire fall season. Whereas, it cost us $30 for a one-half hour tennis lesson. An entire season of soccer costs the same as one hour of tennis lessons! Which one will most people choose for whom budgetary issues are a concern?

With tennis lessons being this expensive it severely reduces the pool of players and potential tennis greats. I understand that money has its benefits, but lack of it will prevent many top quality athletes from ever getting the chance to develop and perform on the tennis court. The major sports in this country have a very broad base of participants, sadly tennis does not.

Posted by reckoner 09/08/2010 at 05:56 AM

querrey looked on the verge of tears post-match as he packed his racket bag and got quickly off the court... so at least the guy cares, and at least he righted the mental ship after his "im worn out on tennis and just want to fly home" incident earlier this summer... but i think americans want better results, deeper grand slam tourney showings, and prettier playing styles to root for

tennis fandom has generally seemed to transcend any issue of nationality-- if you ask tennis purists who they like, theyll tend to choose players based on their games, not b/c theyre inherent homers picking a guy from their own country

seems like connors, mcenroe, sampras, agassi, and to a certain extent even the blue collar guys like chang, courier and roddick, they all had aesthetically pleasing games to some certain extent, so they created their own legions of followers who bought into their backstories and watched their rivalries develop, and they grew their fanbase

frankly, todays american crop showcase ugly games w/ no real backstories, and not enough high-profile results to generate rivalries

guys like isner, querrey and fish (even w/ his recently admirable focus on conditioning) exhibit pretty unattractive, cookie-cutter playing styles... isner and querrey look like a pair of praying mantis' flailing around, while the euros and south americans show great footwork and have much smoother strokes and even nicer physiques

it sounds superficial and theres a probably a kournikova joke (or 20) to be made but i think this theory holds water

Posted by petewho 09/08/2010 at 06:18 AM

The last poster is right, the Americans do have very ugly games .

Perhaps one reason the Europeans like Spain , France do well ( although france do not have any slam winners ethier ) is the focus on clay which encourages " good strokes " and fitness rather than hard where you can get away with serving - big shots.

I think before when the technology was less powerful ( back in Mac, Connos day ) you could get away with still learning a lot and developing those strokes on hard because it was a lot slower - harder to win points, these days you really need to be on clay to do that.

Look Murray the only success out of the uk and real GS prospect he left the dismal English system of LTA for Spain and spent the majority of teens on clay, maybe those crucial early years are the reason he never took it the full way to develoing a WEAPON - but at least he learned some other tricks , strategy instead.

Posted by petewho 09/08/2010 at 06:27 AM

Look at the last generation that grew up as kids playing with wood on hard courts and you will see they coincide with the last great American Champions ( Courier, Chang etc )

Steve , you must of been right at the end of this generation like me ( I am 35 too ) however I played on clay , so it didnt matter i.e. I had to hit good shots to win on clay .

Its no brainer if you ask me , clay exposes are your technical flaws , fitness issues from the ground up , this also true mentally to some extent - so I dont why the USTA cant see this .

Clay is nightmare to maintain in the UK weather system ( the LTAs excuse inspite of all the money from Wimbledon ) but it shouldnt be so big a problem for the US.

If you look at colder countries where clay might be a problem i.e. Sweden you will see that they have not done so well as of late either with their players - esp since Edberg retired who obviously grow up on wood too.

Posted by Jurasick 09/08/2010 at 07:06 AM

I agree with "Tom in Smalltown". Tennis is still a sport for the privileged few. It may not be a country club sport but in my home town in Virginia, it's a club mentality that prevails as regards who plays in the local USTA tournaments. Add to that, we have one USTA-certified coach in town who is busy augmenting his income by selling Head racquets and selling spots on upcoming training programs. When my son goes for his lessons (and he's been going for 4 years now), I rarely see this coach talk about stroke production, racquet-head speed, or the need for smart footwork and tactics. And when 90-minute sessions have upwards of 6 or 7 kids, I don't think the kids really learn anything great. Also, I agree with Tom about sub-par athletes. I see that the majority of kids that take up tennis are not very good athletes. Often, especially with the boys, they choose tennis because the chances of physical contact are lower when compared with football, basketball, or even baseball. But the kids are not to really blame for this. It is the low motivation of coaches and of parents that send the kids for lessons just to "keep them occupied". Besides, when our famed sports channel - ESPN - can continue showing Little League games well into scheduled ATP tournament telecasts, when CBS can cut away before a tennis match ends so they can show something else, it's no wonder most kids don't even know about tennis.

Posted by princepro110 09/08/2010 at 07:46 AM

McEnroe jumping ship and quitting as Davis Cup Captain can see how empty the cupboard is. He doesn't have a clue as does the USTA with all the gimicks they try to come up with. The USTA making a payoff to Chris Everet to run a made to fail training center in South Florida is another brutal decision.

Spain seems to be producing the players now but then again a 30% umemploment rate doesn't hurt either for guys to be hungry! Our best players now still come from spoon feed upper class families that have been pampered all their lives. What motivation to win?

Posted by Dr. Edgewood Cheesewater 09/08/2010 at 08:17 AM

"It was only a tennis match. Nobody died." - Boris Becker.

I thought it was a great match and Querry showed excellent concentration.

He stayed in the moment the entire match on every point.

At the end he was too tired to move.

Posted by Dr. Edgewood Cheesewater 09/08/2010 at 08:20 AM

Someone is saying that Sampras and Agassi had "ugly games"?

I think Sampras's game was astonishingly great - somethng never seen before.

And if you watch the tape of Agassi even now you can see he is about the best hitter of the ball anyone has ever seen.

Posted by Dr. Edgewood Cheesewater 09/08/2010 at 08:29 AM

I liked Querry's additude a lot.

First of all, he enjoyed himself because after all - playing a tennis match is not exactly "work" - it is fun.

Secondly he didn't get all mental when he made an error. This is the mental state all players should try to achieve.

I think players should realize:

1) On every point you are doing the best you can and different things happen. Why get mad at yourself for making a mistake? Does it help at all?

2) There are no excuses. Accept the result of the point. If you didn't make a shot - it means that you weren't able to make it at that time. The point is the result. Whether your shoe was untied or a gust of wind came up - it makes no difference. the point is the point.

Posted by Mark 09/08/2010 at 08:30 AM

I completely agree with "drew"! My son has been playing tennis since he was 4. He is a great athelete and is very good at it, but it is costing us an arm and a leg to pay for all his lessons ($700.00) per month (something we do for him not because we are rich, but because we will rather not take vacations, eat in expensive restaurants and try to barely make it happen for him.........

Posted by Edie 09/08/2010 at 08:37 AM

I agree with the comment that in the individual events, nationality is not the issue
How can we not cheer a federer or a nadal, and not be ashamed of a Roddick who constantly tries to humiliate umpires and linespersons?
Why would we not celebrate all of the great women--the Williams sisters but also Kim, Maria etc?
Let us appreciate them all--individuals with talent and grace
And let us be hopeful that someone, probably Sam, can break through soon,

Posted by Emily 09/08/2010 at 08:42 AM

At least one good American fact has become too obvious for the tennis establishment to ignore anymore:
America has never bought their glorification of Andy Roddick's arrogance. There was general disgust of his behavior, as usual, but this time people made if effectively known.
The USTA and others in the media would be smart to turn the page----drop its Roddick pampering and celebrate the other Americans doing well

Posted by felizjulianidad 09/08/2010 at 08:42 AM

Steve is talking about the ATTITUDE that badboy competitors like Agassi, Sampras, Connors, MacEnroe and Roddick had. Blake, Fish, Querrey and Isner are talented guys with their own gifts, but they don't have that "go get'em" grit that characterized their predecessors.

Call me cynical and call my comment unrelated but I think it's representative of the general sense of entitlement malaise (and corresponding lack of aggressiveness, hunger and direction) that has afflicted the US as a whole.

Posted by Kate 09/08/2010 at 08:43 AM

We haven't had a vacation since '96, never eat out and still could not afford tennis lessons for our wonderful son.

Sigh. Lesson-envy.

Posted by petewho 09/08/2010 at 08:54 AM

i never said Petes or Agassis game were ugly .

Petes serve was the greatest period - esp considering he was only 6. 1 ft and had very nice motion to it , while Agassi's groundies where awesome ( imo at their best at the FO 91 )

I dont care for ROddick but he is the last of that era as far as , US players who wherent cookie cutter - or at least borderline .

And like it or not he does have the right big match mentality ( just look at how he managed to beat Fed after being drubbed so many times ) Its understandable he should be pissed considering the hard work hes tried to put in etc etc

Im not saying I love the guy but - aside form the FO and AUS hes always been in the chase .

If it werent for his lack of options coming down to just his serve , he could of been very formiddable opponent indeed - the new US guys should take note.

Posted by petewho 09/08/2010 at 09:04 AM

You dont think ROger or Rafa have an ego like Roddick , if not bigger ?

I doubt it , you dont become a GOAT or top in any sport by being charitable , the only difference is with US players , they've usually showed because thats how most Americans Pysche plays out in real life - hence the Brash image America has from the sorta " our guns are bigger than yours mentality ".

Europeans have this too , they are just not as comfortable at showing it or like to mask it as something else .

There is no such thing as selfless success in sport , all sport is built upon fragile egos , thats why MacEnroes comment about thinkers i.e philopshers not doing well in tennis makes sense.

Posted by sebastiandiplo 09/08/2010 at 09:10 AM

american tennis is dead, and would never resurge, roddick is gonna retired, we have isner and querrey both good players but not that good, so yeah its the end for american tennis no doubt

Posted by Alex 09/08/2010 at 09:24 AM

Great article Tignor.

The americans can not blame the USTA, because it is so organized and the tournaments are great.

But the players should focus in clay courts to improve the foot work and the rally time, and not just thinking in serve.

Posted by sebastiandiplo 09/08/2010 at 09:26 AM

even though roddick is a underachiever, he is the best underachiever so far, Isner and querrey still are good players, they wont reach nothing compared to roddick, we have to expect another grat american tennis player, maybe harrison could be our last hope

Posted by !whatthedeuce? 09/08/2010 at 09:32 AM

Generally speaking, Americans are not known for their is now more tactical and strategic than ever and defensive capabilities are paramount. Quick strike attitudes do not win over the long haul, there must be patience and constant planning and strategizing to create openings and opportunities - very much like a soccer mentality (make sure not to break down defensively and keep poking and prodding for offence). Obviously a European strength, not so much an American one.

Posted by Kwaku 09/08/2010 at 09:55 AM

"the Connors-McEnroe-Agassi-Roddick brand of arrogance that looks ugly but wins matches"

I beg your pardon? *rolls eyes*

Steve, you know you are my favorite tennis blogger, but what does arrogance have to do with winning matches at all? At the very best, we're talking about a random coincidence taking place in a few players. At best. (You know, that human's brain tendency to looking for patterns and thinking there is cause-and-effect much more than there really is.)

If there were some cause-and-effect connection at all, I'd rather tend to think arrogance makes success more difficult. Or that a badly understood success causes arrogance (but not vice-versa). Or that lack of success causes arrogance (like Roddick's attitude to linespeople when the match does not go his way). I mean, basically any cause-and-effect relationship is more plausible than arrogance causing success.

And indeed, if arrogance won matches, then the opposite of arrogance would cause failure. Now think Nadal.

Only good tennis wins matches. The arrogance just looks ugly, period.

Posted by sebastiandiplo 09/08/2010 at 10:01 AM

dude, good tennis, nadal???? thats ugly tennis, good tennis is made by roger for ever ande ever, nadal is just a hit and run player no more than that, talent, style and display of real tennis is only made by roger king federer, no one besides him can do it...... wish i see nadal winning GS titles the way federer was winning the las 8 eight years. bet that nadal will bow out against verdasco, if not in the semifinal against wawrinka or youzhny, thats all nadal would never win the us open, and in fact he never and wont ever display real good tennis, nadal tennis is like we call ugly tennis

Posted by sebastiandiplo 09/08/2010 at 10:04 AM


Posted by sebastiandiplo 09/08/2010 at 10:08 AM

GOSH nadal would never be as great as agassi or sampras....nadal won wimbledon and french open because of the inconsistency of the other players, he had the luck that the other huge players were inconsistent at that time, just looking at aus open, it can be noticed that nadal is playing the same way, the only difference is the bad time for players like murray, djokovic and federer, at their best these three players would beat nadal in straight sets, taking for granted that at the french open could be an exemption.....

Posted by sebastiandiplo 09/08/2010 at 10:15 AM

as it look ugly the arrogance of nadal which comes right to his play and attitude...

Posted by ks 09/08/2010 at 10:18 AM

"In the past, U.S. men have excelled most of all at arrogance, the Connors-McEnroe-Agassi-Roddick brand of arrogance that looks ugly but wins matches. "

Skill and mental strength win matches, not arrogrance. If by arrogance, one is alluding to portraying confidence on the court, then that is slightly different. Connor, McEnroe,Agassi,Roddick won because of their skill level, competitive spirit - not arrogance. What about Sampras or Courier? Or, what about champions from other countries like the Aussie greats, Borg, Becker, Lendl, Federer, Nadal etc.

As a post noted above, arrogance simply looks ugly. Though at the same time, it is not surprising that arrogance is considered a necessary trait(almost a virtue?) to have in order to win in sports as reflected by Steve and by athletes in this country ?

Posted by NadalsaChamp 09/08/2010 at 10:44 AM

sebastiandiplo you are just making yourself sound dumb...
what happened when Nadal won the AO open? Who did he beat? The mighty Fed...
And should we say the only reason Fed won the French was because Nadal was injured??

Posted by Nina 09/08/2010 at 11:08 AM

Nadal is the least arrogant guy i can think of, and I'm surely not a fan... but people are so biased that's ridiculous.

I also don't think tennis is more successful in Spain because it is popular. Only when Nadal wins a Grand Slam does he appear on the cover of national papers. The rest of the year it's like tennis doesn't exist. And soccer is the nº1 sport by a huge difference, no other sports can compete with it in terms of popularity, media coverage and people playing it.
I guess we have always had excellent tennis players in Spain thanks to the labour of Barcelona's tennis academy, the best in Spain. Even Murray came young to train there. It's internationally acclaimed. And they have some of the best coaches.

Posted by Texastennis 09/08/2010 at 11:11 AM

The current lead guys just aren't good enough - no amount of arrogance would make them good enough. And I think it's just insulting to the amazing crop of American players who precede them to say arrogance made the difference. The talent of those guys far exceeded the talent of the Isner and Querry cohort.

The difficulties the US has in bringing the best young athletes through now, referenced in several comments, are true,and I think judging from the current older US teens the drought is going to be a long one.

Very strange article.

Posted by Avec Double Cordage 09/08/2010 at 11:11 AM

it's about the mix, in Spain and France the young play just as much on hard courts as on clay courts. You gotta have both. Only hard courts (as in the US) does not work but only clay courts does not work either, a good example is Italy where hard courts are extremely rare, public courts nonexistent and the entire system based on country clubs that families with kids willing to work hard can not afford. Germany is in a similar position, but due to the colder climate there are more indoor facilities where clay is not as dominant, furthermore even though the system is also mostly based on country clubs it is more easy to access them then it is in Italy, partly because in Germany the "system" is decentralized. So even though also Germany has very few public courts the pool from which to draw young talents is bigger and from an income point of view more diversified. This explains the better results at the ATP top 100 level of Germany compared to Italy, although both countries are dominated by clay court tennis and have roughly the same amount of challengers and futures tournaments necessary for the younger players to reach the ATP tour, actually only the USA have more challenger tournaments than Italy but 90% of those are on clay. Naturally the tennis boom in Italy is dating back to the mid seventies where the German tennis boom is more recent and dates back to the mid eighties and was bigger also Italy has a population of 60 millions and Germany 80 millions, but both federations made the same mistakes and could not channel that tennis boom in a permanent popularization of tennis so for the most part it is still restricted to country clubs and their federations are a "federation of country clubs", Spain and Argentina or Russia did not have that problem cuz the federations there are weaker. The fact that other sports such as football, volleyball, basketball, swimming etc. take the best athletes comes into play heavily, and this is also the reason why Italy at the WTA level is somehow equal to Germany if not stronger, that's cuz in Italy tennis on the women's side has not to compete with football whereas in Germany it does. The focus on the serve (and return I might add) of the US system is key and in France, Spain and also Germany they are doing that too since quite a while (not in Italy where touch-play and shot making is still overrated compared to footwork, athleticism and hunger), without it there might be no US tennis players in the top 50, but then again the serve and return have been focused on in the US ever since Sampras and Agassi or actually way before they hit the scene there where guys like Wheaton etc. ...journeymen if it were not for their serve. What is (or better was) missing in the US is the emphasis on footwork that 50% of clay courts or artificial grass or clay (that are more easy on the maintenance side) could bring. Still the problem that most of the good athletes end up in team sports persists. I think that the Harrison brothers with their more complete game will do a good job for US tennis and will be on the top with Krajinovic, Tomic and Dimitrov for quite a while, maybe not at the very top cuz there is a whole lot of Spanish, South American, and Eastern European or Asian kids that are not really on the radar yet.

Posted by Michele 09/08/2010 at 11:18 AM

I agree with Pete Van T, too. Tennis is the sport without borders. I like players because of how they play not where they come from. Problem with American tennis is that the media gets obsessed with mediocre American players. Listening to the commentary of a match involving Querrey or Isner is almost unbearable. And reading about Ryan Harrison like he's the great American hope is even worse.

How do we make the sport more popular in America? Forget about where a player comes from and concentrate on the amazing talents the top ones have. You couldn't ask for a better rivalry than what we have now. Sheesh.

Posted by Kristy 09/08/2010 at 11:19 AM

The "arrogance" of American players is sometimes more a character defect where they can't stand to lose, so they act out with childish rudeness and (in Roddick's case) abusiveness. Does that actually sound like arrogance? It's more like immaturity or ... desperation. I think the Euro guys might have a better sense of proportion because of their cultural history. To them tennis really is just a game. You know how you can play better or do anything better when you don't care as much? That might be what's going on here.

Before people get upset, I know Rafa, Fed and most of the others care as much as American players (though I just said they didn't) but I think it might not be part of their upbringing to make sports so huge. I went to school for a year in ENgland and found it striking how the sports players went about their business quietly and with no fanfare. They had no particular status in the school - in fact it was hard to know who played sports and who didn't. A different mindset.

Posted by Kent 09/08/2010 at 11:23 AM

When we look at American Tennis in the modern era, it appears that we have a junior system that no longer works. USTA promotes nerf balls and short courts and expects this to magically fix the problem. I think Isner and Querrey are interesting in that they developed in many ways outside of the current USTA system. In reality, the cost of developing players in the US has limited the available pool of high level prospects. This, combined with the fact that American Juniors have little opportunity to develop playing college tennis - most of the scholarships going to Europeans - creates an opportunity cost that is to high for many hungry young Americans and the subsequent decline of American professional tennis. In effect, the USTA, reliance on Academy development and the continuing shift of college tennis scholarships to foreign players (by the way - wouldn't more American players on rosters of American universities provide a bit more incentive to keep the programs in tight budget times) have created a perfect storm in which American Professional Tennis might drown in a sea of mediocrity.

Posted by Vedgetable Lasagna 09/08/2010 at 12:07 PM

I don't think Roddick is arrogant at all.

Posted by edrina 09/08/2010 at 12:07 PM

Sam I'm proud that you got as far as you did.

If the American public and press don't lay off you they will get what they deserve. I don't want you to become jaded and less caring now that the pressure is being transferred to you with there no longer being any great expectations for Roddick.

Love ya-Hang in there!

Posted by Vedgetable Lasagna 09/08/2010 at 12:10 PM

If you think about the things Roddick has said over the years - How could you think he is arrogant?

He is self-effacing and honest.

He has enough respect for people to honestly answer questions.

Posted by Larry 09/08/2010 at 12:13 PM

Problems of American tennis development are multiple. Many good points already made. Jose Higueras, with whom I took a clinic once, understands the game comprehensively and made some good points in his press conference with P McEnroe. The Spaniards are taught tennis; that is, they are taught the things that enable them to play a rally decisively and effectively - fitness, court position, high-percentage shots. Higueras did not say this, but I will: you often give yourself the ability to do surprising things if you cover the fundamentals. Because they play every point as if it will last a while, they have the ability to end the point. In other words, their tennis IQs and execution give them the patience to play defense and quickly switch to offense. Contrary to the stereotypes about claycourt players, they don't seek to play defense (Higueras pointed out that 'playing defense' is a misnomer).

Instead, they accept the need to play defensive/neutral/offensive in a point. Big, over-beefed players of any nationality raised on hard courts are taught first-strike tennis. This might be the 'Bollitierri forehand' in popular language, or big serve/first strike forehand (or Sampras' serve-volley variation), but it assumes that the player will always be on the offensive and able to bully the foe. When this does not happen, these players get frustrated and impatient.

Aside from that, it's true that tennis is a declining sport in the US, has never been important, doesn't get the girls, and is expensive when it comes to training a young player.

I also agree that McEnroe is bailing, and would not do so if another Pete or Andre had come along, or maybe if Ryan Harrison were a few years older.

Posted by Vedgetable Lasagna 09/08/2010 at 12:15 PM

General sports fans in the USA know nothing about tennis.

I think most tennis fans agree that the fun of the sport is watching players from different countries play - not just rooting for American players.

Posted by old ned 09/08/2010 at 12:21 PM

Arrogance as displayed by some American players mentioned in the article was/is simply insecurity expressed through gamesmanship and cheating. Connors and McEnroe were an embarrassment to tennis. I love the confidence of Sampras, Federer, Nadal, et al without a need on their part to act out inappropriately, and, they seem to win without being drama queens.

Posted by Jen 09/08/2010 at 12:22 PM

I wonder if Sam Querry is rethinking his whining about not getting to play on Ashe ...

When I first starting watching tennis, I cared about the Americans winning (back in the days of Sampras-Agassi). Now I just enjoy good matches and particularly enjoy watching the Spaniards. You think those fans watching Ferrer-Verdasco last night cared that they aren't American?

Posted by JohnV 09/08/2010 at 12:39 PM

The US is full of hardcourts because they are less costly to maintain. The result is the one dimensional blast the ball type of tennis that we produce. Unless the courts change we will continue to nurture players who have neither the strokes nor movement to compete at the very highest level!

Posted by eclipse22 (rafagirl VAMOS RAFA and the last GRAND SLAM crusade!!!!!) 09/08/2010 at 01:35 PM

everything comes in cycles, america's dominance at the top is nearing a slow ending, instead of showering the williams sisters with love and support as the last american slam winners they are, they're constantly being criticized for reasons i won't even bother with...
and roddick,like him or hate him he's the only american lately who has made finals on the big stage of slams...
these 3 players have both been playing for over 10-15yrs on tour, they've got nothing more to prove and when they've had enough, american in the top ten will be but a souvenir of glory days !

Posted by sebastiandiplo 09/08/2010 at 02:08 PM

please people and steve diferentiate a bully (roddick) from an arrogant (nadal), as an egocentric (nadal) to a childish (roddick) attitude, and yes arrogance is a factor to win matches just see nadal, he consider himself the best of tennis history, just look when he reach the number one spot the last year, he wrote it down on his bag, isnt that arrogant???

Posted by sebastiandiplo 09/08/2010 at 02:20 PM

oh im tired of spaniards, they think that they are the best at all sports what a jerks, just compare th GS titles from federer to nadal ... 16 vs 8, jum i think that this is a giant gap, and that theres no doubt the the best tennis player at this moment on the tour is roger federer not nadal, and yes andy roddick is going to be out ot the top 10 and there will not remain even a single american in the top 10, figures like sampras and agassi are still more important on tennis history than nadal, did you noticed that eclipse22 (rafagirl VAMOS RAFA and the last GRAND SLAM crusade!!!!!) ??????

Posted by sebastiandiplo 09/08/2010 at 02:24 PM

im rooting to see in the semifinals stanw or Youzhny beat nadal, wish the best for them in their quarterfinal, i support both , but I prefer that Youzhny wins because he for sure will beat nadal easily, i dont like spaniards but i support verdasco, just only because i hate the jerky arrogant ass**** of nadal....

Posted by rusgt 09/08/2010 at 02:44 PM

Does anybody notice that Sam Querrey insists on chipping forehand returns that should be in his strikezone for clobbering time. Peter Bodo notes in his Venus article that how aggressive she is, and Sam Querrey and US men company aren't. Very strange

Posted by weak40player 09/08/2010 at 02:47 PM

Well, as a U.S. Citizen of the North American continent (sorry, couldn't help myself), I do pull for my countrymen (non-gender specific countrymen, that is) to do well, but agree that outside of Davis and Fed Cups, etc., that it's the game, and not the nationality, which wins out. I love tennis. Period. Love to see my Yanks do well, but also love to see the game played well by anyone.

Yup, we need more clay courts to begin to move back into a prominent position, but it'll take awhile.

Old Ned, cannot agree that Connors and JPM were an embarrassment to the game. To themselves, at times, but not to the game. My own opinion, McEnroe was probably the most skilled player ever.

Posted by jem 09/08/2010 at 03:03 PM

The Americans, if they have any influence at all - how many are on the ATP players council? - should try to speed up the courts as they were before.

Not just to give Americans a much-needed edge, but to elevate the game to a place where skill and daring are the deciding factors, instead of steady, boring, monotonous stroke production, where everyone has a chance if they just work hard.

Nadal is winning Wimbledon because towards the end of the tournament it might as well be clay.

Posted by !whatthedeuce? 09/08/2010 at 03:07 PM

This has turned into an article about arrogance apparently...Why can't American players regain that arrogance they once had (although if Sampras had it, he didn't flaunt it in an obvious way which I appreciated about him...Courier pretty much went about his business too) is that there are guys named Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Murray, Soderling Etc. etc. that would make arrogance look completely ridiculous since it simply can't be backed up. You have to be at least on even terms before you can consider strutting.

Posted by princepro110 09/08/2010 at 03:25 PM

Geeze....never heard so much America BASHING!

Stan Smith & Arthur Ashe served in the US Military and are the people in American tennis we should look up to. They served during the cold war letting the Soviet Union crumble so this current batch of Euros can play in their new countries.

Listen Euros........ we crushed the Nazi & Hitler and then lived under our military umbrella for 50 years till the Soviet empire collapsed while they rebuilt their countries under our Marshall plan. This is the tanks you get from Euro trash!

Posted by Jurasick 09/08/2010 at 03:56 PM

Come on guys, don't bash Nadal. As much as I'm a Federer fan, Nadal deserves all the respect that he gets. Just look at the way he has evolved as a tennis player. Granted, he doesn't have beautiful strokes, a la Federer. But the guy has figured out a way to win Wimbledon, is a major threat on hard courts, and without a doubt, the greatest ever clay-courter. Just looking at the way he's hitting those bombs when he serves takes me back to the days when he could barely cross 120 mph. Now he has topped 130 mph consistently and even hit a 135 yesterday against Lopez. He's bringing serious heat in this year's Open. Honestly, a weird combination of the draw, the people left in his half of the draw, plus his new-found abilities, make him the best bet to win this year. The others, including Federer, have to be really, really worried about him. I am, in fact, changing my original prediction of a Federer win by suggesting Nadal will be Djokovic in the finals.

Posted by Jurasick 09/08/2010 at 03:57 PM

That last sentence should have read "Nadal will beat Djokovic....."!!

Posted by Legoboy 09/08/2010 at 04:13 PM

Europeans have only been on the scene for a short while, at least with so much Eastern diversity...American's aren't going to have a sudden leap to fame....there are only those who are coming up the ranks, there isn't this giant pool that was being muted, and all of a sudden has a voice in tennis.

Maybe a bit of hardship from the lime-light will bring about a better, more worldly appropriate brand of american tennis....

I believe we'll be seeing more than just the Williams on the Podium soon...have faith....we do.

PS. Steve another good one!

Posted by Oliver Chettle 09/08/2010 at 04:37 PM

There is no reason to expect the decline to be temporary. American tennis has not had ups and downs, it has only had downs and flat periods. This has been disguised by the great good fortune that while strength in depth collapsed over a period of decades, the essentially random outliers at the top end continued to come through. Your claim that 1987 was comparable to now is nonsense, because at the end of that year America had 28 men in the top hundred. And even now with just 7 men in the top 100, and similar proportions all the way down the rankings, American is extraordinarily fortunate to have 4 men in the top 25. None in the top 25 is a more likely outcome than four, given the lack of strength in depth, and it might just happen sometime soon.

Posted by TennisRone 1000 09/08/2010 at 05:11 PM

You know....before we get too crazy about a lack of depth of American tennis and go gaga about the Spanish many male Spaniards are in the QTRS? I think it's two. We have a Swedish, French, Serb, Russian, and two Swiss players competing for the title. The women's semifinals feature an American, Russian, prob. a Dane, and a Belgian.

Fish lost to the clear #3 of the world at this time. Querrey basically went toe-to-toe with a player of equivalent talent after a highly productive summer.....and Isner is not 100% healthy after playing a single match which lasted longer than most players compete over a two week Grand Slam. Roddick could be potentially on the down side but has been in the Top 10 quite regularly over the last 10 years and lost to a guy that arguably could be seeded at any GS. Querrey and Isner have some time to further develop their art....hopefully continue to hone their strategies. is global....comapred to some of the larger countries, they have much more paltry ratios of top seeded players to total citizenship. Russia probably has the best ratio representation. The fact that US tennis even produces any tennis athletes is probably a miracle considering what the predominant sport interests are in this country.

Hopefully the USTA has recognized the shift towards tactic and movement and gotten away from the hit-the-tar-out-of-the-ball approach that got us though the 90s and early 00s.

....if the attendance at the Open means anything....i think there is significant interest in tennis in the has its place....but it's not going to be football/baseball

Posted by pov 09/08/2010 at 06:14 PM

I care about an Americans wining in Davis Cup and Fed Cup. Other than that I view tennis as a sport of individuals representing themselves and not their countries. Of course the pseudo-patriotic angle is far more favored by much of the media.

Posted by kongi 09/08/2010 at 07:01 PM

Isner in particular does not move well. At times he looks like he would prefer to be somewhere else rather than on a tennis court. he has that look even between rallies. Querry moves well, and had a chance in that match, but was unlucky. Roddick of course is a far better player than the two, but his problem is confidence. he is really down now. he needs to get the fire back. i pray he does.

Posted by petewho 09/08/2010 at 07:30 PM

Nevermind America , we all know what US government have been up to from Wikileaks , so its no suprise everything that stems from the US now , is not exactly envogue.

It must be hard for US players, and even harder when they cant bring it to the level a country like the US is used too.

That said - they still have the potential to be great again .

I fear for Roger if he has to play Nadal in the final again - it will all end in tears again , Im afriad..

Posted by espnalanaldo 09/08/2010 at 08:04 PM

We just have to accept that the state of America tennis sucks. But to find excuses while the rest of the world had caught up is even more pathetic.

And worse, to invoke Grand Slams events to 3-setter is nothing but a lame attempt at shoring up talents like Querry and Isner, who in spite of their talents will not hack it for long matches. I happen to like long matches, that is why I love Nadal. You get your money's worth.

Simply because our tennis is deplorable is good enough reason to change the rules. In fact, it is seen as American hooliganism, trying to manhandle the situation simply because the is no talent to back up results.

Sure, we have been lucky and and "silver-spooned" for a long time with the greatness of Sampras, Agassi, Chang and Courier but these recent crops of talent are not even close to their calibre. Just accept that we need to reevaluate our tennis program rather than try shoving into others people's what we think is a quick fix to some tennis respectability and thereby, regain some tennis integrity.

There is no other solution but hard work. Or, is this not the standard anymore?

Posted by Foot Fault 09/08/2010 at 08:13 PM

Prediction: Cibulkova and Soderling will both lose because neither have been on Ashe at night until now. (Also because they are playing against good tennis players.)

Posted by espnalanaldo 09/08/2010 at 08:20 PM

I know there is no article yet on Djok's win, but I cannot contain myself from the feeling of disgust I feel for the behaviour of one of the announcers, Chris Fowler. In interviewing Nadal, he acts almost like paid spy scout of Roger. Those probing questions of his, into the transformation of a better Nadal at the US Open is much lamentable as it is pathetic journalistic broadcasting.

Fowler, is taking advantage of Nadal's limited fluency in the English language to ask so many "spy-leading questions" that I am sure, had it been asked of Roddick(during his winning ways) would have just told Fowler to "F*** off, buddy!, What are you? Are your working for Federer. Nadal, as nice and polite as he is, in spite of his obvious discomfort, did not want to embarrass Fowler. I am sure any other American player would have taken Fowler to task with his questions.

I am starting to suspect that Fowler is working under the table for Roger. Could it be true? We expect more from commentators to make it as objective as possible. But, Fowler should not be allowed in the booth anymore if Roger is the draw.

And to ask these questions while the match currently being played is Djok-Monfils. Why not concentrate on the match at hand instead of "getting information" for the enemy. That is what is seems like. Very unbearable to hear and watch.

Fowler should not be broadcasting tennis anymore. Let him "GOL" himself in soccer.
He makes watching tennis un-enjoyable.

Sorry, but I will post this again when a more relavant article either by Bodo or others shows up.

But, right now ... there ... my 2 cents in.

Posted by espnalanaldo 09/08/2010 at 08:30 PM

We'll see if Fowler will ask the same intrusive questions when he interviews Roger. I doubt he will.

And the cover blown, you think?

Posted by John 09/08/2010 at 08:43 PM

espnalanaldo, your posts are great, you are not just talking because you're a player fan like many posters here, you know a lot about tennis
The big Fed fans problem is that thinking that bashing Nadal they are *exalting* to Fed and it's the opposite, they are bashing to Fede because he was beating several times from Nadal, and still........haaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Posted by Vedgetable Lasagna 09/08/2010 at 09:42 PM

I enjoyed watching the Querrey - Wawrinka match.

Querrey played well and kept great concentration even when he made errors. I would say that mentally he was in the zone. Physically he tired in the 5th - as did Wawrinka. Sure Querrey has room for improvement mentally and physically.

How could it be Sam's fault that he was the last American remaining in the US Open Mens Singles?

Posted by Vedgetable Lasagna 09/08/2010 at 09:49 PM

I hated Connors but liked McEnroe even though I was embarrassed by his outbursts.

I respect Connors as a great player but he was always nasty mean rude and crude.

The era of the 1970s - early 1980s was kind of embarrassing for everyone on earth.

The "Me" Generation run amuck.

Even in McEnroe's childish outbursts he wasn't usually obscene or crude.

Posted by pov 09/08/2010 at 10:32 PM

David Rosenberg needs fired!

Posted by vv_varaiya 09/08/2010 at 11:53 PM

I had court side seats at this match, and few observations:

o Stan uses his back effectively by stepping in and slicing big serves a la Federer into strategic spots. While the return speed may not be fast, but the placement and quick reaction put the server/Sam on his heels.

o On many points Stan sliced backhand softly, then on a dime stepped up and drove it down the line or turned to hit a driving forehand. It was a sneaky and effective tactic used repeatedly. Clever use of pace.

o Sam needs to improve his forehand's depth. His big forehand is flat and fast, but it barely clears the net (and sometimes end up in it).

o Sam needs to improve his backhand down-the-line. Sam had Stan pinned in the backhand corner on several occasions, but couldn't finish the point with a driving backhand down the line.

Posted by John 09/09/2010 at 01:29 AM

...."The guy can’t win with me. Would a little more arrogance have helped? Maybe, or maybe that just isn’t him; maybe that isn’t American tennis at the moment. Like Querrey said, all he and his countryman can do is try their best. Too bad that’s never going to be good enough for us".

Wow, for a writer who has only seen tour tennis from the sidelines, that is quite a statement.

Posted by felizjulianidad 09/09/2010 at 01:55 AM

Can someone please tell me when this forum attracting little prepubescent illiterates like sebastiandiplo? I haven't posted in a few months and I've come back to see a serious decline.

TennisRone 1000, 6/16 R16 players were Spanish. The 4 best hardcourters in the bunch (Nadal, Lopez, Verdasco, Ferrer) played each other. The weaker 2 played against superior hardcourt players. They lost in 4.

American tennis: better to think about this in terms of innovation, which is the secret sauce in America. Americans pulled ahead with amazing serves and a "hustle" attitude. Great winning combinations. The opposition responded by developing better returns of serve and never-say-die retrieval abilities. America needs to take a decision about the kind of tennis it wants to play. It says something that Roddick, who has the most amazing serve I think anyone's ever seen, is always outaced by Federer when the two play. I imagine that America's homework assignment consists mainly of footwork and a longer attention span; only Roddick is willing to engage in rallies.

Tennis being expensive: yes, it is. But I remember that my university in the US (public university with some private funding) had over a dozen high-quality tennis courts that any of us could just walk onto and use. It was glorious. In my home country of Spain, the only place where I can reliably and somewhat cheaply (somewhat) get access to a tennis court is Mallorca, mainly clay. The peninsula is not an easy place for tennis.

Posted by vv_varaiya 09/09/2010 at 09:58 AM

The Amex ear-radio will get Johnny Mac (or some broadcaster) fired in the next few years unless they heed my advice. Mac was trying to get the crowd fired up by constantly saying things like "the crowd's not supporting the last American" or "Sam needs to fire up the crowd". Exhorting thousands of people, some of whom are imbibing adult beverages, can be dangerous -- a careless comment or two could easily incite a riot in an enclosed stadium.

Be careful with the immediate impact of this medium.

Jim Courier, Andre Agassi, Michael Chang and Pete Sampras had more than Grand Slams in common: none of them are high-school graduates (the diploma Nick hands out doesn't count). This is a risk I can't imagine middle-class American parents taking on their sons' future. BTW: no aspersions on these guys... they are brilliant and well-spoken. Jim Courier is an insightful and wonderful commentator.

Posted by Agent spooner 09/09/2010 at 11:18 AM

for the record here, how many times did nadal had beat roddick on a grand slam??? they have zero matches on grand slam, and for those spaniards who say that american tennis sucks well we had sampras and agassi which are so far more important on tennis history than nadal, nadal wont ever have the respect and recognition that either sampras or agassi or federer do have, nadal is so arrogant that he already puts hisself on top of agassi and sampras, poor little bastard, he wont never able to win another grand slam, he was so fortunate this year because of the inconsistency of the other players in the top 10. PS: nadal would never be as great as sampras or agassi, and less as roger which is the most important player on all tennis history . point.

Posted by Agent spooner 09/09/2010 at 11:25 AM

oh and also switzerland is far far away from spain, these two countries are not the same.

Posted by RC27 09/09/2010 at 12:37 PM

I would like to comment on Querry/isners complaint about not playing on the big stage. You get to play on center court several ways: 1) you are a top seed 2) you draw one of the top seeds early, and 3) You make it to the late rounds. Even put together these guys have done nothing to warrant a sense of entitlement to ashe stadium. So they think the open has not done enough for american players? Let's look at this objectively: A) The open is played on hard courts. B) Those hard courts are arguably the fastest the player's compete on all year. C) The wilson T-Balls are the fastest playing ball (I play so I can attest to this fact). All of these factors favor american players. Perhaps It would be easier if we brought Sampras out of retirement to serve for you guys and Agassi to return-Then you might actually win something and EARN your place on the big court!

Posted by tina (in the "Đ-block") 09/09/2010 at 06:11 PM

hang on a sec - parents pay money to get their kids tennis lessons? I got some hand-me-down racquet from a cousin, used balls from some friend of my mom's, and happily amused myself for hours using the side of a school as a backboard. It doesn't have to be expensive, especially if the whole family can get on a public court for an hour.

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