Tuesday, August 13, 2013

U.S. Open Notebook: Is There a Male U.S. Tennis Star in the Making?

If you were to stop someone on the street and ask the question, ”Who is the best American tennis player?” what would be the most common response? Many people would say Andy Roddick (He retired last year). Others would say Andre Agassi (Has been retired for over 5 years). And even others would say that Roger Federer guy (He is from Switzerland). The point is, with start of the decline of the Williams sisters (Venus and Serena) and last year’s surprise retirement from Roddick, the US does not have a face of tennis and the U.S. Open is right around the corner.

Over the next few weeks leading up to the U.S. Open and throughout the two weeks of play, I will be covering the event for The Sports Complex.  For this first post, I want to talk about the possible emergence of U.S. players and hopefuls for a country that has not seen a male win a grand slam since Roddick won his only U.S. Open in 2003. One of the most exciting things to watch, not only as a fan of tennis and the underdog, but also as a proud U.S. citizen, is an unknown, young American out on court 14 compete for a chance to advance in the open. Last year, I had the privilege of watching young American, Steve Johnson, in his first ever grand slam, advance to the third round. Unfortunately, things have not come together for him over this past year, but the U.S. Open is always a wonderful opportunity for an American to break through.

I think we all know the first and best chance on the men’s side is tall, hard-serving, John Isner. Isner is most famous for his world record longest match in history versus Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon (It lasted three days!). However, Americans have been waiting for Isner to crack the top 8 for a couple years now and, simply put, he has not been able to do so. Whether it is injuries or disappointing losses, Isner has never been able to pull through. Last weekend, he made it to the final of the Citi Open in Washington D.C. where he lost to former U.S. Open winner, Juan Martin Del Potro in 3 sets after winning the first set. Hopefully this tournament will boost Isner’s confidence and if he has a good showing in Cincinnati this week, he will be the guy to watch in the upcoming U.S. Open.

Another U.S. man to look out for would be veteran Mardy Fish. Mardy peaked about two or three years ago, but he always plays his best tennis in Flushing Meadows, New York. One big win and he could make some noise in this tournament. Two other names to look for are Sam Querrey, who’s hard-hitting style of play is best for the hard courts and young Ryan Harrison. Harrison has lots of talent, but I am not sure if he can handle the big stage. An easy early win, can help settle his temper and maybe help him focus a little more.

Does anyone think any other American man could make a run in the U.S. Open and emerge onto the scene? I am interested to here everyone’s thoughts. For the meantime, stay tuned! I will have a post coming up about the U.S. Women and who to keep an eye on.


Michael Proska is a freshman at Drexel University from Springfield, PA pursuing a Sport Management degree along with a minor in Statistics. Along with being a writer for the SMTSU blog, The Sports Complex, he has an internship with Drexel Athletics in the promotions and marketing department. Michael is a member of the Army ROTC at Drexel University.  Michael is the Secretary for the SMTSU.  Follow Michael on Twitter @mikeprosk.

Connect with Michael Proska on LinkedIn.


  1. I think the thing that killed this latest "Golden Age" of tennis with the big four is the fact that none of the big four are American. The scary thing is that I don't see anybody that can compete any time soon. Sure, Isner's name will be in there, but I don't think he's a contender for any of the majors. Fish is past his prime and Querrey hasn't really panned out so far. It's a tough road for the Americans in tennis... if only Donald Young had worked out...

  2. Donald Young was a big disappointment. I also think it is a good point that this is the "Golden Age" of tennis. However, the US could really use a player that is fun to watch. John Mcenroe comes to mind when I think of a player who was always "interesting" to watch. Hopefully we have a modern "Johnny Mac" in the near future.

  3. I could see Jack Sock pulling through this year. He is another young talent who shows some promise. Last year (at age 19), he earned a spot in the third round at Flushing Meadows, so hopefully he can build on that performance.

  4. I agree. I think Jack Sock is truly the best hope for American Male tennis over the next 5-7 years. He does have some experience at the US Open which can definitely go a long way. He actually takes on Milos Raonic today in Cincinnati, which could end up being a big confidence booster if he can pull off the upset.

  5. Maybe Sloane Stephens will have a sex change operation.

  6. This is a nice tennis blog with lot of information. I love it.