Daily Archives: June 28, 2010

“American Tennis Future?”

Not a day of celebration for Andy Roddick or any of the American men today at Wimbledon.

What is the deal with American men’s tennis?  Why aren’t we dominating the scene like we did in the 90s?  This is an enigma to most tennis experts as no American male has won a Grand Slam title in 7 years and this drought will probably continue for at least another decade..

It was a tough day at Wimbledon today on the men’s side for the USA.  The final 2 Americans left in the men’s draw, Andy Roddick and Sam Querrey, went down.  Roddick’s loss was especially tough, in that his opponent only had one break point opportunity the entire match, and converted on it to beat Roddick 9 to 7 in the fifth.  Generally when you give up one break opportunity over the course of an entire match, you are cruising.  Not on this day for Mr. Roddick, who has really had tough luck with the majority of his career.

For those of you who do not remember, Andy rose to number 1 in the world for a short time in the late summer of 2003, when he went on a hot streak and captured his lone Grand Slam Title (the US Open at Flushing Meadows).  Since then, Andy has stayed in the top 10, and generally found himself in the top 5, but he has been unable to convert on a Grand Slam Title.  He has failed in 3 Wimbledon final’s appearance and 1 US Open final’s appearance since 2003.  This in large part has been due to the phenomenal play of guys such like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.  As I stated on an earlier blog post, Andy’s game is better now than it was in 03 when he reached number 1.  Roddick was a guy who once was questioned for his work ethic.  This has not been the case for years as he has taken it upon himself to considerably improve the weaknesses in his game such as his backhand and sometimes lack of patience during big time points.  These are no longer problems.  Roddick unfortunately has been a victim of the times (very tough players at the top).

Do not feel too bad for the guy though.  He is rolling in money and his wife is a definite DP (dimepiece), having appeared on the cover of this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue (Brooklyn Decker).  Roddick is starting to become an elder statesman on the tour though, in that he is 28 years old.  So who is the next great American?  We were spoiled in the 90s by guys such as Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi.  Expectations are very high and they are not being reached.

Sadly for the men, we have only 2 players outside Roddick ranked in the top 25 in the world (Roddick is 7th).  Though Isner played in an epic Wimbledon match this year, he does not look ready to capture a Grand Slam title anytime soon or even crack the top 5.  Then our next guy in line is Sam Querrey, who lost today.  Querrey looks similar to Isner and does not appear to be cracking the top 5 anytime in the near future (he is a solid player though).  Then we have 4 other guys ranked between 70th and 100th in the world.  Fat chance any of these guys will really be making any big time noise anytime soon unfortunately.  So the hope for American men to get back into the limelight of men’s tennis appears to not be happening in the next decade. 

Then on the women’s side, things are not a whole lot better.  The top 2 players in the world are the Williams sisters, who are both above the age of 28.  Then after them, Melanie Oudin is the next highest ranked American female at 35th, followed by Vania King at 71st, and Jill Craybas at 100.  So there are only 5 American women ranked in the top 100 in the world!  And the Williams sisters could honestly retire at anytime in that they are getting older and really do not have much left to prove.

So the future of American tennis is looking pretty bleak on both sides of the spectrum (especially for the men).  Any thoughts on why this is?  And I will state that it is not due to a lack of enthusiasm from American youngsters in that tennis is more popular than it has ever been in the states with more USTA members than ever.  I will give you one reason though.  Many of the “foreign” men’s and women’s players train and spend the majority of their lives in the United States at tennis academies.  And then they still are considered to be a “Russian” or “Australian” player, even if they have spent the majority of their lives in the United States.  Outside of that though I really have no reasons why the American tennis game has really fallen off the map.  It is a serious mystery.

What do you all think the issue is?

Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.

-Kraze

“All Hail the Mighty King: The World is Coming to Ohio”

Lebron in his throne, without a crown yet.

LBJ truly is the King.  If America was a monarchy, Lebron would be wearing the crown.  James is not going to visit the teams pursuing him and let them wine and dine him.  No, no no.  Not with the King.  The teams are going to come to him.  The NBA world is coming to Northeast Ohio.  You have to envy that.  And the King comes off very well in that he is saving teams money, not making them fly him out and put on a show in their respective cities.  What a philanthropic guy!  Lebron will get to sit on his throne and let the teams woo him as best as they can.  I wish recruiters would come to my house and try to wine and dine me for jobs..

So the speculation is going to continue.  Over the next couple of weeks, you will see pictures of Lebron dawning the number 6 in a  Bull’s jersey, in a Knick’s jersey, in a Net’s jersey, and I could go on.  Many experts think that they have the mystery solved and the King will be setting up shop in the Windy City along with another free agent gem, Chris Bosh.  Not to mention this team already has the supremely talented and up and  coming superstar in Derrick Rose.  Talk about the three musketeers.  Boston has had a great trio the past three years in Pierce, Garnett, and Allen.  But this trio knocks that one out of the park at this point in large part due to how young they are.  These guys are entering the primes of their careers.

I will be honest with you.  I do feel Chicago is the best option for the King.  It gives him the best chance to win a title now.  If that is what truly is priority number 1 for Lebron.  But, does the King want to live in Michael Jordan’s shadow for the rest of his life?  Or is Lebron’s number 1 priority to become the most recognizable and well-known athlete in the world?  If he sets up shop in New York or New Jersey, he will immediately be even more global than he is now.  He will be the unquestioned King of these cities, as he is in Cleveland.  In Chicago, unless you bring in 6 titles, you will never escape the mega shadow of Air Jordan.

Nonetheless, I am still envious of the position that Lebron is in.  He gets to sit on his throne and let people come to him.  As if he is indeed a real King.  He is coming out in a year where there are other superstars that are free agents.  So he can easily build up an outstanding team around him by teaming up with another star.  Lebron is in a truly amazing position.  And it is highly doubtful that next year at this time, his throne will still be in Cleveland..and can you really blame the guy?

Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.

-Kraze