Tag Archives: Sam Querrey

Future American Tennis Star?

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Ryan Harrison (left) and Ryan Sweeting (right) are two of the players expected to help revive American tennis.

By Toni Headley

Toni Headley is a tennis expert who worked at ESPN for 10 years and has been a freelance writer there for the past 2 years.  She also previously worked at CBS Sports and has covered every major tennis tournament in the world multiple times.

As we leave Indian Wells, California for the Sony Ericsson Open, I ask myself if this will be the last time we see Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Andy Roddick, and James Blake playing here in Miami? With the slow decline of the Williams sisters, Roddick, and Blake due to injury and age, could we be witnessing the end of American tennis as we know it? All four players will be playing here in Miami, which starts in a little over a week. Continue reading

“The Green Light Gone?”

Venus Williams (left in picture above) is carrying the "Green Light (Hope)" of American Tennis on her shoulders in Flushing Meadows.

 In one of the most popular and renowned pieces of literature in history, there is talk of a green light.  A look into the orgastic future.  F. Scott Fitzgerald, the novel’s author, filled a seemingly simple plot in his classic with depth and heavy meaning.  It has become an American literature classic and a book that encompasses themes that we as Americans talk about daily.  I mean, how frequently do you here about the so-called “American Dream.”  And I am a firm believer in this idea and fully stand behind it.  Except when talking about American tennis recently, more specifically, American Men’s Tennis. 

The US Open is the grandest and most high scale tournament we have to offer in the United States.  Each year from Labor Day up until the middle of September, all eyes of the tennis world are focused on Flushing Meadows.  Arthur Ashe Stadium is the place to be.  It is all a part of the moment.  This year sadly, I feel the US Open has been vastly overshadowed.  This in large part has been due to the early exit of America’s top player, Andy Roddick. All of the sporting world’s attention has shifted focus towards College Football, the NFL, and the scintillating stretch run that is September baseball.  And I honestly cannot blame the American public for seeming to lose interest. 

I, myself, am a major tennis connoisseur. I love to watch tennis on television or in person all the time.  I was an avid player and still like to consider myself a pretty big fan. But my focus has shifted from this tournament to College Football’s opening weekend and my beloved Reds pennant race.  Now I realize that guys like Sam Querrey, Mardy Fish, and John Isner all made decent runs this year.  And who can forget the amazing Ryan Harrison’s first round upset victory?  But today, the men begin the quarterfinals.  And want to know how many Americans are left in the draw?  A big fat 0.  The women are now entering the semifinals.  Want to know how many women are left in the draw?  Try 1. 

This tournament began with 256 total players comprising both the Men and Women’s Draw.  There were 17 American men participating in American’s pride and joy tournament.  We have hit the Final 8, and there are 0 left.  There were 12 American women participating in our gem of a tennis tournament.  We have hit the prestigious Final 4, and there is 1 remaining.  So Americans as a whole made up over 11 percent of the total 256 participants, and we have hit the final 12 players left, with 1 participant remaining?  Does not really sound like our tournament very much anymore now does it? 

Now Venus Williams has a good chance at capturing the women’s title in that she is a Williams sister.  Though she has a bum knee and had taken the past 2 months off, she appears fit and ready to handle business.  Amazingly, she has not played in the Finals in Flushing since 2002, when she lost to her sister Serena.  Hard to believe in that Venus used to own the Wimbledon/US Open part of the season every summer for years.  Can Venus bring home her 8th Grand Slam singles title (she has won 12 doubles)?  I am going with a probably not.  Kim Clijsters is an amazing player at Flushing, capturing her only 2 Grand Slam Titles here, and Wozniacki is looming in the top half of the draw. 

So the Green light may be disappearing in American tennis, but at least I got a pennant race, College Football, and the opening weekend of the  NFL to watch.  It is not so bad being an American sports fan right now. 

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze. 

-TheSportsKraze 

“Welcome Ryan Harrison”

The American dream of bringing home a title in Flushing looks all but finished as America’s top player, Andy Roddick, went down in a tough loss to Janko Tipsarevic last night. Though there is still a glimmer of hope with Mardy Fish, John Isner, and Sam Querrey all left in the draw.  And have no fear, Ryan Harrison is here. Harrison is an 18-year-old (American) stud out of New Braunfels, Texas.  Could he be the next big thing in American tennis? 

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=5520935&categoryid=2491545 (Harrison ESPN interview with McEnroe)

Harrison defeated the 15th seeded and 17th ranked player in the world, Ivan Ljubicic in his first round match.  This was Harrison’s first time winning a match in a Grand Slam and he accomplished the feat with great grace and ease.  He had the look of a savvy veteran.  In winning this match, Harrison became the first American teenager to defeat a top 20 player in a Grand Slam tournament in over 9 years.  The last American to do this was Andy Roddick.  At the age of 19, Roddick burst onto the scene with a big time victory over the 11th seeded Alex Corretja (at the US Open).  Could this kid be the second coming of ARod? 

Ryan Harrison quietly burst onto the scene a couple of years ago when he won an ATP level match against the world #130 at the time, Pablo Cuevas.  This was at the 2008 US Clay Court Championships.  He became the 3rd youngest player to win a match at this level since 1990 (Nadal, Gasquet were younger), and the 10th player in the history of the ATP to have won a match on tour before the age of 16.  This kid has been a long time coming.  He has just been vastly overlooked until now.  

 I personally saw Harrison play in 2004 when I attended John Newcombe’s Tennis Academy in New Braunfels, Texas (Harrison’s old training grounds).  While walking into the camp that first day, there was a kid out hitting with his father and his little brother (Christian, who is an internationally ranked junior player). The kids were absolutely amazing demonstrating a phenomenal consistency level, outstanding conditioning, and a drive like I had not seen on a tennis court.  Well I got a further taste of the Harrison brothers later in the week during drills and match play.  These kids hit the ball with pace, kept it deep, never missed, and refused to give up on a single point during the course of an 8 hour training day.  I have seen many very strong tennis players in my time, but I knew this kid was the real deal.  Could he finally be realizing his potential now? 

Currently Harrison is the 220th ranked player in the world and rising.  Could he win another match or two this year in Flushing?  I do not see why not.  His next opponent is the 36th ranked player on the tour, Sergi Stakhovsky.  Ryan Harrison is a name to remember now when discussing American tennis.  He brings some hope back to American tennis  connoisseur. 

I know I will be pulling for the youngster to go deep in Flushing. 

Say hello to the world, Ryan Harrison. 

Ryan Harrison provided American tennis with some excitement with a major first round victory yesterday. Could he be another big time American tennis player like the man he is pictured with above, the legendary Pete Sampras?

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze. 

-TheSportsKraze 

“Welcome to Flushing”

Roger Federer looks to prove the world wrong over the next two weeks, and show that he still has what it takes to capture a big time championship. Can he win the US Open for an amazing 6th time?

The tennis world will gather in Flushing today as the this year’s final Grand Slam gets under way.  There are many key storylines as play begins:

-1.  Andy Murray is looking to secure his first Grand Slam Championship.  The British phenom has been near the top of the tennis game for some time now, but has never been able to take home the big pay-day.  Will his luck change in Flushing?

-2.  Rafael Nadal looks to complete the career “Grand Slam” by capturing the one Grand Slam event that has eluded him in the past.  After two consecutive semifinal appearances in Flushing,  can Rafa demonstrate his all around toughness on the hard courts of New York?

-3.  Can Roger Federer prove to the world that his reign is not over yet and capture his first US Open title since 2008?  He was the runner-up in New York last year, losing in 5 sets to Juan Martin Del Potro (who will not be playing this year).

-4.  Can an American end the 7 year drought of Grand Slam Championships?  The last time an American male captured a prestigious Grand Slam Championship was in 2003, when Roddick took home a title at this site (the US Open).

So these are the 4 key questions to the tournament in my eyes.  Lets delve into some answers.

1.  Andy Murray is more than capable of  bringing home the first Grand Slam title of his career here.  Murray possesses an outstanding all around game that fits perfectly for the hard courts of Flushing.  He has proven that he can beat the big dogs lately, by knocking off both Federer and Nadal in straight sets in Toronto.  So definitely do not overlook Murray, who is ranked 4th heading into this event.  I will state though, both Nadal and Federer’s hunger to prove the naysayers wrong will not help Murray’s chances though.  Look for Andy to go deep as usual, but to come up short, in either the Semifinals or the Finals.  I would expect a Semifinal exit though.

2.  Nadal is more than ready to take home the one Grand Slam that has eluded him during the course of his stellar career.  He currently holds the number 1 ranking.  He has won 5 titles this year.  Has a combined 52 and 7 match record.  Plus he is hungry.  Expect this guy to roll into the Finals for a date with his old nemesis Mr. Federer.  Rafa plays every point like it is his last and will cruise his ways into the Finals.  Counterpunchers can be quite dangerous on the hard courts of New York.  Sure he will have challenges such as a possible date with Andy Murray, but it is very hard to stop this guy when he is motivated.  I expect Rafa to come up just short though and lose in the Finals due to the fact that another man is even more motivated, Roger Federer.

3.  Roger Federer will shock the world over the next two weeks and take home an astounding 17th Grand Slam title.  I am not sure what it is about this guy.  All directions are pointing against him capturing a 6th US Open title.  But I for some reason feel like this guy has one more big time tourney left in him.  And this is the one.  Sure Wimbledon has always been his playground, but he has not exactly been a slouch in Flushing over the years.  Look for Roger to upset his old nemesis, Rafa, and prove to the world that even at the age of 29, he is still capable of playing like the best player in the world.

4.  This will not be the tournament that an American will end the 7 year drought.  Guys like Nadal, Federer, and Murray are just too good to all go down here.  But I will state, guys like Roddick and Fish could both go deep.  They have both played outstanding this summer and have each enjoyed success in the past in Flushing.  All 4 of the top Americans, have had their best Grand Slam finishes in Flushing during their careers. Coincidence, I think not.  Roddick captured his only Grand Slam title here in 03.  Fish, made the quarterfinals in 2008. John Isner made the 4th round in 2009.  And Sam “the man” Querrey made the 4th round in 08.  I definitely would not be surprised to see at least one of these four guys, maybe two of them if we are lucky, sneak into the Quarterfinals.  But do not expect one of them to take home the hardware.  It would be one of the most improbable runs in history.

So there you have it.  The biggest tennis tournament that America has to offer gets under way today.  As the pro tour loves to say, “We will be seeing you in New York.”

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze