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View Full Version : No Americans in second week of Wimbledon


Rabbit
07-03-2006, 01:48 PM
My take on this is that the USTA has done a sorry job of promoting tennis in the US. The Aussies are thinking of buildnig clay courts to rejuvinate tennis Down Under. What do we do? We build more parking lots. The USTA seems only interested in the quick buck and not the long term health of tennis.

If the USTA really wants to invest in the future of tennis, they'll change the US Open to HarTru or grass. They'll promote the building of public grass or clay courts. In short, they'll announce ASAP a move away from hard courts. The US is producing big serves and forehands, but no champions.

lacoster
07-03-2006, 01:54 PM
parking lots to park all our ginormous SUV's.
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skip1969
07-03-2006, 01:57 PM
luckily, tennis is one of the few truly international sports. gone are the days when a country can dominate a sport by sheer numbers.

i don't really know what the usta is doing for the future of tennis, so i can't comment. but the world is getting smaller and competition stiffer. which usually means it's time to get creative and think outside of the box.

Grimjack
07-03-2006, 02:00 PM
There's nothing to be done.

Tennis can only be as good in a given country as it is likely to draw the attention of the best athletes. In the US, that chance is zero. It isn't the USTA's fault that tennis as a whole can't support millions of dollars in earnings and endorsements for hundreds of players, like other sports/competitions can -- it's just reality. A talented young athlete would be nuts to focus on tennis in the US, when baseball, basketball, football, hockey, hell, even pseudo-sports like golf and racecar driving all have far brighter financial futures.

That the US produces top ten players at all when we always send our fifth- and sixth-tier athletes to compete against the best athletes from other countries speaks volumes about how much better athletics as a whole is in the US. Guys like Nadal and Federer represent the best athletes those countries have ever seen. Someone like Sampras couldn't have been a bench warmer in any other professional sport in the US.

Chopin
07-03-2006, 02:01 PM
I agree that the USTA has not done a good job promoting tennis but I'm not sure moving away from hard courts is the answer. Creating more grass or clay tennis courts would be great but that's not going to automatically produce great champions. I don't think the problem is with the style of play (though its a problem) as much as it is public interest in tennis.
On the flipside though, let’s remember that tennis has been dominated by Americans through the 90s (Williams sisters, Sampras, Agassi) so I think the big “crisis” about the state of American tennis has more to do with people being so used to tennis being dominated by Americans that they freak out when we have merely mediocre players (Blake, Roddick, Ginepri, Fish ect.).

lacoster
07-03-2006, 02:19 PM
That the US produces top ten players at all when we always send our fifth- and sixth-tier athletes to compete against the best athletes from other countries speaks volumes about how much better athletics as a whole is in the US.

The US also is alive and well in both Davis and Fed Cup semifinals...Remember when the US sent it's fifth-tier squad to upset the Germans at their home turf? As Americans, we have always been spoiled with top-ranked pros. Y'all just need to lighten up.
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arosen
07-03-2006, 02:30 PM
Laying down grasscourts is not going to automatically produce tennis champions. Neither Federer nor Nadal nor Ljubicic grew up on grass. Clay or HarTru, that may be a better option because clay teaches you patience and point construction, plus you have to have a nice touch to dropshot or dropvolley. USTA should definitely invest in tennis centers all over the country to enable people to come out and play on clay.

sureshs
07-03-2006, 02:53 PM
There's nothing to be done.

Tennis can only be as good in a given country as it is likely to draw the attention of the best athletes. In the US, that chance is zero. It isn't the USTA's fault that tennis as a whole can't support millions of dollars in earnings and endorsements for hundreds of players, like other sports/competitions can -- it's just reality. A talented young athlete would be nuts to focus on tennis in the US, when baseball, basketball, football, hockey, hell, even pseudo-sports like golf and racecar driving all have far brighter financial futures.

That the US produces top ten players at all when we always send our fifth- and sixth-tier athletes to compete against the best athletes from other countries speaks volumes about how much better athletics as a whole is in the US. Guys like Nadal and Federer represent the best athletes those countries have ever seen. Someone like Sampras couldn't have been a bench warmer in any other professional sport in the US.

Mike Agassi, Andre's father, has even said that if he were to start again, he would have gotten Andre into golf, because the longevity is much more. Witness some of the obese characters making it big in golf at a later age and you will see that he has a point.

jaykay
07-03-2006, 03:03 PM
There's nothing to be done.

Tennis can only be as good in a given country as it is likely to draw the attention of the best athletes. In the US, that chance is zero. It isn't the USTA's fault that tennis as a whole can't support millions of dollars in earnings and endorsements for hundreds of players, like other sports/competitions can -- it's just reality. A talented young athlete would be nuts to focus on tennis in the US, when baseball, basketball, football, hockey, hell, even pseudo-sports like golf and racecar driving all have far brighter financial futures.

That the US produces top ten players at all when we always send our fifth- and sixth-tier athletes to compete against the best athletes from other countries speaks volumes about how much better athletics as a whole is in the US. Guys like Nadal and Federer represent the best athletes those countries have ever seen. Someone like Sampras couldn't have been a bench warmer in any other professional sport in the US.

Well said. Sad, but true...

jaykay
07-03-2006, 03:04 PM
Mike Agassi, Andre's father, has even said that if he were to start again, he would have gotten Andre into golf, because the longevity is much more. Witness some of the obese characters making it big in golf at a later age and you will see that he has a point.

Wow! He really said that...?!? Speaks volumes about the perception of tennis in America...

Aykhan Mammadov
07-03-2006, 03:14 PM
Is not Federer an American ? I thought he is.

FiveO
07-03-2006, 03:29 PM
There are more factors involved than just surface. The "relative" mediocrity of the present crop of U.S. talent has more to do with the ill-perceived value of instant junior results, the factory tennis mentality showing, the still elitist nature of our sport due the prohibitive costs of being able to train year round anywhere in the northern half of the country, changes made to playing conditions (surface speeds/ball size and weights) which are perpetuating the sameness in play we see in both male and female tourney level tennis right now. Equipment (i.e. racquet and string technology) is a contributor too, but for me a smaller one.

For the vast majority, parents foot the bill. Expensive proposition, even more so in northern climes. Result? Parents want a return on their investment, not necessarily a top professional pay day but a college scholarship. Pay it now or pay it later. That translates to an imperative for junior success on a national level.

How do you reach junior success on a national level? Playing the best competition money or a tennis factory "ride" can provide. How do undersized (by definition) kids play with success? From the baseline. Remember they are under time constraints to show national success by the time they are 16 or 17. So at 12, 13 and 14 do juniors learn to transition? Why? So they can be passed or lobbed back to the baseline by the kid on the other side of the net intent on winning now to get that ranking which will attract D1's schools waving full rides. It doesn't pay. Pound groundies, extreme grips facilitate it, putting net play further off. Serve of course so when that same 5 foot nothing grows to 6'4" he or she can pound them too. Transitioning and net play remain foreign to these kids. We need look no further than Roddick. He's trying to add those elements, but it's obvious they were never engrained at an early age.

Doubles? Juniors play it. Do they really have time to learn it or the skills to play it well? What's the short term pay-off? Watch some junior doubles and as those juniors begin to displace more and more of the thirty somethings on the pro level watch how pro level dubs is being played. It's fascinating.

And in our country, with rare exception the pool from which our tennis athletes are plucked is shallow due to its being fed primarily from the upper middle and upper class who can afford the prohibitive costs of the sport.

Hard-courts had always produced a variety of styles in this country, that is until the last few generations. There were baseliners and net-crushers, counter punchers and serve and volleyers. Early phenoms and relatively later developers. I do believe in the value of playing and learning how to play on widely varied surfaces from grass to red clay, from hards to carpet. It's all good. It fosters variety. It affords opportunities to all kinds of athletes. Bigger, smaller, stronger, slighter, fast twitch net rushers, slow twitch grinders. And every generation or so, one or two who have got it all.

Right now you have a multi-faceted process which yields 6'1"+, 180 lb. adult athletes playing ostensibly, 12 and under tennis, albiet at much higher velocity. Trace that back to it's root causes.

If the USTA wants to break the cycle they have to intervene with money, not only to make all the surfaces available to many more children, but to interrupt the tremendous pressures to succeed early on the junior level. Don't misunderstand. The competition is a necessary element, the Williams sisters notwithstanding but the drive for scholarship money or "pre-mature" pro level success has been yielding a flood of woefully incomplete players.

The USTA could scholarship the most promising away from the factories, train them in all elements of the game by the best coaches (not the biggest names), let them grow their games and compete against themselves and the factory products on the national/international level. Let them mature into it. Give parents the peace of mind by footing the bill for kids the USTA lures away and who don't win college scholarships.

The changes can be made. Our country has a working model in the Olympic training centers and the support athletes in those sports receive. Hell, the IMG backed (I believe) Bollitieri Academy does it. All the USTA has to do is follow the model but instill a more well rounded, more patient coaching approach. Have we forgotten that Sampras followed a similar approach, that he was not THE best kid in the juniors, prefering instead to "play up" and develop a more well rounded game?

Is the USTA likely to do it? Of course not. And with extremely rare exception the International academies are following a very similar model. We'll get lucky here and there with a great athlete with the tools to hit serves, forehands and backhands better than the other Florida or Spanish academy products but well rounded all-courters? I seriously doubt it. Not until you break the early junior success model cycle this trend won't end. I don't see a mere change in surface accomplishing what's needed.

5

Mikael
07-03-2006, 05:07 PM
There's nothing to be done.

Tennis can only be as good in a given country as it is likely to draw the attention of the best athletes. In the US, that chance is zero. It isn't the USTA's fault that tennis as a whole can't support millions of dollars in earnings and endorsements for hundreds of players, like other sports/competitions can -- it's just reality. A talented young athlete would be nuts to focus on tennis in the US, when baseball, basketball, football, hockey, hell, even pseudo-sports like golf and racecar driving all have far brighter financial futures.

That the US produces top ten players at all when we always send our fifth- and sixth-tier athletes to compete against the best athletes from other countries speaks volumes about how much better athletics as a whole is in the US. Guys like Nadal and Federer represent the best athletes those countries have ever seen. Someone like Sampras couldn't have been a bench warmer in any other professional sport in the US.


You make a valid point, but don't forget that:

- in tennis raw athleticism (I assume this is what you are talking about) is far less important than in b-ball, football or ice hockey. Skill, "talent", whatever you want to call it, is much more important, besides of course the mental game. A clear indication is the amount of time the players have to spend practising on court to keep their games sharp vs. the time they spend in the gym or on the track. Look at Federer, he's hardly a world class athlete by any standards. The only guy these days I can think of who truly uses raw athleticism to dominate is Nadal. On the other hand, Srichaphan is maybe the best athlete in the top 100 but I don't think he's ever made the top 40 this year. So this disadavantage that the US supposedly has is greatly reduced.

- tennis isn't the number 1 sport in other countries either. It's maybe relatively more popular than in the US, but still, those countries aren't fielding their best athletes on tennis courts, that's for sure. Some examples: in England, you've got soccer, rugby, and maybe even cricket ahead of tennis. In Sweden, soccer, ice hockey and a bunch of other winter sports would be way more popular. In Brazil, soccer, surfing, and more soccer. Even in a country like France that is supposed to have maybe the best system for producing tennis champions, soccer and rugby are definitely more popular. So again, this reduces the US disadvantage in terms of athleticism.

All in all, I don't think that Blake, Ginepri, Roddick, Dent etc aren't dominating because they're inferior athletes. In my opinion what they lack above all is ambition. They're not dedicated enough. In Blake's case, choking is also a problem. Ginepri isn't a bad athlete per se but his talent might be under average on the tour.

Moose Malloy
07-03-2006, 05:34 PM
Participation in tennis has been declining since the 80s. Even when Sampras, Agassi, Courier, Chang were winning major titles there were far less total americans in the draws of slams compared to the 80s. So this has been a problem for quite some time.

Late 70s was the peak of # of americans playing tennis. Its not a coincidence that Sampras, Agassi & Co were born in the early 70s. They were the result of the tennis boom. The popularity of Borg, Evert, Connors, McEnroe etc translated into many people playing tennis which translated in to champions of the 90s.

In the mid to late 80s, Lendl, Wilander, & Edberg were the dominant players. And Americans could care less. participation dropped sharply. So kids that were born in mid 80s that might have played tennis a decade earlier did not.

The situation didn't get better when Courier & then Sampras became #1. they weren't the types of players that could inspire kids to get into the game.
only agassi could. and his wildly inconsistent career didn't help bring the masses to the game. if agassi switched careers with sampras, the sport in the us would probably have been better off. and there would be a new generation of great american players around 2015. though there's still time fo that to possiby happen, I suppose.

so the fact that americans suck at tennis right now is partially lendl's fault!

sureshs
07-03-2006, 07:55 PM
Wow! He really said that...?!? Speaks volumes about the perception of tennis in America...

Yes, he did. Don't ask me for proof though - I read many tennis mags and watch TTC, it was somewhere in one of them.

sureshs
07-03-2006, 08:10 PM
Maybe we just have to accept that tennis is not a popular sport here.

Was called for a jury selection today, and was waiting in the lounge with a couple of hundred people. The TV was on, and first Hewitt, then Murray, was on the screen. Not ONE face was turned towards the TV. Imagine if it had been baseball or football or basketball. Or Oprah, for that matter.

Scoville Jenkins said that when he is back home, his friends seem least interested in his tennis. When Donald Young was in Chicago, his neighbors made fun of him for going to play in a tennis outfit. Tennis is not considered a serious "manly" sport. The big guys play something else.

There is also equipment cost. What you need for other sports is 1 ball for a dozen people, and outrageously expensive shoes promoted by Shaq. Native talent can flourish with minimal expenditure. Tennis needs court admittance (in private courts), racquets, balls, stringing, coaching. No kid learns by hitting with his friends any more (like JMac and Mary Carillo in NY). It is all by lessons and clinics.

FEDEXP
07-03-2006, 08:39 PM
Oh FiveO you have really said it; whatever it might take, if we encouraged athletes from all socio-economic backgrounds we'd be on the right track.

bigserving
07-03-2006, 08:53 PM
The U.S. still produces the top players on tour. Off of the top of my head. Tursinov has lived in NorCal for most of his life. Sharapova has lived 12 of her 19 years in the U.S. They both still call themselves Russian. Clijsters just bought a house in New Jersey. Max Mirnyl grew up in New York. Tommy Haas and half of the WTA tour grew up at Boletierrie's. On and on.

Just look at the draws of any American Futures or Challenger events and you will see that most of the players are Non-American.

It is just a symptom of the globalization of the world that we now live in. Many foreign players take advantage of the training opportunities in the U.S but continue to represent other countries.

FEDEXP
07-03-2006, 08:57 PM
OK, but they still choose to represent other countries....and don't forget Spain is doing pretty well in that department as well.

Rabbit
07-04-2006, 04:58 AM
Watching a dual feed on my PC, the Wimbledon broadcasts and ESPN2. Brad Gilbert and Patrick McEnroe just blamed the lack of clay court play for the development of players. They cited the fact that the world's top 4 players, Federer, Nadal, Nalbandian and Ljubicic all grew up and developed their games on red clay. (I actually understood that Nalbandian played more on hard courts than clay as a youth, but that may be wrong.) I'm sure that if you looked down through the top ten, every European and South American on the list grew up on clay. They actually wanted red clay, not green laid down by the USTA. Hell, I guess even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every now and then.

I'm going to differ with some of the posts here. I think surface is the major factor in how a young player's game develops. I've played folks that grew up on clay, and seniors who play mainly on clay and they play the game differently. I think they know how to win better. McEnroe and Gilbert both opined that growing up on clay allows you to learn the game and makes it easier to adapt to other surfaces.

By the by, John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg, Michael Stich, and every Wimbledon champion prior to Andre Agassi grew up on clay.

wimble10
07-05-2006, 10:24 AM
I don't think it has much to do with surface. Sampras, Agassi, Chang, Courier: How many of them grew up playing clay? And how many of them ended up winning the French Open?

We may never see another great era in American tennis. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that tennis is seen by many as a "wimpy" sport. I mean does Federer look tough? Who wants to be the best at a wimpy sport? How is the tennis player supposed to compete with the football/baseball players. There is just not a lot of respect for men's tennis in the US. Cricket and soccer athletes seem closer to tennis players in terms of the "tough athlete."

baseliner
07-05-2006, 11:51 AM
I think it is safe to say, the USTA will not or cannot do anything to develop world class tennis players. The USTA sadly seems focused on the bottom line ($$$$). The USTA's commitment to developing tennis is asking spectators at ATP andWTA tournemanets to donate their used rakcets to inner city kids. Most upper level USTA officers come from an economically advanteged background and see the prime question for the USTA to deal with as "Should we institute and all white rule at the US Open. Construction of courts, development of talent or establishing of a national academy are beyond their understanding. I tend to agree with others who say increasing the number of clay courts would help develop champions. It would take time. Not going to improve overnight. One other suggestion, get the courts to grow some stones and overturn Title IX so tennis scholarships could be increased from 4.5 to at least 6 and severely limit the number of foreign scholarships that could be offered.

baseliner
07-05-2006, 11:53 AM
Oh one more thing. There are no more American singles players left at Wimbledon. The Bryans are still in the doubles keeping us all hanging on the answer to the question "Who will the Bryan Brothers lose to in the 2006 Wimbledon Doubles final?"

tenis
07-05-2006, 09:51 PM
Well, there is a lot of Americans in second week of Wimbledon, but they're in the commentators boots....
and they also know everythink.

alienhamster
07-05-2006, 10:52 PM
Maybe we just have to accept that tennis is not a popular sport here.

Was called for a jury selection today, and was waiting in the lounge with a couple of hundred people. The TV was on, and first Hewitt, then Murray, was on the screen. Not ONE face was turned towards the TV. Imagine if it had been baseball or football or basketball. Or Oprah, for that matter.

Scoville Jenkins said that when he is back home, his friends seem least interested in his tennis. When Donald Young was in Chicago, his neighbors made fun of him for going to play in a tennis outfit. Tennis is not considered a serious "manly" sport. The big guys play something else.

There is also equipment cost. What you need for other sports is 1 ball for a dozen people, and outrageously expensive shoes promoted by Shaq. Native talent can flourish with minimal expenditure. Tennis needs court admittance (in private courts), racquets, balls, stringing, coaching. No kid learns by hitting with his friends any more (like JMac and Mary Carillo in NY). It is all by lessons and clinics. I've said this before, but we (yes, WE here on the boards) have a role in this, too. Get your friends into the sport by showing them the best stuff we got. People have a lot of misconceptions about tennis (its exclusiveness, whiteness, boringness, etc.) Get them to watch the good match-ups. Talk up the personalities. Spread the word!

Moose Malloy
07-07-2006, 11:56 AM
Just read that this is the first all European Wimbledon SF lineup since 1990!

zolo
07-07-2006, 11:58 AM
Just read that this is the first all European Wimbledon SF lineup since 1990!

Europe is made up of many countries. Europe is a continent. The USA is a country. Sadly, the media seem to also have trouble with this so I don't blame you.

Moose Malloy
07-07-2006, 12:02 PM
Yeah, I get that. But what I said is true. Every W SF since 1990 has had either an American or Australian. Mostly Americans during that span(every year except '02 had an American in final four)

"It's the first all-European men's final four at Wimbledon in 16 years."

http://msn.foxsports.com/tennis/story/5755092

zolo
07-07-2006, 12:06 PM
Yeah, I get that. But what I said is true. Every W SF since 1990 has had either an American or Australian. Mostly Americans during that span.

That is fine it is just that the media will compare 'Europe' to the USA or Australia etc but what they should then say is something like, 'first time a German has not been in' OR say a continent like North America. Like I say, not your fault, the media are on a mission and so am I to correct it :)

Moose Malloy
07-07-2006, 12:10 PM
That is fine it is just that the media will compare 'Europe' to the USA or Australia etc but what they should then say is something like, 'first time a German has not been in' OR say a continent like North America. Like I say, not your fault, the media or on a mission and so am I to correct it

You do realize the Ryder Cup(in golf) is Europe vs US? and that there is a European PGA tour & an American PGA tour?

I'm not sure what your issue is, many stats involving Europe vs US/Australia in tennis have been written by tennis historians over the years. The reason for that comparison is that the US & Australia is more dominant(in the history of the sport) than all of Europe combined, until recently(last 20 or so years)

zolo
07-07-2006, 12:16 PM
You do realize the Ryder Cup(in golf) is Europe vs US? and that there is a European PGA tour & an American PGA tour?

I'm not sure what your issue is, many stats involving Europe vs US/Australia in tennis have been written by tennis historians over the years. The reason for that comparison is that the US & Australia is more dominant(in the history of the sport) than all of Europe combined, until recently(last 20 or so years)


Of course I know about the golf etc! That is what I am saying and no, your reasons are incorrect, sorry. (Again, not your fault). It goes back to when it was decided to make the continent a country. (not that that has happened yet) Look it up, it happened long before golf etc. I am just bringing up what the media are doing and how we all repeat this rubbish.

Rabbit
07-07-2006, 12:38 PM
Also, the fact that Europe has adopted one currency, the Euro doesn't help matters much. I know GB doesn't subscribe to the Euro, but Europe does. And, don't they call it the European Ecomonic Union?

tangerine
07-07-2006, 07:16 PM
While tennis pundits were busy whipping up "American tennis is dead!" hysteria over the rumor that "no Americans" have survived into the second week of Wimbledon for the first time in eighty some odd years, two very American guys by the name of Bryan have quietly worked their way into the Wimbledon doubles final, poised to win their first career Grand Slam, and one of them is also playing in the mixed doubles final with another American, Venus Williams.

Now we bring you back to your regularly scheduled media hysteria on American tennis being dead.

knasty131
07-07-2006, 07:16 PM
no americans...no surprise lol

Rhino
07-07-2006, 08:08 PM
While tennis pundits were busy whipping up "American tennis is dead!" hysteria over the rumor that "no Americans" have survived into the second week of Wimbledon for the first time in eighty some odd years, two very American guys by the name of Bryan have quietly worked their way into the Wimbledon doubles final, poised to win their first career Grand Slam, and one of them is also playing in the mixed doubles final with another American, Venus Williams.

Now we bring you back to your regularly scheduled media hysteria on American tennis being dead.
dude when you have to resort to bringing up doubles results in order to show the 'health' of american tennis then you know it's truely dead.
I mean they post pretty good doubles results in Zimbabwe too, but I'd hardly call that a thriving tennis success story.

FEDEXP
07-07-2006, 08:19 PM
Doubles........LOL......

tangerine
07-08-2006, 12:27 PM
Congrats to Bob and Mike Bryan (USADEAD) for completing their career grand slam and winning the Wimbledon doubles title. :p

That was a very good match, I'm glad NBC showed it. :cool:

Back to your "American tennis is in the crapper" moaning.

http://img414.imageshack.us/img414/1303/capt7ab0c1285af4432b930a77d212.jpg

Bryan brothers win Wimbledon doubles title, complete career Grand Slam
July 8, 2006

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) -- Bob and Mike Bryan won the Wimbledon doubles title Saturday to complete a career Grand Slam.

The American twins beat Fabrice Santoro of France and Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

It was their seventh consecutive appearance in a Grand Slam doubles final.

The Bryans won this year's Australian Open and last year's U.S. Open. They also won the 2003 French Open, and have two Grand Slam mixed doubles titles each.

The brothers have appeared in every Grand Slam doubles final since the 2005 Australian Open.

Only two teams have won the career Grand Slam in doubles in the Open Era since 1968 -- Jacco Eltingh and Paul Harhuis of the Netherlands, and Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge of Australia.