Food for thought: More practice matches
"... will only be a player that makes grinders look bad on hard courts. Barring that, I say there will never, ever be an American grinder champion, much less world class player to defeat the rest of the tennis world. Ever."
Please clarify when you say there will, "never, ever be an American grinder champion." I guess it also begs the question as to what is a "grinder." Many of the great professionals can "grind" out victories and extend points, sets and the match many hours if required which is directly related to mental strength and conditioning. I think one issue we have in the U.S. is we don't teach how to "grind."
I often hear parents say "grinders" and "pushers" are the same and that's not a position I agree with. We don't teach patience and discipline for U.S. tennis. We teach power and ending points quickly. We don't teach juniors to grind. If you look at the women's game, everyone would love to play like Serena but good luck as a player with Serena's physical skills doesn't come around often. I love Serena but that's not the model player unless you have a certain physical build & capabilities, much of which may be out of your control (sure, we can do a better job of conditioning/strengthening but everyone will physical limits).
We also fail to customize to the individual's physical capabilities. We have too many juniors physically trying to do what they are not strong enough or capable of doing. It's players like Errani, Schiavone, Radwanska and the like that impress me by taking what they have and can do and maximizing it and it's not sexy or cool to watch but they are all top WTA players.
Just watch a high school tennis match and each player will try to hit the ball as hard as possible. They will take 15-20 winners against 30-40 unforced errors and the math just doesn't work. Folks tease Wozniacki and call her boring and a pusher . . . well, she pushed her way to #1 in the world and will make enough $ to retire very comfortably . . . I mention that name to juniors in the U.S. and they laugh at her and call her boring, that's the problem. She isn't boring; she is a hell of a player and she grinds. Sure, she isn't Serena (or Sharapova; yea, it would be nice to be a 6ft. woman) but there's only 1 Serena and without Serena's serve, she wouldn't dominate today.