Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by MaxT, Jul 19, 2006.
I don't see American men dominating like they did in the past. I wouldn't be shocked if you don't see an American in the top 10 for an extended period of time.
Tennis is in a steep decline in the states.
It is apparent for anyone to see. It really shouldn't be this way, it makes no sense.
The U.S. has more people, courts, money, and experts than any other country by far. Regardless how disinterested people are, we have got to have more players than Belgium or Switzland by far. Does this suggest mismanagement? I think so.
In the States, the responsibility of becoming a tennis pro is that of the parents, more money and time than most familiy can bear, with slim to non chance to produce a pro. It becomes a bad investment decision.
The question is, without government help, can individual families produce world class athelets?
A simple answer your question, "no", (or more accurate, "not likely"). The government of the United States has not been fiscially responsible since WWII and due to various factors, one of which is foreign aid, is not in very good financial shape. It is highly doubtful that they will expend the funds for athletic excellence in any field, other than minor funding for an Olympic center and smaller distributed centers for training.
Basically . . . the country is broke!
It's in cycles. Switzerland wont have another Federer this century, or ever. The US will prolly have many good players in the years to come.
It's just so tough, making it on mens' tour. Sampras was dedicated 1000%, and he had tons of talent. He lived his dream to the fullest. Kids today have an uphill battle to fight in tennis. The future looks bleak.
It's a little more complicated than that. I think that your argument can apply to most sports. But look at recent results. The U.S. teams have been schooled in the recent World Championships of Baseball, the Basketball Olympics, and the World Hockey and Olympic Hockey tournaments. The U.S. INVENTED baseball, for crying out loud, and is now losing in international competitions. The basketball programs have been deteriorating for a while. And as we saw with the recent World Cup, despite recent strides, the U.S. still lags far behind the rest of the world. About the only sport Americans still own is football, and no one else besides Canada really plays it.
We put a premium in this country on individuality and being the rebel. That doesn't encourage working in a team atmosphere.
Part of it I think could be surfaces, as outlined in the surface thread on this board. A lot of public facilities still have faster courts, but the game has slowed down and U.S. players aren't taught point construction. U.S. players play very much like our national psyche of immediate gratification. The U.S. players emphasize power in a game that isn't quite dependent on it anymore.
Last, I would remind everyone that everything is cyclical. From 85-90, the U.S. players were nowhere. Of the 23 GS tournaments between 1985 and 1990 (the AO wasn't played in 86), U.S. players won 2, the 89 French and 90 U.S. That came on the heels of a period that saw the U.S. produce two of the greatest players ever in Connors and McEnroe, so people got used to seeing U.S. players win a lot. But after McEnroe trounced Lendl in 84 at Flushing, a U.S. player didn't win again until Chang in 89, and on top of that almost never made the finals either.
A U.S. player will rise again. During the late 80s, everyone assumed it would be the flashy Agassi, but it was Sampras who kind of came out of nowhere and won the U.S. in 1990 that signalled a new high point for U.S. tennis, as Courier, Agassi and Samrpas kind of dominated 91-94 or so.
Please, this is why they say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Don't believe everything you see on television. The government is not broke and if it is, a little research will tell you the US is one of the worst countries in giving foreign aid. Attacking Iraq is not foreign aid. we're in bad financial shape b/c this war is costing alot all the while taxes have been cut back. There are other factors of course, but foreign aid is not a problem.
What level of players from the US compete in these games? Do the best ever play in those?
Correct. It is miniscule compared to other expenditures, and also has indirect payback, e.g., helping US companies getting a foothold in other places.
If you guys want to see the future of US men's tennis you need to go to the nationals at Kalamazoo, MI. There you will see the future of men's tennis.
Also trying to produce a good player in the states costs a lot of money. For a hour with a pro at a good club is anywhere from $50-$100 and the cost of racquets and gear is high. I play USTA Boy's 18 singles and I play 3-4 hours every day and then I go and work for 10 hours after tennis to help my parents pay for the bill. Also it's not the pros that make that money; it's the clubs. The pro only makes a small part of your fee and the club gets the rest.
The next Pete Sampras probably never picked up a tennis racquet because the cost of tennis was so high, so he/she picked up a basketball or football because it costs very little and almost everyone plays it. Also from the time you start school what game do you play? Not tennis. You play basketball and football. Last year at school in gym class we spent more time on archery than tennnis.
It is high in most countries, relative to the income (not in absolute currency terms). In most places, tennis is an expensive and elitist sport for rich kids only. Racquets and balls cost a fortune, as does court time. Some countries offer lots of financial assistance to promising players - like China (I am assuming based on what I read). The debate will always continue. Do you want an old-style Soviet system where a kid was taken away from his parents and put in a training school, fully paid, to produce Olympic athletes for "national pride"? Or do you want a system which is mostly private and supported by sponsors for the better kids, and some government funds thrown in thru the USTA?
Nice points Arafel,
I agree that things have been cyclical, but the torch of American tennis has been passed more seemlessly in the past than the future seems to bode. True the American players weren't winning majors in those six years 1985 to 1990, however, JMc and Connors were still reaching well into the second weeks of those events, holding the fort until younger guns took over. Almost as importantly Mc and Connors kept American tennis in front of TV viewers on the final weekend of events more often than not. And when they couldn't there was another promising junior who went further than expected.
'85 RG: Mc and Connors reached the SF
'85 W: Mc QF, Connors SF, both losing to Kevin Curren
'85 USO: Mc Finals
'85 AO: played the last week Nov., first week Dec. that year: Mc QF
'86 RG: nobody
'86 W: Tim Mayotte reached QF
'86 USO: Tim Wilkison reached QF
'87 AO: nobody
'87 RG: Connors QF
'87 W: Connors SF
'87 USO: Mc QF, Connors SF
'88 AO: Todd Witsken QF
'88 RG: Agassi SF
'88 W: Tim Mayotte QF
'88 US: Agassi SF
'89 AO: Mc QF
'89 RG: Change Winner
'89 W: Tim Mayotte and Dan Goldie QF; Mc SF
'89 USO: Tim Mayotte QF Agassi and Krickstein SF
'90 AO: nobody
'90 RG: Agassi Finalist
'90 W: Gilbert QF
'90 USO: Sampras Winner, Agassi runner-up
So even in the these lean years, Americans played on the final weekend in 12 of the 23 majors. In 8 of the remaining 11 majors at least one American reached the QF.
American's Top 25 Rankings those years:
'86 (the low point):
All in all not a bad transition of generations at all. I don't see that kind of transition taking place this go round. There are no young guns who look even remotely ready to take up the torch. I fear the low point of 1986 won't look so bad in a few years.
McEnroe brought a lot of interest to the sport with his bad boy attitude. Then it was the Agassi-Sampras-Chang-Courier era, with players like Connors and Krickstein making nice runs at the USO. Now there's Blake and Roddick. At least Roddick won the USO once.
We need an American to dominate the tour, where's our tiger woods when we need em!
Good grief! When the Swedes and Ivan were dominating, people moaned and groaned about USA tennis too. It'll be back....
Who cares whether a player is American or Swiss?! Honestly, I couldn't care less! What a pointless discussion...
You're probably not american in that case. If you are, poo poo on your national pride says I. But seriously an american will be easier to connect to on a personal level becasue you have a better idea of where they are coming from, how they talk etc. you cant tell me that you find federer's interviews and sayings more entertaining than andy roddick! i mean he did snl, and did a good job at that. but either way, i dont think americans want men dominating tour so much as at least in the running, at least threatening at majors. the worst feeling for me is I know unless federer is not playing the tournament, there is no chance of an american winning. Let's not even have american's winning a lot, lets just have one american a year beat federer, i think thats fair! we dont really have any american men that are at the level to threaten federer on any surface, last year we had gasquet to threaten him on clay, and nadal on clay as well. Nalbandian on hard, and everyone knows safin has the skills to blow anyone off the court on any given day. we just don't have an american that can do that at all, blake has too many holes and not enough consistency, and his real strenght (forehand) feeds right into federer's strenght which is an even better forehand imo. with the the guys that beat him, they all ahve solid backhands, like super super solid, we're tlaking the best backhands in the biz in safin, nalbandian, and gasquet, and with nadal the "backhand side" of fed is nadal's forehand which is obviously super super good. blake's backhand is at best a tentative shot. roddick's backhand, well we've ripped on it enough. to be honest, there is no american that i forsee challenging the likes of federer for quite some time to come.
No, I am not and I have never known a feeling such as national pride. I am just saying that I don't care what nationality a player has. I don't relate to a player on the basis of his nationality but rather on the basis of his play and his character (as far as you tell that from the interviews).
Same way, it doesn't matter to me if they are black or white (or else), tall or short, young or old, etc. Other than the Davis Cup, tennis is not a sport that revolves around nationalities but around indvidual performance. And that suits my own approach to life and tennis...
I second that!
Very well said austro, yeh ...as "chiru" said you're probably not American ... as you have a lot of common sense (this will probably make me very unpopular here ...but life is tough ...isn't it? Oh well...let’s continue :-|).
My remark simply comes out of frustration. Seeing people who take it so personally and who are so "national pride oriented" when it comes to tennis makes me sad. So …no American player has the chance to beat Federer if he plays even @ 70 percent of his potential…that’s TOUGH but one should deal with it …as some of the wiser posters on this thread said …everything is cyclic your players’ time will come.
This kind of attitude has some “sociological” reasons I presume…I guess in America this “pride of being an American” is overemphasized all the time in schools and the society in general. In my opinion this is done to somehow overcompensate the fact that America has a history of a few hundred years and it’s population is very “mixed” as opposed to let’s say Japan who has thousands of years of history/civilization and few foreigners when compared (even though they now exaggerate in burrowing stuff from “western civilizations”). Anyway …this can be a long debate and I’ll stop now as offending people is not my intention…and I respect both nations (and all nations for that matter) for who they are.
I can agree that the “I’m the best “coz” I’m an American” attitude has some benefits…especially in “confidence based” individual sports like tennis but it can still be annoying as hell when it’s so evident (and taken to extremes) in some people.
Just to finish…I have many favorite players…to name but a few more “recent” ones: Stich, Korda, Sampras, Kafelnikov, Agassi, Federer (let’s see …2 Americans,1 German, 1 from the Czech Republic, 1 Russian and 1 Swiss). Do I care what their nationality is? NO ! Not unless they play in the Davis Cup finals and they are my own compatriots. When talking about the ATP Tour I only care if they play tennis the way I like it played or not…and that’s it.
Enough said…if somebody feels offended by my remarks I apologize again…and underline again that THIS WAS NOT MY INTENTION!
Schools don't spend enough time on tennis because it costs a lot more money than a ball (basket...football ...whatever) which can be used by the whole school (if you know what I mean... ).
The fact that you work in order to help your parents with expenses is very respectable also.
Regarding your remarks on how much it costs to produce a good player in the States...it is sad, but believe me no way near as sad as in other parts of the world. Most eastern European countries, many countries from Asia and practically the whole African continent have medium salaries under 300 $ (and that's being generous) when a tennis racket costs more than half that amount of money (if you want a good one). Wouldn't you say the average American still has a better chance of being able to afford playing tennis at a competitive level than 80 percent of the ROW (rest of world)??
National prode and the rise of the nation state brought/brings nothing but unrest and war to this planet. Boo national pride, Yikes, it even seems to be coming to Canada lately.
No. Tennis is a very inexpensive sport for schools ... compared to football, baseball, basketball and lacrosse. The gear for these non-tennis sports is much more expensive.
IOW, it wasn' "cost" which weakened USA tennis in the schools ... it was Title IX. (Which has been discussed at length in other threads.)
There are so many good american athletes who *might've* been potential tennis greats but wasn't exposed to it and instead chose football/baseball/basketball/whatever and are not talented enough in that, thus benchwarming etc.
Imagine...one of those fringe players on a NHL hockey team might've been better than Sampras but we'll just never ever know...
My mistake ...I wasn't specific enough, I am talking about FOOTBALL, not AMERICAN FOOTBALL which is rugby in disguise and is mostly played with "hand" instead of "foot" . The costs for football (or European football) are the money invested in a few balls, the schools yard is most of the time good enough to play it.
Regarding basketball being more expensive than tennis I tend to disagree. My reasons are :
- there is an initial "big" investment when building the basketball court (which is just a little bigger than a tennis court)
-at least 10 people can play on that court simultaneously and it will last for 20 years without further investment other than balls.
-the court is almost as expensive to build
-only 2 -> 4 people can play on it simultaneously
-equipment is far more expensive, and needs to be bought "by the pound" in large schools
In the US the best athletes don't play tennis for the most part. This may be a generalization but in many of the South American countires it's tennis or football (soccer). In Europe tennis is still a popular choice of sports to play. I remember when Boris Becker won Wimbledon the comment was made with his size and quickness if he grew up in the the US he would have probably been playing linebacker. It's encouraging to see a kid Sam Querry's size playing tennis and not basketball. Plus Roddick is 23 years old, really hasn't had any major injuries, I don't think you can count him out yet.
Well I'm just saying, most countries have national pride, actually a crazy amount when it comes to things like world cup, and frankly, americans don't, becasue we know we suck...its pretty clear that we're one of the worst soccer teams ever. most of our other normal sporting events take place exclusively in our own country, (take the world series of baseball which includes none of the rest of the world, the NBA finals, the Super Bowl etc. are all the top prizes in their respective major sports without any participation from other countries). tennis is one of the only major sports that pits americans vs. several different nations all the time, i mean its not like the us open only has american players (if it did, it would suck and i wouldn't watch it.) so just as a person has a leaning towards his home team, americans like having an american to chear on. take a sania mirza, not very talented, not very good, and IMO def not deep into majors/top 20 potential. but people in india are 140% behind her why? national pride, you just have a connection when someone from amongst you does something of value. a bunch of swiss people go crazy over fed why? first great sports personality of that caliber. when rafa returned home after his first RG he found niketown stores sold out of pirate pants and green nike sleeveless shirts in his home country. henman/murray in britain, i can go on for hours the point is every country has (insert country name)_an pride so to say. to say that American pride is unique to a "we can't do any wrong" mentality amongst the populace is downright ignorant of the concept of national pride.
Boys 16s & 18s Clay Court National in MD today.
If any of you are around the Wash, DC area, the USTA Clay Court Nationals are currently being played in Rockville, MD. They are playing the round of 16s today in both age groups. The doubles quarter finals, whihc I am still in, are being played tomorrow. There are some 15 year olds splaying in the 18s and doing quite well. Unseeded Jamere Jenkins took out the 17th and 3rd seeds. As far as cost to develop a player, this tournament cost $95 to enter and $130 per night hotel plus food and travel for an eight day tournament. Figure $2000-$2500 for only this national tournament! Tennis is an upper crust sport and the USTA has done little to broaden the sport by lowering the cost or the entrance fees.
I totally agree with u
I would rather have people not being distracted by cricket or soccer and demanding justice from their politicians, who of course would like nothing better than get the people distracted from reality. In a country where, in most parts, a girl wearing what Sania Mirza wears on court would be assaulted, "supporting" Sania makes no sense. It is just an opportunity to make some noise and divert themselves from reality.
How many English soccer fans were arrested in Germany? Is that "national pride"?
I don't see anything patriotic about stopping work or going to work late when a sports event is on.
hey, anyone who knows me im as critical of my country's politicians as the next guy, but that doesn't mean you take it out on your country's athletes. i like fed and nadal too, but a guy like davydenko i can't connect with. whereas a guy who is as boring and plays just like davydenko was american, id probably support him more than i do davydenko. i can't help that im partial towards my countrymen. i still think i give credit where credit is due, if an american sucks, i say it like it is, but im willing to give americans a little bit more leway whether i like it or not.
I'm not sure what you're talking about? Baseball and the NBA (and Hockey) have MANY international players on their teams. Maybe you mean that they don't have teams physically located in other countries? As for football, you're correct. Other than a few kickers and running backs, most, if not all, players are from the USA.
It's safe to call the super bowl winners the world champions.
It's safe to call the world series winners the world champions.
It's most likely safe to call the stanley cup winners world champions.
It's most likely safe to call the NBA champions world champions.
Think about it, without the one or two stars from another individual country on each of those teams, that country wouldn't be able to touch the supergroup that won that championship.
The world series winners consist of several foreign players on the team, and they'd definitely (imo) beat any national team.
We are arguing different aspects of the same point. Your "fixed cost" arguments are all good....
American Football, Baseball and Basketball are revenue positive for universities. Tennis is not.
A school can "field" a Tennis Team of only 10 players, if the school is very frugal. The same school's Basketball Team has at least 15 players. BUT ... very few Tennis Teams have travel staffs like the "big" sports. And the travel costs are big.
Tennis' Travel Squad: Coach (who frequently also serves as Trainer #2), Trainer, Players (6-8).
Basketball Travel Squad: Coaches (2-4), Doctor & Trainers (2-3), Players (10-12)
Oh, yes ... the Hoops team actually even *flies* to some of its' games. The Tennis Team gets the back-up van for the Womens' Soccer Team.
Interesting article on why the U.S. has lost its passion for tennis:
I'm an American and I relate much more to Nadal and Federer than to Roddick. Below is a piece by Bruce Jenkins from the SF Chronicle, and it pretty much is my take as well:
I'm from America and I agree with Austro. Personally if people want to be behind someone because they come from the same country then, that's there choice. But one shouldn't have to, to prove having pride. Sorry but your reasoning is warped. And telling someone that they probably aren't American just because they don't agree with you is equally warped and ignorant. Especially the part of we should be able to relate to Roddick better then Federer because he's hosted SNL. I mean what the heck does that have to do with who's more enjoyable to watch or listen to. For me it's one of the dumbest shows to ever be on television and if Roddick wants to get back in form maybe he should concentrate on tennis, and leave the Hollywood career to when he retires. I enjoy Federer and Nadal for the way they play, and the ways they act. I happen to be one that believes in rooting for who I like, with their performance and desire. I'm not going to root for someone just because they come from the US.
Just a little side note about my personal experience which I think does relate to the discussion. I started tennis in the middle of 7th grade. Our coach was an actual tennis player. He traveled around and played in tournaments in his age bracket and was an excellent player. He was probably in his late 40s at the time. He taught me how to play in a class of about 40 kids. When I moved up to high school I made varsity in the second half of my freshman year along with my doubles partner who came from the same middle school. We had no further coaching since our "coach" was an algebra teacher who played occasionally on the weekends. I left my junior year to go to college where I played only occasionally and had no further coaching. Until about 4 or 5 years ago I had only played recreationally off an on. I am now 31 yrs. old and only recently realized all the tournaments and stuff that the USTA has for junior players. I had no idea all the opportunities there were when I was playing in middle school and high school. This past weekend I played with my 4.0 team in a city qualifier and we made it to the finals but then lost. I started off my doubles match with 3 aces in my first service game. These weren't aces like they tried to hit the ball and missed. These were the kind where the ball just blasts by them with no chance of hitting it. Unreturnable. Sometimes I wonder what I could have done in tennis if I had been just given a clue about what was out there. I think there is probably plenty of raw talent out there that simply gets left out of the club. I know I was clueless and had no idea what tennis had to offer other than a fun way to knock out those PE credits.
True, your arguments make sense, end of controversy . As you said we were debating different aspects of the same issue.
Well..an american back to top 5 again!
Our kids are now too fat and lazy to play a game as challenging as tennis.
The fat kid(s) in my high school are now the normal kids in my daughter's! The fat kids at her school are super-fat.
I am hammering into my younger daughters' minds the importance of eating right and keeping active. Sheesh!.... a kid just died in PE class from running laps here in Texas. That's VERY sad and heartbreaking, but it does paint a picture of us as Americans.
I also told 'em, if they don't win Wimbledon by the time they are sixteen, I'll sell them.... They know I'm kidding, BTW!
One thing that burns me up is in elementary school, they only have PE a couple of days a week.
It's video games, TV, McDonald's...
"I don't really see anyone really challenging Federer. I just think he's going to go on and really dominate even more so." - Sampras
I don't see anything wrong with that.
Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, etc. Its people like this who set a new high bar of performance that pushes the competition higher and higher.
If not for the dominating legends, the game wouldn't advance.
Americans compete, really, really hard. But, and I know it will be flame central, their coaching is prehistoric in a lot of cases. I mean this is a country that embraced the lunchbox bs of Dennis Van Der Meer and Vic Braden. These two guys couldn't win a game of mixed at an over 70's tourney. Awful stuff.
If Americans were to have guys like tricky and Backhand slice running programs, I think they would be kicking everyones arse again. Because Americans are fierce competitors. But they need the creativity to go with it.
If you want to see guys competing HARD, go to almost any US junior national tournament or Senior Event. The effort and talent is there, and always will be, but the technique seems to be lagging three to five years behind, and that can BE a killer.
It was a canadian who invented it on US soil
If Federer wasnt so unbelievably good, wouldnt Roddick be number 1/2 right now? Roddick was the last number one before Federer took over. And Roddick had a decent shot again at number one and could possibly have gotten it if he had won Wimbledon 2004. Now of course Roddick is number 5 and there is Nadal who has clearly been the worlds second best for a while. Though I believe if not for Federer, Roddick wouldnt have suffered the loss of confidence he did. His reign would have been longer and people wouldnt have been whining because until this year AGassi stayed in the top 7-8 and Blake cracked the top 10 as well. So the US hasnt been doing bad at all. Its probably the last country to have 3 top 10 players in the same week (early this year). A US player hasnt won a grand slam since 2003 when they won two, but an American has made at least one grand slam final a year three years running. Not domination but not worth all this whining.
I think Blake would have beaten anyone in tennis history with the way he played against Federer in the US open.
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