The big tennis nations

boredone3456

G.O.A.T.
I got into a discussion the yesterday with a friend about the idea of the most prominent tennis nations. We discussed the fact that, originally, that the USA, Britain, France and Australia made up these nations...however my friend brought up Czechoslovakia, Germany as well as more recently, Russia. She was basically saying that the concept has changed and that on the current tour (men and women combined) only France and to a lesser extent the USA is still a contender for the title..

I guess my question is, does this term even mean anything...and if so..what? I took a more historical route to the question but my friend looked at it in terms of the modern tour.

Some of our well versed historians of the men's side can delve into this I'm thinking.
 

dgold44

G.O.A.T.
Historically America is the best then Australia

Right now for the men's it's France but they have zero slams in current era


Tilden vines budge Pancho Gonzalez Kramer Sampras Agassi all Americans

Laver perry rosewall hoad Newcombe Sedgman for Aussies
 

DMP

Professional
I think that historically these nations have always had significant players/ playing numbers/important venues/big attendances:

US
UK
Australia
France
Germany
Czechoslovakia
Yugoslavia (the countries that made up that area)
Argentina

I would say that historically these are the top 9, with maybe Sweden making up no 10.

South Africa used to be important, but is much less so now.
Brazil has been up and down
Spain has only come to the fore really since Santana and Gimeno, I think, but someone might know better.
India has gone backwards, probably because of cricket diverting talent.
The eastern former Communist bloc countries have obviously created many modern players, but I am not sure they are 'big' yet in influence/money/etc.
 

boredone3456

G.O.A.T.
Maybe the best way to break it down is by decade?

For instance I certainly would not call the UK a big tennis nation overall for the past 30 years or so. With the obvious exception of Murray and Henman for the men and Durie and now Konta making a splash. The women of Britain have been practically dead since Wade retired.

Same for the Aussies...just Hewitt and Stosur with Tomic around now.

In contrast Russia on the women's side in the last 15 years or so has produced a lot of players, maybe not slam winning players but many top 50 players.
 

Mainad

Bionic Poster
Maybe the best way to break it down is by decade?

For instance I certainly would not call the UK a big tennis nation overall for the past 30 years or so. With the obvious exception of Murray and Henman for the men and Durie and now Konta making a splash.
Don't forget Rusedski. :)

The women of Britain have been practically dead since Wade retired.
Or just not as good. Robson held out some real promise for a brief moment until injury stepped in to kill off any further development and Watson tries hard but just hasn't got the ammunition. Konta is now our best bet but already seems typically inconsistent.

Same for the Aussies...just Hewitt and Stosur with Tomic around now.
Kyrgios too. Like him or loathe him he obviously has the game to be a major threat, more so than Tomic.
 
Last edited:

boredone3456

G.O.A.T.
No way UK !!!

Where was UK for 70 yrs ... from perry to Murray
For the men I agree with you not many competitive men. Some...but not many.

However for the women it's been better. The 40's-50's were rough however by the end of the 50's through the mid 80's it was ok on the ladies side. Since then though it's been pretty slim pickings...and I don't consider having 1 competitive player to make you a big tennis nation so just having Murray doesn't make Britain super powerful again.
 

DMP

Professional
No way UK !!!

Where was UK for 70 yrs ... from perry to Murray
A 'big' tennis nation I take to mean one with either a lot of champions, or lots of players, or important tournaments, or big audiences. Although the UK and Australia have not had many champions recently, they certainly have important tournaments, and big attendances. There is a reason the WTF is in London. So I think they are still big tennis nations, because tennis is a significant part of the sporting scene in those countries. The same with the other countries I list. If you look at the mens side of things, then you could say the US is not a big tennis country, but it clearly still is.

If things don't change, then the UK and Australia and the US and Germany and Sweden could cease to be big tennis countries, but a change like that takes time, many decades in fact. I don't see Spain, or Serbia, or Russia for all their successful players yet having huge audiences for tennis, or really big tournaments.

Edit: Sweden or Italy for #10 - I'm not sure which.
 
Last edited:

dgold44

G.O.A.T.
A 'big' tennis nation I take to mean one with either a lot of champions, or lots of players, or important tournaments, or big audiences. Although the UK and Australia have not had many champions recently, they certainly have important tournaments, and big attendances. There is a reason the WTF is in London. So I think they are still big tennis nations, because tennis is a significant part of the sporting scene in those countries. The same with the other countries I list. If you look at the mens side of things, then you could say the US is not a big tennis country, but it clearly still is.

If things don't change, then the UK and Australia and the US and Germany and Sweden could cease to be big tennis countries, but a change like that takes time, many decades in fact. I don't see Spain, or Serbia, or Russia for all their successful players yet having huge audiences for tennis, or really big tournaments.

Edit: Sweden or Italy for #10 - I'm not sure which.
I agree with that point !!!
 

Gizo

Hall of Fame
The lack of ATP/WTA singles title winners, or even top 100 players, that we in the UK have produced has been very frustrating, especially if you considering how rich the LTA is in, and how much money we spend on the sport. We spent £40 million on a national tennis centre in Roehampton back in 2007, and have plundered fortunes on trying to recruit high profile coaches from overseas. The money has just been spent very badly. More indoor courts for the winter, and clay courts (the best surface to grow up on nowadays) for the summer would be a nice start.

The tennis tournaments in the UK are among the best attended in the world, and between Sky, the BBC, BT, ITV and Eurosport, our TV tennis coverage is very comprehensive. Tennis is more probably more popular here than it is in most other countries in the world. I often here the excuse trotted out that tennis cannot compete with football. Well I doubt there is a single country on the planet where tennis is as popular as football (including the USA and Australia nowadays), so that doesn't hold water at all.
 
Last edited:
D

Deleted member 307496

Guest
Maybe the best way to break it down is by decade?

For instance I certainly would not call the UK a big tennis nation overall for the past 30 years or so. With the obvious exception of Murray and Henman for the men and Durie and now Konta making a splash. The women of Britain have been practically dead since Wade retired.

Same for the Aussies...just Hewitt and Stosur with Tomic around now.

In contrast Russia on the women's side in the last 15 years or so has produced a lot of players, maybe not slam winning players but many top 50 players.
I'd say in recent times Australia hasn't been struggling as much as the UK when it comes to tennis (recent times as in before Murray hit the scene). We had guys like Cash and Rafter before Hewitt and hopefully someone like Kyrgios can take over now.

I'd actually say America might be struggling as much as Australia now. Yes, you guys have Isner, Sock, Johnson and Querrey -- but these guys have limited potential and can only go so far.
 

Flash O'Groove

Hall of Fame
UK in my opinion is not a tennis nation is term of ability to produce good or great tennis players. They are a tennis nation maybe in term of popularity of tennis and prestige of tournaments hosted.

UK produced only a few great champions (Perry, and Murray are the only ones who qualify I think) a only a few supporting cast as well, with guys like Austin, Rusedski and Henman. It's slightly better on the women's side with Wade and 2-3 others champions whose name I don't remember. They did dominate the davis cup for a few years at a time it was important which is nice, but for me they didn't produce enough good players nor great players to be one of the greatest tennis nation.

USA and Australia are the greatest tennis nations. Both of them have produced so many great champions and many good players too I won't enumerate. Both are a bit behind right now but both of them are on the right track with good prospects with Kyrgios, Kokkinakis, Tomic and slew of american teenager heralded by Fritz. It's pretty similar on the women's side with Court, the Williams, Evert, Capriati, Davenport, King, etc.

France too. They had their golden age with Cochet, Borotra and Lacoste and while they haven't been good at producing true champions since, they have always a lot of players in the top 100. On the women's side they have less good players but more champions with Mauresmo, Majoli, Bartoli, etc.

Serbia produced Seles, Djokovic, Ivanovic and Jankovic, with some notable supporting cast like Tipsarevic (former top 10).

Czech republic produced Lendl, Navratilova, Kodes, Korda, Drobny, Kvitova, Novotna.

Switzerland with Hingis, Federer and Wawrinka with a few supporting cast like Bencic and Baszinski, Rosset.

Sweden of course with Borg, Edberg, Wilander, the Johanssons, Norman, Enqvist, Gustfasson, Svensson, etc.

Germany with Graf, Von Cramm, Becker, Stich, Haas, Nusslein, Kerber and many supporting cast.

Argentina and Spain with always many players in the top 100 and some champions like Nadal, Vilas, Del Potro, Ferrero, Moya, Costa, Bruguera, Gimeno, Santana, Aranxta Sanchez, etc.

Then you have a few countries who like Britain produced a few champions like Brazil (Bueno, Kuerten), Italy (Pannata, Pennetta, Pietrangelli, Schiavone, etc.) Romania (Nastase, Halep), Belgium (Henin, Clijsters) who in my opinion stands at the same level than the UK it tennis greatness.

And I forgot Russia.
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
I wonder what happened with South Africa...they used to basically compete well with anything Australia did when it comes to sport. Cricket, Rugby, Swimming, Athletics and in the past, Tennis. Not even close anymore for the latter...
 

boredone3456

G.O.A.T.
The UK is in a weird spot to discuss in this category. In terms if great Champions, especially in the men's side of history you have to dig because apart from Perry and Murray there are only a few names that were really competitive.

For the women it's better though...Chambers, Bingley, Dodd, Mckane, Round Little....gap....Truman Janes, Mortimer Barret, Haydon Jones, Wade, Barker. The thing is though Britain didn't always have 5-10 competitive players at the same time. It's like...all the resources got thrown behind a couple and that was pretty much it. It got to the point the Wightman cup was such a beat down it had to be stopped.

Compare the UK with say...Russia in the last say...16 years and the UK doesn't look great in terms of numbers of players competitive at one time.

As for now...as an American I say we are in deep trouble. Once the Williams retire our hopes look to rest of Keys and Stephens...and the men...well..it's not much better.
 
Top