What happened to US men's tennis?

edmondsm

Legend
Holy hell. Going into the 2nd week of the USO there is one American man left, and that man is Tim Smyczek. Ranked 109, Tim's career highlights are winning two challengers.

If you had told me 10 years ago that the highest ranked American would be a 6'10" dude who had played all four years of college, and that Tim Smyczek, ranked 109, would be the last American hope of getting to the 4th round of the USO I would have laughed in your face.

What happened? This isn't a slight dip in talent, this is a canyon of inadequacy. 10 years ago Sampras had just retired, Agassi still looked great, Roddick was winning the USO, etc.

I glanced at the boys draw. There is only one American kid seeded. WTF? Did the USTA drop the ball? How did we get so bad, so fast?
 

edmondsm

Legend
American men these days aren't physically,mentally,and techniquefully talented as European players DUH
If you'll read my post, your point is already implied. I was sort of looking for opinions as to how the USA somehow stopped producing talented players.
 

jelle v

Hall of Fame
I'm from Europe, so I i don't really know what happened to American tennis, but it seems like there was no real follow up in terms of talent, when Sampras and Agassi retired.

Sure there was Roddick, but in all fairness, he is not the most gifted player and he wasn't winning big like Sampras and Agassi were winning tournaments. It's just an assumption on my part, but I have this notion that when there was no american winning big like Sampras and Agassi, the interest in the sport just kind of faded. Of course this leads to fewer kids starting to play tennis and fewer kids coming through as a talent.

Another factor in my opinion, is that the European players got more allround, so there is less domination on the hard court tour by Americans, which kind of was American territory in the sense that they were better hard court players in general than the European players were.
 

rajah84

Semi-Pro
Holy hell. Going into the 2nd week of the USO there is one American man left, and that man is Tim Smyczek. Ranked 109, Tim's career highlights are winning two challengers.

If you had told me 10 years ago that the highest ranked American would be a 6'10" dude who had played all four years of college, and that Tim Smyczek, ranked 109, would be the last American hope of getting to the 4th round of the USO I would have laughed in your face.

What happened? This isn't a slight dip in talent, this is a canyon of inadequacy. 10 years ago Sampras had just retired, Agassi still looked great, Roddick was winning the USO, etc.

I glanced at the boys draw. There is only one American kid seeded. WTF? Did the USTA drop the ball? How did we get so bad, so fast?
I wouldn't have.

This didn't happen overnight. US tennis has been gradually declining since Pete and Andre. Ask yourself, who were the guys that came after them, where they better than Pete, Andre, Courier, Chang, Martin...?

But I'm with you to point. What were all the juniors doing when Roddick playing? Where are they? The answer is.....THEY QUIT! They really did. They didn't even get to turn pro. And the ones that did didn't last.

Now the next question is "why did all these top young American players quit?"

I guess you'd have to go back to the days after WWII to find the root cause.
 
I actually think that there is some talent out there.

sock, johnson, klahn, harrison and even the donald to some degree are all talented players. they just need to get it together, especially their fitness.

RH is a technically sound player but he looks a little pudgy, he should work really hard this winter and lose like 10 pounds.
 

tata

Hall of Fame
It's the same here in Oz. Hewitt is on his way out and our hopes lie within a kid who can't handle himself professionally on and off the court.
 

tata

Hall of Fame
Perhaps the slowing of court speed has favoured European players who grew up on dirt.
 
It's the same here in Oz. Hewitt is on his way out and our hopes lie within a kid who can't handle himself professionally on and off the court.
but you did very well in the boys grand slams the last 2-3 years.

saville, kokkinakis and kyrgios all did very well in the boys GS. of course a lot of good junior players fail recently but maybe one of them can make it big.

but then again brydan klein and todd reid won boys slams too and have never been heard of again. you never know.
 
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tata

Hall of Fame
yea kyrigios played in the main draw this USO but had to face Ferrer I think. The next few years will tell a lot.
 

*Sparkle*

Professional
There will be loads of reasons, but I wonder if the Europeans and South Americans have an advantage, because when they are younger, most will also be playing a lot of football (soccer) as they grow up, which as a sport seems to be more compatible with becoming a good tennis player.

The top players all picked up racquets and started taking tennis fairly seriously at a young age, but that might just be a few hours a week. I bet most of them were playing just as many hours of football for a while, because it's what kids play at school, both officially and loads of unofficial kick-abouts during play-time and in the park on the way home with jumpers for goal posts etc.

The physical conditioning, spatial awareness and footwork skills developed would compliment nicely with what they are learning on court.

It would be interesting to see how many of the women have played much football, especially as it's a more popular sport for girls in the US than it is in Europe as far as I can tell. Success in the women's game is also influenced by considerably less choice of elite sports, and so on, so it's just one factor.
 

pound cat

G.O.A.T.
If there isn't an interest in tennis from the parents of younger boys then they will be encouraged by them to play the more traditional American sports as they get older such as baseball and basketball. And now many young people are taking an interest in Golf and soccer as well.

And video games and poker seem to be the current "sports" of choice by some young people.
 

kiki

Banned
It's the same here in Oz. Hewitt is on his way out and our hopes lie within a kid who can't handle himself professionally on and off the court.
Main problem down here is Australian Football Rules

If Cash had decided to turn pro and not play tennis, Australia would have had just one Wimbledon winner since Newcombe.
 

Gyomu

New User
Maybe its simply because Tennis isn't that popular in the US anymore. I don't know for the other European countries but in France it's the second most popular sport, with ton of clubs and ton of money for the federation to tutor promising players.
 
If there isn't an interest in tennis from the parents of younger boys then they will be encouraged by them to play the more traditional American sports as they get older such as baseball and basketball. And now many young people are taking an interest in Golf and soccer as well.

And video games and poker seem to be the current "sports" of choice by some young people.
I heard that even the kids of steffi and andre prefer baseball over tennis:)
 

Gyswandir

Semi-Pro
While not American, I am a bit surprised that no one in USTA, especially given its supposed budget, has considered conducting a simple survey amongst current athletes (tennis players and other popular sports) to ask why tennis/why not, did you try tennis, why/why not, why did you keep at it/drop it...
Correlating these with results for tennis players/other sports would also be interesting.

One observation I have is that it seems that the next girls generation is much more promising than the boys. So, does that support the notion of following the sport with the highest earning potential (tennis for women)?
 

90's Clay

Banned
The best athletes go into team organized sports (Hockey, Football, Basketball, Baseball), not sports like tennis anymore.

... and with tennis losing a good amount of popularity over the past 10 years (since the days of Agassi, Sampras, Courier) etc.. its not surprising
 

West Coast Ace

G.O.A.T.
American men these days aren't physically,mentally,and techniquefully talented as European players DUH
You left out 'or as hungry'. Querrey didn't even look like he cared losing to Mannarino.

JMac calls it 'affluenza' - the rich kids aren't willing to grind on the practice courts or get in great shape. Look at Ryan Harrison: mix in some salads and seafood, bro.

Having said that, after all the success, a little down time isn't the end of the world. And we still have the Bryan brothers.
 

JustBob

Hall of Fame
Maybe its simply because Tennis isn't that popular in the US anymore. I don't know for the other European countries but in France it's the second most popular sport, with ton of clubs and ton of money for the federation to tutor promising players.
France and Spain also have the best elite player development systems with high standards in coaching and structures which favor development/competition at all levels. Elite tennis players do not develop in a vacuum so popularity of the sport alone won't do you much good without the structures/system to support them. And the US has fallen far behind in that regard.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
Look at Ryan Harrison: mix in some salads and seafood, bro.
Is that really Ryan Harrison's problem? Or Isner's? Isner beat DP and Dj the last time he played them before the USO. How many can do that? The men's game is very tough and there is no telling who will succeed. If being a Ryan Harrison is no big deal, how come there is just one like him? What happened to all the others?
 

2ndServe

Hall of Fame
because Americans are short sighted and results oriented. The parents pour tens/hundreds of thousands of dollars and want the wins, the good results, the trophies the little print articles in their small town news paper, the hype on tw forum, the trn high rankings for college. Accepting the crap line calls their junior or college kids make. When you get on the big stage you can't cheat your way to win.

A pro game development is not a sprint. There are many holes in a jr or college tennis game that will allow for winning now but once you make the jump those holes become a canyon.

Let them play up in some divisions, let them get the crap beat out them when they are young and play the best of the best. The wins/losses mean nothing in the juniors if you want to build a true impact player on the tour. Build a solid game with no holes, it'll be a long tough road, don't worry about the results, just worry about getting better everyday and eventually the results will come.

But most Americans don't have that point of view they want the now.
 

mcenroefan

Hall of Fame
What happened to men's tennis in general.....the ATP doesn't have much in the way of emerging talent from any country these days.
 

granddog29

Banned
What happened to men's tennis in general.....the ATP doesn't have much in the way of emerging talent from any country these days.
Exactly. The way things look now I would predict atleast 18 slams for Nadal, atleast 9 for Djokovic, and atleast 6 for Murray.
 

ctoth666

Banned
What happened to men's tennis in general.....the ATP doesn't have much in the way of emerging talent from any country these days.
This is very true. The USA was just ahead of the curve in failing junior development. lol.

Seriously though. Since Agassi retired and James Blake finished in the top 5 in 2006, men's tennis has been dreadful. American men have only won 10 combined tournaments, I believe, outside of the United States from 07-present. Andy Roddick won 5 of those tournaments. And in the same time period, Andy Roddick is the only American to advance past the quarterfinals of any major or win an ATP 1000 event. I believe Ginepri is the only other man to get further than a 1/4 final, with the exception of Agassi and Roddick. It's pretty bleak, but American men are still more successful than many countries.
 

josofo

Semi-Pro
If there isn't an interest in tennis from the parents of younger boys then they will be encouraged by them to play the more traditional American sports as they get older such as baseball and basketball. And now many young people are taking an interest in Golf and soccer as well.

And video games and poker seem to be the current "sports" of choice by some young people.

not only that the goverment subsidies football (hugely they pay for the equipment, leagues etc) and to a lesser extent, baseball and basketball.

tennis, not so much besides building courts.
 

90's Clay

Banned
Isner is decent. Not sure why he didn't take up Basketball however. I think he would have been more successful. Its a shame to let that type of size and athleticism go to waste. And in tennis that type of size works against you
 

edmondsm

Legend
Goodness, how many times has this thread popped up?
Admittedly I figured that this had been discussed to death but the search tool isn't very good at finding certain topics.

Man though, so many great responses. It was a pleasure reading all of them. I stopped coming to this forum because of all the arguing and trolling but this thread shows that there are many intelligent posters still here with sound insight.

Personally I think the USTA has dropped the ball in a major way. IDK what the story is but they should have offered way more resources to player development then they did, because there is no way we would end up with such a shallow pool of talent if they had thrown more money at the junior players.
 
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