Much has been made about the dire state of American tennis lately. If I had a nickel for every article that shows up in my google reader about how much we are not as good as we used to be, we have no grand slam contenders, etc., I could buy a diet coke from my office’s vending machine (not great riches, no, but how many people actually write about tennis in major publications?).
First of all, we have 8 guys in the top 100, 4 of whom are in the top 40. 2 of whom are just outside of the top 10 and could very well rise higher as soon the tour moves to grass and hardcourts. Speaking of which…
Second of all, it is clay season. We are never good on clay. Any one expecting solid results on the dirt is incredibly unrealistic, especially with our current roster. Sure, sometimes we have a player win a random clay tournament here and there (Hi Ryan Sweeting!). But the guys were have now? Not going to happen all that much.
Third, although doubles is the ugly step-child of tennis, we are winning matches there. The Bryans clinched their 71st title last week and pretty much are the GOAT of doubles teams. Quisner also have been doing well. Just today they 3rd seed Bhupathi/Paes 6-3, 3-6, 10-5! Even Fish/Roddick beat Berdych/Dlouhy 19-17 in the super tie break!.
And Mardy “Rodney Dangerfield of Tennis” Fish is also still alive in the singles in Rome, with really solid wins over Ljubicic and Giraldo. I do not understand why he does not get more respect from people. Turning his career around and surging to the top of American tennis is a major achievement that should be applauded, not used as evidence of our decline. I have complained about this before and will not rehash it here, but come on, people!
Of course, the naysayers will not stop until someone wins a (singles) slam. And no, the US does not have a player on Djokovic’s level. But who does (yes, Serbia, but that’s not my point)? We should appreciate and cheer for the players that we do have. Commend their accomplishments instead of jeering their failures. Who knows where some positive reinforcement could get us? All I know for sure is that it is a hell of a lot more enjoyable as a tennis fan to support our guys rathen than bring them down.