AMERICA FAB FOUR "THE BEST OF THEIR GENERATIONS" [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

AMERICA FAB FOUR "THE BEST OF THEIR GENERATIONS"

angiel
04-29-2006, 08:49 PM
http://www.insidetennis.com/it_img/0805_tantrums_four_amer_500.jpg



When America’s Fab Four eventually came to rule the roost, there was plenty of ‘tude and (unlike the Swedes or Spaniards) virtually no camaraderie. These guys were not buddies. Andre Agassi and Jim Courier fought for the loyalty of their common coach, Nick Bollettieri, and early on, there relationship was nasty. When Agassi said Courier didn’t have much talent, Jim simmered and then shot back. But eventually Agassi watched supportively from the Friends Box as Courier made his final Wimbledon run.

Agassi, at times, was cruelly dismissive of the not particularly hip Micheal Chang and was clearly annoyed with the bundle of titles that Sampras denied him. Plus, when Sampras first became No. 1, Agassi offered a demeaning quip, implying that Pete was an ape. But by the end, the syrupy language flowed as the two spoke of their deep mutual respect. And while Sampras, Agassi, Courier and Chang were, en masse, spectacular Davis Cup underachievers, at least they didn’t suffer any embarrassing meltdowns, like Connors and Mac, when they tried to team up.

almouchie
04-29-2006, 10:00 PM
I like that Fab4

if anything they were not friends at least not early on
they were rivals, the worst in the sense they were countryman
in a sense Davis Cup got them together
its true they werent like the spainards, swedish or french

probably more to do with culture difference
a great era for them
cannt see anyone step up now
rodddick has a single GS to his name, Blake a late boomer (like Tod Martin)
& the other americans simply make up the numbers
any up & coming american player

angiel
05-01-2006, 09:36 PM
I like that Fab4

if anything they were not friends at least not early on
they were rivals, the worst in the sense they were countryman
in a sense Davis Cup got them together
its true they werent like the spainards, swedish or french

probably more to do with culture difference
a great era for them
cannt see anyone step up now
rodddick has a single GS to his name, Blake a late boomer (like Tod Martin)
& the other americans simply make up the numbers
any up & coming american player


Dont see anyone filling their shoes in the near future, unless it will Pete & Andre sons. :wavey: :wavey: :D

almouchie
05-07-2006, 01:14 AM
there is a dearth(sp) of talent in the usa
donald young is getting so much attention
thou i have heard from people there that he is not that great but rather the best out of an average us youth players

MisterQ
05-07-2006, 02:09 AM
They were a remarkable bunch!

I always felt like Todd Martin could have joined that group, if he were fortunate in one of his two Grand Slam finals. But of course, he had to face the two most talented members, Agassi and Sampras, in those matches.

the_natural
05-07-2006, 01:01 PM
Well Young joined the mens tour at 16, thats still pretty good, they are hard on him cos he hasnt won a match yet but for goodness sake, hes 16, he hasnt even fully grown into his body yet and the game is very physical today, its too tough, and theres alotta pressure.

angiel
05-08-2006, 11:24 PM
there is a dearth(sp) of talent in the usa
donald young is getting so much attention
thou i have heard from people there that he is not that great but rather the best out of an average us youth players


I am not so sure about Young at all. :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

the_natural
05-11-2006, 01:54 PM
Ive never seen him so no coment, but its true they do look better when the competition is average AHEM *cough cough* Almouchie can u think of any recent example ;) hehehe lol

angiel
05-11-2006, 08:58 PM
Ive never seen him so no coment, but its true they do look better when the competition is average AHEM *cough cough* Almouchie can u think of any recent example ;) hehehe lol


You never seen who? Donald Young? - America needs some really good players right now, the bunch that is there now can't cut it at all. :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Greg-Pete fan
05-11-2006, 09:19 PM
You never seen who? Donald Young? - America needs some really good players right now, the bunch that is there now can't cut it at all. :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

He hasn`t won a single match in the ATP tour yet...

angiel
05-13-2006, 06:26 PM
He hasn`t won a single match in the ATP tour yet...


No and that is too bad for him. :p :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

the_natural
05-15-2006, 01:09 PM
But hes 16... shouldnt we cut him some slack?? and lets not forget, The fab Four were an anomoly, 17 years old and u win the french open!? What the heck is that, Youngest Grandslam Champ in history, then the Youngest USO champ in History who went on to be the greatest ever duh, and Andre had 10 Titles as a teen, I think hes just behind Nadal and borg. Your not likely gonna get players like these guys again, Theres HUGE pressure on him, I mean the failure of roddick has already put them to look to Young to be the next great american hope, THATS HUGE when roddick is only 24, So Young hasnt had enough time outta the light to grow. Plus we dont know who the players were that he drew and the surface etc. Plus if hes grown physically enough to hold up against any of em. So many intangibles.

angiel
05-15-2006, 04:50 PM
But hes 16... shouldnt we cut him some slack?? and lets not forget, The fab Four were an anomoly, 17 years old and u win the french open!? What the heck is that, Youngest Grandslam Champ in history, then the Youngest USO champ in History who went on to be the greatest ever duh, and Andre had 10 Titles as a teen, I think hes just behind Nadal and borg. Your not likely gonna get players like these guys again, Theres HUGE pressure on him, I mean the failure of roddick has already put them to look to Young to be the next great american hope, THATS HUGE when roddick is only 24, So Young hasnt had enough time outta the light to grow. Plus we dont know who the players were that he drew and the surface etc. Plus if hes grown physically enough to hold up against any of em. So many intangibles.



Hi there natural, how are you my freind, see Nadal won again, how do you like that - I am smiling, wonder what Mr. Federer and his fans are saying now? - The french open dont look so certain now?

As for Young, I only hope you are right, but he has a very long way to go. :wavey: :wavey:

the_natural
05-16-2006, 08:20 AM
I dont know that he will become a great player, Maybe he is the next American Tim Henman. I wasnt arguing that he WILL be great because regardless of all the reasons I gave, a great, even as a kid, will come through, Hewitt beat Agassi at 16 (ok He is actually special because hes got that spirit to win like Petey, regardless of his lack of other tennis talents). But Yeh Donald should have made a dent on the Challenger circuit or something if he is to be considered even to the level of Chang, Winning a set or two at least, but i doubt hes going to be great. He will need a true work ethic to achieve that, see now it looks like im back pedaling in my comments lol. I forgot that the initial argument was "IS HE GREAT", and I was arguing to protect the fact that he hadnt won a match at all. OK heres my opinion, at that age its not so bad not winning against adults, but if hes tooted as the next great from America, I think he shoulda done something at least, but I know NOTHING about him so i cant comment. If i see him hit a ball and I see how big he is etc, I can comment lol.

ALL I KNOW IS, THE FUTURE OF MENS TENNIS IS COMING FROM AUSTRALIA!!!! Remeber Bernard Tomic, he's an anomaly he won 2 or 3 tournaments in the 18 year old division, that probably has alot to do with the lack of any truely good aussie kids, but still an achievement at 5"5 or wateva, and he loses only in extremley close matches. I think most importantly hes got a huge competitive fire, and is highly ambitious to become the best ever (good luck kid), I dont believe he will be but hes definatley the most forseeable future in mens tennis, and even tv commentators and aussie Legends are tooting him as a future great so its very likely.

almouchie
05-16-2006, 12:49 PM
HI GUYS & girls

Fab 4
the originals
just the Dream Team of 1992 USA Basketball team
all others were sub cateory DT2, DT 3, etc
I havent seen Donald Young tbh,
But I read in many articles that Young is being touted as the next american hope & maybe even more than he actually has potential.
he is 16 not yet fully grown, neither is his game, but has management & endorsement deals that he doesnt seem to have earned yet.
He still needs to learn the game, but his entourage(agents) seem desperate of giving him access to ATP (WC) tournaments when he shold be still playing challengers & futures
just an opinion I have formed from reading a lot & talking to people who has seen him play
u might recall that he was & not Ginepri supposed to play Sampras at River Oakes.

almouchie
05-16-2006, 12:52 PM
as for Bernard Tomic, I thought he was american of czech or croatian decent
he is Australian nationality u say
at 12 he has a lot to see, & so do the few around him too.
Few players show as much promise as Leo Messi of barca(argentinian Football player) at the young age of 12.
both USA & Asutralia are struggling to bring up new players

the_natural
05-18-2006, 01:49 PM
HI GUYS & girls

Fab 4
the originals
just the Dream Team of 1992 USA Basketball team
all others were sub cateory DT2, DT 3, etc
I havent seen Donald Young tbh,
But I read in many articles that Young is being touted as the next american hope & maybe even more than he actually has potential.
he is 16 not yet fully grown, neither is his game, but has management & endorsement deals that he doesnt seem to have earned yet.
He still needs to learn the game, but his entourage(agents) seem desperate of giving him access to ATP (WC) tournaments when he shold be still playing challengers & futures
just an opinion I have formed from reading a lot & talking to people who has seen him play
u might recall that he was & not Ginepri supposed to play Sampras at River Oakes.

They decided that they didnt want donald to be scared off a tennis court forever... And They wanted to protect petes reputation because no one likes a guy who would murder a child lol... And u know that he would only have won points from petes errors. I think it was a wise choice though, its a bit of an insult to have a kid play a legend in his first match, its down right embarassing and u really cant have ne fun in a match like that because u know there IS pride involved, fair enough losing to a current pro but if u lost to a kid (Even if u were muckin a round) its made into a big deal.

the_natural
05-18-2006, 01:51 PM
as for Bernard Tomic, I thought he was american of czech or croatian decent
he is Australian nationality u say
at 12 he has a lot to see, & so do the few around him too.
Few players show as much promise as Leo Messi of barca(argentinian Football player) at the young age of 12.
both USA & Asutralia are struggling to bring up new players


Hi almouchie, Actually hes an aussie Citizen of croat decent, He migrated here at age 4 or somethin (Well parents did) apparently hes a phenomenon. He has shown more promise as a kid than Hewitt, I know Hewitt dont have so much tennis talent but he had a talent for winning and was much more hungry and dangerous as a kid. Apparently this boy is WAAAYYY motivated and very talented.

angiel
05-18-2006, 05:40 PM
Hi natural & almouchie, America soon find some good players, give them some time. :worship:


But read this.......


Tennis guru says U.S. on downswing
Bollettieri claims dominant past unlikely to return

Tim Tyers
The Arizona Republic
May. 17, 2006 12:00 AM

If America's position in world-class tennis today were graded on a 100-point scale, outspoken and demanding tennis coach Nick Bollettieri says it would rank no higher than 65 or 70.

Bollettieri, 74, who's known in the sports world for developing the Microsoft of tennis academies, was in the Valley last weekend with two assistants to hold a clinic for juniors and adults at the Gold Key Racquet Club.

The players who have come through Bollettieri's Florida-based academy reads like a Who's Who of tennis - Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Brian Gottfried, Monica Seles, Anna Kournikova and Maria Sharapova, just to name a few. At its pinnacle in 1987, the academy had 32 students in the main draw at Wimbledon and 27 in the main draw at the U.S. Open.


A perusal of the world rankings shows that just four American men - Andy Roddick (No. 4), James Blake (7), Robby Ginepri (15) and Agassi (22) - rank in the top 50 in the world. On the women's side, just three rank in the top 50, including Lindsay Davenport (7), Venus Williams (12) and Laura Granville (46).

Bollettieri says there doesn't appear to be a wealth of American talent on the horizon to return to dominance on the world stage soon.

"We probably have three or four young juniors in boys, and the same for girls," Bollettieri said. "But we don't have the crop we had in the late '80s, when we had the (Michael) Changs, Samprases, Couriers and Agassis. We also had six or eight Todd Martins. We were loaded. At the time the academy was responsible for a lot of the great players we had. Today, you can't say we have that flow of players.

"Does it mean the U.S. Tennis Association isn't doing its job? Not necessarily. It is doing its job in a lot of ways. I believe today, the way to get top players is to totally fund them. . . . You have to pay a tremendous price, and it's not cheap. It's expensive. There's the travel and parents uprooting their homes. I believe a lot can be done with the collegiate market."

He would like to see the NCAA and USTA encourage America's better players to go to college, unless the player is exceptional. He would like them spend a couple years of college, then fully fund them in the summer to play in all the good tournaments, and during the year maintain their footwork. He said several good players could be produced out of the college ranks.

"I also would start a program that would take a minimum of five years," Bollettieri said. "I would go around the country and select the best young athletic people from the inter-city - the hungry kids - and have a long-range program in the 12-and-under. I'd take eight, 10 or 12 of them to build the program and then start supplementing the program."

He said the chance to get a plethora of talent, like what appeared in the late-1980s, tends to run in cycles. If a phenomenal player emerges, the ensuing excitement creates another.

"One thing that is lacking in American tennis is we have to get a lot more charisma and characters to make it more exciting, even among the coaches," he said. "It's too dogmatic. We have to become more flamboyant for television. Look at (Spain's) Rafael Nadal, the big muscles and the clothes, and now we have a rivalry with (Roger) Federer like we did with Sampras and Agassi. You need these rivalries, and this is a great rivalry."

As a man who has spent his life nurturing world-class players, what does he look for in a young athlete?

"I look for natural instincts, without the coach saying one word," Bollettieri said. "The kid gets out on the court, and you see him throw a football, kick a soccer ball, bounce a basketball and pick up a racket. No instruction, just the instincts God gave the child.

"Then you have to do research. How big are the parents? What is the (player's) athletic background? How intelligent are they? Are they an introvert or an extrovert? There are a lot of things; maybe there are 15 factors that give you even a chance."

Among the women, Amelie Mauresmo of France and Kim Clijsters of Belgium rank Nos. 1 and 2 in the world, but 10 Russians are in the top 50, led by Nadia Petrova (3), Sharapova (4) and Elena Dementieva (8).

Bollettieri believes there are a number of factors that enter into the Russian net explosion.

"They are more driven," he said. "They don't have the opportunities that our girls have here, like cheerleading, basketball, soccer, skiing, all sorts of things. Our kids have multiple options, and they also have to go to school. It would be interesting to see a study of the top 30 or 40 Russians, and just see how much education they have.

"They also come from backgrounds without a lot of money. If you give them a really hard, physical program - and they are hungry - and you can get 15 together who are pretty good and let them beat each other up, pretty soon you get some good ones. After awhile you'll get some darned good ones. Competition spurs improvement."


Subscribe to The Arizona Republic today and receive 20% off the newsstand rate plus a $20 Target ® GiftCard!

angiel
08-24-2006, 09:39 PM
Updated: Aug. 23, 2006, 5:01 PM ET
The last of the Fab Five


By Bonnie DeSimone
Special to ESPN.com


He was the oldest and the first of them to turn pro, 20 years ago, at the precocious age of 16. He's the one many tennis fans initially would have tabbed Most Likely to Spontaneously Combust.


Fooled you. Instead of going up in flames, Andre Agassi burned his athletic candle at both ends. He is the last of his fabled generation still playing, and when he shoulders his racket bag after his final match at the U.S. Open, he'll formally end an era in American men's tennis that may be impossible to replicate.



AP/Photo
(Left to right) Todd Martin, Jim Courier, Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras led the United States to its last Davis Cup title in 1995.



"It's a sad day for me to see him retire," Jim Courier said, harkening back to the competitive fraternity formed by the five premier U.S. players of his day. "It's like seeing your last friend graduate from college. It really means you're a grown-up now, and it's fully in the next generation's hands. I live a little bit vicariously through him, loudly when I'm not broadcasting and very quietly when I am."


Agassi, Todd Martin, Courier, Pete Sampras and Michael Chang were born in that order in a statistically improbable cluster between April 1970 and February 1972. They grew up in the Nevada desert, on both coasts and in the Midwest. They represented a potpourri of ethnic backgrounds, and their fathers included a former boxer, a research chemist and a civil engineer.


None of them would be confused in a police lineup. Scrappy baseliner Chang was an eternally boyish 5-foot-9, while the 6-foot-6 Martin had an elder statesman's aura long before he retired. Agassi morphed from a Rapunzel-tressed teen trendsetter in denim shorts to a streamlined fitness freak, retaining only his steady, soulful gaze. Sampras was a darkly clean-cut assassin on his serve and at the net; the ruddy, big-swinging Courier was seldom without his regular-guy ballcap.


Together, they would win 27 Grand Slam championships, 189 tournament titles in all. (A sixth American, MaliVai Washington, reached his only Grand Slam final at Wimbledon in 1996.) They led the U.S. team to Davis Cup trophies in 1990, 1992 and 1995.



Their collective record stands at 3,209-1,278 for a winning percentage of .715. All reached the ATP's top 10.


Other countries have experienced simultaneous surges and great players whose peak periods have overlapped. Australians John Newcombe, Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall combined for 14 Grand Slam titles in the post-1968 Open era, continuing the success they began in the '50s and early '60s when they played alongside countrymen Roy Emerson and Lew Hoad.


American legends Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe swashbuckled their way to 15 Slam wins from 1974-84, and their careers intersected with those of Arthur Ashe, Roscoe Tanner and Stan Smith, who won another six.


The so-called Spanish Armada that included French Open champions Sergi Bruguera and Carlos Moya drew attention chiefly for their clay-court mastery in the mid-'90s. If the fleet of Russian women who have sailed into the WTA's top 10 continues its success, history may someday view them as a conquering navy.


But the globalization of the game and the body-bashing expansion of the tournament calendar are making it increasingly hard for players from one country to hold court. The record of the Fab Five could become a fossil in relatively short order.


"I don't think it's going to happen again," Martin said. "I think we can produce five players as good as we were, but not necessarily as good relative to the global competition."


Each one would have been accomplished on his own, but their joint emergence and intertwined careers had a synergetic effect, said Martin, who often modestly excludes himself from the elite group despite his two Grand Slam finals appearances and eight career tournament wins.


"They took the challenge of wanting to be as good as someone else, and tried to apply it to their own development," he said. "It gave them a target and granted them belief in their goals, which they continued to tweak."


A graph of their achievements would show five very distinct arcs.


Chang, a U.S. junior champion, became the youngest-ever Grand Slam event winner, capturing the 1989 French Open at age 17. He played at the top level for another 14 years without winning another. Martin waited to turn pro until he was 20 and an NCAA champion out of Northwestern University.


Agassi and Courier exploded on the scene as teenaged products of Nick Bollettieri's academy in Florida. Courier then proceeded to plant the flag for his generation when he won four Slams in a two-year span from 1991-93. Edgy phenom Agassi went four years without a Slam title, sank to No. 141 in the rankings, then proceeded to win five of his eight Slams after the age of 29, starting with an emotional victory at Roland Garros in 1999.


Sampras dominated for most of his career, but spent his last two seasons facing regular calls for his retirement before winning the 2002 U.S. Open to capture his 14th and final Slam, an all-time record.


Consider the numbers the Fab Five put up during their remarkable run:
• Won at least one Grand Slam event every year from 1989 to 2003.

• Two of the five were paired in Grand Slam finals a total of 10 times, bookended by Sampras' wins over Agassi in the 1990 and 2002 U.S. Opens.

• Between 1992 and 1995, either Agassi, Courier or Sampras appeared in 15 of the 16 Grand Slam finals and won 12 of them.



http://www.sportinglife.com/pictures/general/allsportagassisamprasembrace.jpg


Robert Laberge/Getty Images
Pete Sampras, (right) was 20-14 against Andre Agassi in his career, including 4-1 in Grand Slam finals.•

One member of this same trio held the year-end No. 1 ranking every season from 1992 through 1999. They spent a career total of 445 weeks atop the standings.


Clearly, Sampras was first among equals in this group; he is the only one of the five to have winning records against the other four. His dynamic rivalry with Agassi is at the core of the group's collective charisma. Their dueling ended at 20 wins for Sampras and 14 for Agassi -- almost identical to McEnroe's 21-14 ledger against Connors -- although Sampras had a 4-1 edge in Slam finals.


Sampras was the acknowledged king of the serve-and-volley game, Agassi the universally acclaimed prince of service returns. But it was the durability of their rivalry, the dense competitive web spun by two peers who became superstars, that made it appealing to fans, not the fine points of their playing technique.


"We've grown up together," Agassi said before their final match. "I think as we've gotten older, we both have grown in our capacity to appreciate what the other one has meant to each other and to the game."


Bonnie DeSimone is a freelance writer who contributes frequently to ESPN.com and will be covering the U.S. Open for ESPN.com.

angiel
08-24-2006, 09:55 PM
U.S. Domination A Thing Of Past
American Tennis Doesn't Measure Up
August 20, 2006
By TOMMY HINE, Courant Staff Writer


NEW HAVEN - When Patrick McEnroe talks American tennis, he thinks golf.

"I read where Sergio Garcia said there are seven players in golf in their 20s who are in the top 50," McEnroe said. "None of them is American."



Then McEnroe delves deeper into American tennis, and he thinks basketball, baseball, soccer and hockey.

"If we're not dominating a sport, then [Americans think] something is drastically wrong," McEnroe said. "Think about what's going on in the whole world. American basketball is not as dominant as it once was. Neither is American hockey. And there aren't as many countries that play basketball and hockey as there are countries that play tennis. The reality is that the growth and landscape of tennis has changed considerably. It's broadened a lot more.

"The world has changed and the fact remains that tennis is, probably behind soccer, one of the two or three most popular sports internationally as far as where it's played and where players come from. The idea that we're going to dominate the sport isn't going to happen, but that doesn't mean we can't be a serious factor. Look at last year's U.S. Open where we had three men in the quarterfinals and two in the semis."

McEnroe, 40, a former professional player and now a CBS and ESPN commentator and U.S. Davis Cup captain, doesn't deny American tennis has slipped the past 10 years. American tennis has slipped a lot.

No U.S. player, male or female, reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon for the first time in 96 years. The furthest that an American player has advanced in any Grand Slam this season is the round of 16 at the Australian Open.

"It's clearly been a disappointing year, from that perspective," said McEnroe last week by phone from Cincinnati. "This is a big story this year pretty much everywhere we go."

Lindsay Davenport, No. 10, is the only American woman ranked in the top 10 in the world. Fairfield favorite son James Blake, No. 5 and the top seed at this week's Pilot Pen, is the only American man in the top 10.

"What's happened, in a nutshell," McEnroe said, "is when you compare U.S. tennis to where it was, particularly in the '90s, we're not doing well. That's obvious.

"You're comparing us to a group that included [Pete] Sampras, [Andre] Agassi, [Jim] Courier and [Michael] Chang, not to mention guys like Todd Martin and MaliVai Washington and David Wheaton who were all guys who were in and out of the top 20 and some, even higher. So, when you compare what's going on now with that, we're real thin."

Thin, perhaps, but not bleak. Blake is in the top 10, and Andy Roddick, No. 12, is only two spots away. But the '90s were special, particularly for players such as Sampras, who was so much a part of it with a record 14 major titles in his career.

"It's hard to duplicate what we had with Jim, myself, Michael and Andre," Sampras said in a July conference call. "I think it's unfair to Andy and James and the rest to compare what happened the last 10 years to where they're at, where they're going.

"I think American tennis is in pretty good shape. Unfortunately for American tennis, we have [Roger] Federer and [Rafael] Nadal who are really good, really kind of dominating the game at the moment."

And then there are America's expectations, which seemingly never go away.

"Knowing American fans and American media, we expect Wimbledon winners," Sampras said. "We expect U.S. Open winners. We expect an American No. 1 in the world. It's hard to do that. I think James and Andy have potential, but it takes a great player and someone who can handle it all. I think they have it, but it takes a lot of commitment, a lot of sacrifice."

In Sampras' time, many top players attended Nick Bollettieri's Florida tennis academy not only for the coaching but to play tennis year-round. Sampras lived in Southern California and didn't have to worry about the cold.

"With someone like Andrew and Jim, growing up in an area where there was not a lot of competition, I think Bollettieri was a great thing just to be able to play other players," Sampras said. "With me and Michael Chang, players of that type in Southern Cal, I didn't feel like I needed to go anywhere.

"If you're from Mississippi, you have nobody to practice with. It's cold in the winter."

Since 1990, American junior boys have won only four Grand Slam titles: Donald Humphries, Donald Young and Roddick twice. Meanwhile, young French junior boys have won 11 Grand Slam titles since 2000. The last American girl to win a Grand Slam junior championship was Tara Snyder at the 1995 U.S. Open.

Last month the USTA took a step to increase the pipeline of young talent. An alliance with the Evert Tennis Academy in Boca Raton, Fla., will for the first time provide year-round housing and coaching for top junior players ages 14 to 18, launching a new era in the mission to develop the next generation of American tennis champions. The Evert Academy, run by Chris and John Evert, features 23 courts and a new facility that will include a three-level building for dorm-style accommodations, a fitness center and classrooms.

Worldwide, American juniors are already showing improvement. The U.S. led all nations with 16 boys in the year-end world junior rankings in 2005, with Australia and the Czech Republic second with six each. U.S. girls finished with 11 in the top 100, second only to Russia's 13.

"On the men's side, we have a pretty talented crew of players between 13 and 18," McEnroe said. "Getting that next transition to get those guys into the pros has been a question mark.

"On the women's side, the players we have coming up is more of an issue. When we talk about domination, we had the Williams sisters. We had Lindsay Davenport. We had [Jennifer] Capriati. The Williams sisters could be still up there, if they really wanted to be or were healthy enough. Lindsay is at the tail end of her career. Jennifer may be done, although it would be nice to see her come back. On the women's side, we have more of a problem, the pipeline is not quite as strong in the women's game. A lot of that has to do with other sports that have become popular for girls. Soccer, basketball, lacrosse, softball are more popular now for young girls. It used to be just tennis. That was the sport for women."

McEnroe compares the concern for American tennis today with the same anxiety heard when he was playing competitively in the '90s, the golden era of Sampras, Agassi, Courier and Chang.

"It's kind of a little bit like what happened after my brother [John] and Jimmy Connors retired," McEnroe said. "We had some good players like Tim Mayotte and Brad Gilbert who weren't really as good as the two guys we have now [Blake and Roddick]. Everyone was bad-mouthing American tennis.

"And then along came this great four who were the greatest four players in a long time. You could go back for a long, long time in any country and not find anyone who dominated the sport like they did in the '90s. We were incredibly spoiled."

Contact Tommy Hine

at thine@courant.com

angiel
08-24-2006, 10:01 PM
Thursday August 24, 2006

Roddick: Don’t write off the Americans

WASHINGTON: Forever chasing the ghosts of Connors, McEnroe and Sampras, Andy Roddick insists American men’s tennis will eventually awaken from its slumber.

“I think people have to just understand that it does go in waves,” said Roddick, the former world No 1 who won the US Open in 2003.

“That’s just the way it is.”

An American man has not advanced past the last 16 at any Grand Slam tournament this year, a streak Roddick hopes is broken at the US Open, which begins in New York on Monday.

Roddick believes Americans were spoiled with the success in the 1980s and 1990s by Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi among others.

Eight-times Grand Slam champion Agassi will be retiring after the Open, adding to the widely held impression that American tennis is on life-support.

The 36-year-old, the second man in the professional era (Rod Laver was the first) to have won all four Grand Slam tournaments, believes it is too early to write an epitaph.

“I don’t think it’s a crisis,” he said. “I still think we have 290 million people in our country. I think if we can get the racquet in the right hands, that can change quickly.

“But there needs to be focus on it. There needs to be a plan. There needs to be good direction, coaching, facilities, all of the above, that access that allows for great athletes to have the chance to play this sport.”



Despite America’s recent lack of Grand Slam success, the US has three highly ranked players: James Blake at No 5, Roddick at 10 and Robby Ginepri at 21. – Reuters

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angiel
09-05-2006, 12:42 AM
And another thing. . .


IN the game of tennis, the great players – Laver, Newcombe, Borg, McEnroe, Lendl, Sampras, among them – they all leave lasting legacies. Now add another name – Andre Agassi, who retired yesterday, having added his own lustrous chapter to the annals of the sport. No names, no pack drill, but he's a role model. :wavey: :wavey: