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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
As a tennis history buff, I remember the days of American legends dominating- Connors, McEnroe, Sampras, Agassi, Courier, Chang, etc. Hell, even guys like Todd Martin and Aaron Krickstein were legit threats to go deep at slams. More recently, only Andy Roddick has been considered a threat, and he remains the last US singles male grand slam champion (US Open 2003).
Of the current crop of youngsters, Tiafoe looks the most promising, but you could harm usps trackingdly say he is a likely slam winner (in the same way you could talk about Tsitsipas, Zverev or even Shapo). Below Tiafoe, I don’t think anyone is seriously considering Fritz, M showbox cDonald, Opelka etc as legit slam contenders of the future. Beyond that.... it looks miserable. All the top US juniors are going to college, which suggests that they aren’t on a trajectory to become top 10 or a regular slam threat. speed test
It’s depressing that Jisner at nearly age 34 is likely to be the biggest slam threat for the next 2 years or so.
What is the reason for this? Yes, European training methods are superior, but why have Canada produced 3 potential grand slam champions in recent years(Raonic, Shapo and FAA) while the US has produced jack all?
Just curious on people’s thoughts.
 

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Sorry but how is Shapo a potential slam winner?

He has shown precisely nothing at slam level

I think Tiafoe is a good talent- he has everything to do well in 5 set tennis. But the question is- when these guys make a QF or get 1 good result, and get a lot of attention and endorsements, do they still want it?

Australia would be in the same position if it wasn't for the incredibly talented Kyrgios. Even he probably won't win a slam.

Big reason is the type of courts they play on today. Not the fast courts that suit the power based games that American players usually play. (Most big American sports are power sports, so that is what they're influenced by).
 

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They still produce value on the women side, see Gauff... It's a lot to do with the pool of talent and the outdated system on the men side. It's just that the general interest in tennis has decreased over the years, and coaching methods have not kept up with the sport. The heavy weight of history is also casting a long shadow on youngsters creating additional pressure. It's much easier if you come from a place with less tradition. Same story with Kyrgios and company, Australia's tennis history is huge, and everyone expects so much out of newer generations.
 

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Yes, the men's athletic talent pool is only so big, even in a country as populated as the USA. Most of the best Athletes are playing salaried team sports, like the NFL - American Football, Major League Baseball, NBA - Basketball, NHL Ice Hockey, so it leaves the leftovers to tennis, where earnings are not guaranteed. The gulf has become wider over the years.

For women, on the other hand, the WTA is widely considered the most successful and popular of any organization in women's professional sports. So it will be no surprise to continue seeing girls/women from the USA top the tennis world.

Respectfully,
masterclass
 
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Not sure why people are hyping Tiafoe.
 
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Agassi is one of my favourite players, but you will not find me complaining about Americans struggling at tennis these days. US crowds annoy me with their abuse of players. It's only a matter until one decent male player comes along. This is not football, where you need at least 6 or 7 world-class players to go deep at the world-cup. All you need is one, and when that guy comes, the other will also improve their games. Now, is that person going to be here in a year or 2? Who knows, but I suspect there will be a male American major winner within 5 years.
 

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Fritz is a better player, and currently ranked at 38. Opelka is at 52, Paul at 70 and Tiafoe at 83. Tiafoe is now 22. Fritz's career high is at 25.

Tiafoe could fall out of the top 100 after Miami and would have to play qualifiers to earn his place into the slams.
 

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The recent success of Tennis in Canada has been due to 1- a revival of interest in tennis due to large recent immigration from countries where tennis is popular. All of the current top players are either children of immigrants, or were immigrants themself and came to Canada at an early age. 2- A decent national tennis program that identifies young prospects and gives them training and resources. Even players who don't go through the national training program in Montreal get help from Tennis Canada. 3- Just plain luck. 4- Because of that success tennis clubs are now reporting a big increase in young people playing tennis, success breeds success.
 

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I suspect there will be a male American major winner within 5 years.
Aside from Isner, there's not a seeded American.

After the retirement of Roddick, America lost institutional knowledge, ie, for the first time they had no Americans who were active slame winners. That hadn't happened since prior to the Open era.
 

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Actually, there's always been an American slam winner. Olmedo played until 1977, and Trabert played until 1963. So Trabert -> Olmedo -> Connors.
 

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A couple of weeks ago, I have met a couple of German students who are college students that came to US on a sports scholarship and who play NCAA tennis for their college. They told me that their college men's tennis team of 9 individuals comprises of 5 players are from Germany, 2 from Spain, 1 from Argentina, and 1 from Japan. Likewise, their college's women's tennis team comprises of 4 players from Russia, 2 from Germany, 1 from Romania, 1 from Poland, and 1 locally from USA.

That sums it up the direction the sport of tennis is heading in USA.
 

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Watch out for Brandon Nakashima, he's only 18 and he kicked Fritz's ass. He could make his first ATP quarter final if he beats Norrie tonight. He had a good chance. I think his ceiling is potentially very high.

Tommy Paul and Opelka are rising too.. remember a lot of players seem to peak in their late 20s these days.
 

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Watch out for Brandon Nakashima, he's only 18 and he kicked Fritz's ass. He could make his first ATP quarter final if he beats Norrie tonight. He had a good chance. I think his ceiling is potentially very high.
Nakashima beat a hungover Vesely.

I think he has a decent game but is he really better than someone like Moutet?
 

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I suspect it's largely to do with the fact that basketball, baseball and American football are largely seen as the A-class sports, with soccer, tennis, golf, swimming etc seen as B-class.

Take the women's game; obviously everyone knows who Serena and Venus Williams are, but what percentage of the American population would even be aware of Sloane Stephens or Sofia Kenin, even with their Grand Slam wins?
 

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People come up with all kinds of reasons for the decline of US tennis, but given the available resources and everything else, they always fail to even begin to explain why the country has been underperforming at this sport to such a degree. Tennis isn't a big sport in the US all right, but where else is it? I can only think of France. Why hasn't France produced a slam winner in a god-knows-how-long time anyway for that matter? That's an even more interesting topic, actually.

The resources available for tennis in the US is, after all is said and done, still actually MASSIVE by any other country's standards. The US has the NFL, NBA, MLB etc. for sure, but you can't pretend that losing a lot of athletic talents to other sports is somehow uniquely American. You can't even imagine how many athletes are completely wasted in football/soccer worldwide, for one; They could have so much success in sports that would suit them far better.
 

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I suspect it's largely to do with the fact that basketball, baseball and American football are largely seen as the A-class sports, with soccer, tennis, golf, swimming etc seen as B-class.
Some sports are really big in the US, but not as important elsewhere, yes.

However, the same has been true for a long time, certainly at the time when Connors, McEnroe, Sampras, Agassi, Courier, Chang, and Roddick won slams. And with the possible exception of Chang, all of the above players reached the number one spot for some period.

To get some perspective, I think we should look at some statistics of US players, in particular, how many players are ranked in the different intervals:

Ranking 1-100: 8 US players
Ranking 101-200: 8 US players
Ranking 201-300: 11 US players
Ranking 301-400: 9 US players
Ranking 401-500: 7 US players

All in all, the US players seem to constitute around 8-9 % of the total population of players, both at the ATP level (roughly 0-80), the challenger level (let's say 80-250) and the future level. This seems like a reasonable number for a large country (a population of almost 330 million) with a fair bit of tennis tradition.

To see if this has changed the last couple of decades, I went back to the beginning of 1999, when Sampras was number one. ATP has all sorts of data (including rankings for all weeks), and checking out the ranking for 1999-01-18 gave the following result:

Ranking 1-100: 8 US players
Ranking 101-200: 9 US players
Ranking 201-300: 9 US players
Ranking 301-400: 5 US players
Ranking 401-500: 7 US players

Roughly, the fraction of players from US proved to be the same at all levels, and it is clear there has been no decrease in US players the last 20 years. Basically the difference is that the two US top spots 1999 were Sampras (number 1 ranking) and Agassi (number 6 ranking), whereas today, the two top spots are Isner (number 19) and Fritz (number 38). However, if we randomly pick 8 or 9 numbers in the interval 1-100, on statistical grounds, there is nothing strange if the two lowest numbers happen to be 19 and 38. Thus a very reasonable explanation for the lack of US top players is that it is a fluke. Maybe we have reason to expect a little bit better than a number 19 spot, but there is certainly nothing mysterious about the lack of top 10 players, given the overall number of US players.

As suggested from the above, I actually do think the lack of male US top players is just a random thing, but, of course, there could be other explanations. Maybe the ability of USTA to nurture talent on the men's side has declined over time, or maybe the US-based Academy of Nick Bollettieri was cutting edge some decades ago, but not anymore.
 

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Some sports are really big in the US, but not as important elsewhere, yes.

However, the same has been true for a long time, certainly at the time when Connors, McEnroe, Sampras, Agassi, Courier, Chang, and Roddick won slams. And with the possible exception of Chang, all of the above players reached the number one spot for some period.

To get some perspective, I think we should look at some statistics of US players, in particular, how many players are ranked in the different intervals:

Ranking 0-100: 8 US players
Ranking 101-200: 8 US players
Ranking 201-300: 11 US players
Ranking 301-400: 9 US players
Ranking 401-500: 7 US players

All in all, the US players seem to constitute around 8-9 % of the total population of players, both at the ATP level (roughly 0-80), the challenger level (let's say 80-250) and the future level. This seems like a reasonable number for a large country (a population of almost 330 million) with a fair bit of tennis tradition.

To see if this has changed the last couple of decades, I went back to the beginning of 1999, when Sampras was number one. ATP has all sorts of data (including rankings for all weeks), and checking out the ranking for 1999-01-18 gave the following result:

Ranking 0-100: 8 US players
Ranking 101-200: 9 US players
Ranking 201-300: 9 US players
Ranking 301-400: 5 US players
Ranking 401-500: 7 US players

Roughly, the fraction of players from US proved to be the same at all levels, and it is clear there has been no decrease in US players the last 20 years. Basically the difference is that the two US top spots 1999 were Sampras (number 1 ranking) and Agassi (number 6 ranking), whereas today, the two top spots are Isner (number 19) and Fritz (number 38). However, if we randomly pick 8 or 9 numbers in the interval 1-100, on statistical grounds, it is nothing strange if the two lowest numbers happen to be 19 and 38. Thus a very reasonable explanation for the lack of US top players is that it is a fluke. Maybe we have reason to expect a little bit better than a number 19 spot, but there is certainly nothing mysterious about the lack of top 10 players, given the overall number of US players.

As suggested from the above, I actually do think the lack of male US top players is just a random thing, but, of course, there could be other explanations. Maybe the ability of USTA to nurture talent on the men's side has declined over time, or maybe the US-based Academy of Nick Bollettieri was cutting edge some decades ago, but not anymore.
Interesting analysis there. Indeed, the success of American male tennis players during the 90s should be seen as a golden era rather than the norm. Also, the increased success of American women's players, both in terms of grand slam winners and absolute numbers in the top 50/100/200 etc while the men have remained rather static, would also point at the men's relative mediocrity being more random than anything else.
 
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