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“Back in the Seventies, America had a lot of the best coaches in the world, whether it was Harry Hopman the great Australian who had set up shop in Florida or Nick Bollettieri who was revolutionising training by having an academy,” Courier tells The Times. “A lot of the international players would come to America to get the best information and maybe that wasn’t as prevalent in smaller countries in Europe.

“That has changed now. There has been a democratisation of the information for training globally. Multiple training academies have been set up in Europe, like the Sanchez-Casal in Barcelona where Andy Murray went. When you factor that with how much more popular tennis tends to be in countries outside the United States compared to other sports, if you get good athletes gravitating towards tennis with proper coaching and competition then that is a good petri dish to grow tennis players.
“The US continues to have good players. But we, like most nations, have just been stymied by the greatness during the present men’s generation.”


To me, it looks like you almost have to have a big serve to have any chance of progressing in tennis in the USA. A big server will probably have no problem going through the ranks until they hit the top. You also see it with some of the big guys in the NBA who all of a sudden can no longer rely on their size to dominate. Are US tennis players so reliant on their serve due to a poorer standard of coaching?
 

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Bolletieri isn't a great coach, he doesn't know anything about tennis at all. He obviously is an astute businessman. I personally question the value of these academies, as numerous players have made it to the top without attending them. Their success is more due to the fact that top players are willing to attend them, which they then promote, rather than them doing anything to create these players. They don't tend to promote the 99.9% of people that attend and don't become top players!

It's kind of amusing to me that Nadal has an academy, when he himself did nothing particularly special during his development and upbringing, and certainly didn't attend an academy. For me, sending your kid to one of these academies is just a vanity project for wealthy parents. Just so that they can casually tell the neighbours in passing: "oh, by the way, Jemima isn't here at the moment because she's enrolled in the Rafael Nadal academy. She's a highly promising tennis player, you know".

In answer to your question, it's quite obvious that US tennis has declined massively. John McEnroe has already explained one of the very straightforward reasons for this; the best athletes play other sports. I would also suggest that the cultural significance of golf in the US has a big impact on tennis. Certainly in Europe they are both viewed as middle-class sports, and if you're going to pick one or the other, and you're American, you've got a better chance of making it in golf, there's more money on offer, and you know that there are countless examples of top US golfers. Plus, your career is much longer.
 

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Well, Courier speaks like some kind of Oracle.
It's not exactly breaking news, US men's tennis has been in decline for 20 years...
 

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Maybe the coaching/training (from juniors all the way to the top) just isn't up to par. Hard to believe US would not have any special raw talents now and then. I remember US hockey was for long no match to Canada (and the few other top teams like Russia and Sweden e.g.), but they revamped their programs and IIRC went around the world to study best practices.

“I really think the whole world is thinking about development now and putting more emphasis on it,” said DeGregorio, who was recently inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame. “They see us having success with this program, especially at the U18 World Championship and world juniors, and you see other countries ramp up their programs, and I think it’s great for hockey.”
Twenty years ago, U.S.A. Hockey struggled to put together competitive teams, but it has since won two Olympic silver medals, three golds and three bronze medals at the world junior championship and three bronze medals at the men’s world championship. The under-18 squad has won nine golds, three silvers and a bronze.
Now the biggest problem for U.S.A. Hockey is deciding which players to cut and finding room for a bigger trophy case.
Jackson, now the coach at Notre Dame, said: “They’ve accelerated their development to the point where kids are getting drafted in the first round right out of the program and playing in the N.H.L. within a year or two, and they’re winning more medals across all levels than they ever have before. Anything but gold is a disappointment now.”

Then you also have the women's side in tennis. They seem to be still producing top talents. Last 4 US Open's, 4 USA players in the finals, and if you count players who trained in the US, 7 (Osaka 2x and Azarenka). Australian Open, last two winners Kenin and Osaka. French Open, Sloane Stephens in the final in 2018. Wimbledon less successful for the newer generation, but Williams sisters still either with a W or in the F last 5 years.
 

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It's certainly a balance between coaching and athleticism. None of the top US athletes play tennis and the coaching has been on a decline as well. I could only imagine what it would look like if someone like Russell Westbrook (Michael Vick and Kyler Murray could be good examples as well) grew up learning tennis from a great coach. Instead of going the route of basketball (American football for the other two).
 

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Certainly a long time since we had a couple of great American players in the top tier of the game. Roddick, Fish, Blake was the last of them following the departure of the Sampras, Agassi, Courier, Chang generation.

Isner and to a lesser extent Sock (well for an extremely short time), Querrey are the best they've had since. The next generation of players has not performed as well as their European counterparts for sure.
 

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Of course. American tennis has been for many years...in a really bad status. I mean their top prospect right now might be taylor fritz
 
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it's an interesting theory and mostly correct, I think.

The fact of the matter is that basketball and football are way more popular than they were in the 70s/80s. Back then, the sports were more on equal ground (baseball, basketball, football, boxing, horse racing, Olympic sports, tennis). Through the 90s/00s the major sports (football, baseball, basketball) really sucked up all the oxygen, particularly with the rise of ESPN and other centralized hubs of sports media. Also in the early-to-mid 00s NASCAR, which was a regional sport in the 80s, morphed into a huge national phenomenon and became sort of the 4th major sport.

Why does this matter? Well, everyone little boy growing up in that era wanted to be a football or basketball star. I don't think I paid attention to tennis at all until I was a freshman in college. So the elite athletes just didn't gravitate to tennis. Possibly why you see this trend more in the men's game than in the women's game.

I think with the proliferation of media and different ways to watch sports, things are shifting back the last 3-4 years. NASCAR fell off the map in the mid 2010s and football/basketball/baseball ratings have been declining slowly and steadily. This will allow for the rise of a more diverse sporting landscape (including e-sports) that kids are exposed to. how that impacts the generation of mens players who are 8-12 now remains to be seen.
 

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Its simple.

Tennis is not a lucrative endeavor. It's expensive, you won't get a scholarship , even if you are good , you still probably won't make a living.

Basketball, baseball, football, hockey, any other sport you will be making a probable 6 figures a year. Even if you sit a on a bench and don't play you will make better money than playing tennis.
 

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There is definitely a huge difference in regards to US women’s and men’s tennis these days. I think women’s tennis still attracts the great athletes because it’s one of the few truly lucrative professional sports for women. Men, on the other hand, have many more options. I mean, look at the amount of money the top American Football players make and the small number of games they play per year. It’s insane.

That being said, the US really should have better men’s tennis players. It’s a huge country with lots of great facilities and multiple areas where you can play outdoors year-round. I agree with posters above that the academies are overrated; most of the top players who attended them were already developed before the academies. The USTA built that fancy tennis centre down in Orlando but they really need to focus on attracting players into the sport. Developing a passion for tennis. I think it would be beneficial for the sport to have a top American male player again.
 

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The conclusion that people have that USA does not produce better tennis players because they lose the best atlhletes to other sports is laughable. They have many junior athletes, great facilities, easy to promote talent, academies, scholarships, coaches and genes from all over the world to have every kind of body type. Also saying that Bolletieri knows nothing about tennis is as ridiculous as believing than an athlete like Westbrook would succeed in tennis just because he is a great athlete. And it is not like tennis is the number one sport in Europe for kids to play, far from it.

Red clay and focus on technique early rather than results are mandatory in the development of young talent the way tennis is played nowadays and USA should finally adjust and start producing technically good players from both wings. Sock with a decent backhand for example would do great.
 

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Of course it's true, the decline
you have to ask right now looking at Canada and the US for men's tennis, we have so few players and they are so much better, on average, than the way way larger field of American players, on the whole
Start of US open there were 24 US men, 1 left by round of 16
Start of US open, 4 Canadian men, 3 left by round of 16 and the one was knocked out, Raonic, was knocked out by another Canuck!

I find most US players lack movement the way the Europeans have it, and Denis and Felix and now even Posp has it. Someone mentioned once how Europeans grow up playing soccer, so they have great footwork. I thought this wa sinteresting and probably relevant, though not the whole story.
 

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Maybe the coaching/training (from juniors all the way to the top) just isn't up to par. Hard to believe US would not have any special raw talents now and then. I remember US hockey was for long no match to Canada (and the few other top teams like Russia and Sweden e.g.), but they revamped their programs and IIRC went around the world to study best practices.






Then you also have the women's side in tennis. They seem to be still producing top talents. Last 4 US Open's, 4 USA players in the finals, and if you count players who trained in the US, 7 (Osaka 2x and Azarenka). Australian Open, last two winners Kenin and Osaka. French Open, Sloane Stephens in the final in 2018. Wimbledon less successful for the newer generation, but Williams sisters still either with a W or in the F last 5 years.
Yep it's all about the money. US women haven't seen a decline. And now they got Coco Gauff coming, so they don't have a decline nor will they have one. Why? Women tennis is by far the highest paid women sports. So US women tennis get all the top talent. If the WNBA paid like the NBA someone like Coco Gauff would of never looked at tennis, but the WNBA doesn't. The WNBA best players make a similar salary to the avergae 9 to 5er.

If i'm a US male kid and I have great athletic talent there is no way I'm going to look at tennis when NBA and NFL players are making 40 million a year. And most parents and handlers know this so they push them to the NBA & NFL. What's the average tennis salary like for say someone ranked like number 10 in the entire world? A couple a million? It just doesn't make sense for top US men talent to pursue a career in tennis.

But if someone like Kyler Murray would of choose tennis as opposed to the NFL we wouldn't be having this discussion. Most US men tennis players are similar to US boxers, they are athletes that wasn't good enough to make it to the NBA or NFL.
 

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Yep it's all about the money. US women haven't seen a decline. And now they got Coco Gauff coming, so they don't have a decline nor will they have one. Why? Women tennis is by far the highest paid women sports. So US women tennis get all the top talent. If the WNBA paid like the NBA someone like Coco Gauff would of never looked at tennis, but the WNBA doesn't. The WNBA best players make a similar salary to the avergae 9 to 5er.

If i'm a US male kid and I have great athletic talent there is no way I'm going to look at tennis when NBA and NFL players are making 40 million a year. And most parents and handlers know this so they push them to the NBA & NFL. What's the average tennis salary like for say someone ranked like number 10 in the entire world? A couple a million? It just doesn't make sense for top US men talent to pursue a career in tennis.

But if someone like Kyler Murray would of choose tennis as opposed to the NFL we wouldn't be having this discussion. Most US men tennis players are similar to US boxers, they are athletes that wasn't good enough to make it to the NBA or NFL.
Yeah, saw someone else also comment about this. Some truth for sure. Particularly sports like baseball and american football which have few international players or competitive leagues outside the US. I.e. they particularly impact US talent as opposed to international players. Basketball has become more and more international, but that may still also erode US talent comparatively more. I suppose a sport like basketball is also cheap to practice as a youngster. Still puzzling though that you wouldn't have individuals with such natural talents and gravitation towards tennis as a youngin that they wouldn't get the backing of their parents and other interested parties (coaches etc.) *. I'm hesitant to put it all down to other sports being more lucrative, but comparing WTA and ATP, the money in tennis for (US) women compared to some other sports does make sense. Still, if you also check the bit about US hockey rising in the ranks, the right methods and programs might also have some kind of an impact.

* reminded me of this video of young Novak

 

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Well, Courier speaks like some kind of Oracle.
It's not exactly breaking news, US men's tennis has been in decline for 20 years...
So this. Courier stating the obvious.

In retrospect, I do think it's good for Andy Roddick, because he got a lot of bad rep from US media as well for not being competitive enough. What were the people bashing his career thinking? Isner, Sock, Querrey and others saving US men's tennis? Please!
 

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So this. Courier stating the obvious.

In retrospect, I do think it's good for Andy Roddick, because he got a lot of bad rep from US media as well for not being competitive enough. What were the people bashing his career thinking? Isner, Sock, Querrey and others saving US men's tennis? Please!
Good point. Pundits were complaining about Roddick's "poor" career... Little they knew how long they'd have to wait for another American slam finalist let alone champ. It's been 17/11 years already and counting.
 

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So this. Courier stating the obvious.

In retrospect, I do think it's good for Andy Roddick, because he got a lot of bad rep from US media as well for not being competitive enough. What were the people bashing his career thinking? Isner, Sock, Querrey and others saving US men's tennis? Please!
Roddick was a damn good player. Look at the list of players with 10 GS SFs. Thiem's the only one with a chance in generation Useless and he still only has 6 at the age of 27.
 

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To say the best athletes now play other sports is BS. Tennis has always gotten the leftovers. McEnroe, Agassi, Sampras, Connors, Courier liked tennis the best and dedicated to it. It's not an automatic given they would have succeeded in any other sports.

The American players today lack proper coaching, proper attitudes, work ethics, concentration. None of the young Americans have that drive to be the best. They were all kids who liked to be part of the clique, social life was important, Paul Opelka and Fritz are all super close friends. Sampras Agassi Courier and Chang were far from close friends, they were all lone wolves.
 

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He’s right. The pro salaries in US team sports (baseball basketball football) are astronomical and the main reason why US males choose them ahead of tennis.

For US females, tennis is still the best path to making lot of $$$ as an athlete so you will still see America turn out female players
 
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