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The Future of U.S. Tennis is in Good Hands

Brandon Horne

Taylor Fritz defeats Francis Tiafoe in all-American Toyko Open Final.


If you were to venture a guess at the last time a male U.S. tennis player won a grand slam, how many years ago would you expect? 5 years? 10 years? The actual answer is nearly 20 years when Andy Roddick won the U.S. Open back in 2003. Ever since then, the U.S. has seen many promising runs at Grand Slams, all of which ended in defeat. In 2005, Andre Agassi appeared in his last Grand Slam final, losing to the great Roger Federer. Since 2009, America has failed to reach another Grand Slam final.


Despite a recent history of failure, the future of U.S. tennis is currently in great hands. Nine U.S. players are currently ranked in the top 50, with two ranked in the top 20. Youngsters such as Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe lead the movement, both recently beating Rafael Nadal. Fritz and Tiafoe both find themselves in the next generation of top players, competing alongside the likes of players such as Jannick Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz. In addition to winning Indian Wells in 2022, Fritz also won the Japan Open in Tokyo and the Eastbourne International in England. In 2022, Tiafoe was a U.S.. Open semifinalist and a runner-up at the Portugal Open. Both players surround themselves with great fundamentals and playing tactics, skills that will aid them in future tournaments. Fritz carries a serve that tops out at nearly 150 mph, while Tiafoe can hit serves upwards of 140 mph. Both Americans have massive forehands, witty footwork, and most importantly, excellent mental strength while under pressure. Just recently, at the Laver Cup, Tiafoe showed off his grit and determination by winning from a set down against the world number 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas. Tiafoe’s impressive performance handed Team World their first win in the history of the event.


There are many other U.S. players on the rise as well, such as Brandon Nakashima, Maxime Cressy, Reilly Opelka, Tommy Paul, and Sebastian Korda, all of whom are young and in the top 50. This year, Nakashima won two titles, one of which was the Next Gen ATP Finals, a tournament that would move Nakashima up 20 spots in the ATP rankings. Nakashima also has multiple major weapons, including a razor-sharp return of serve, powerful groundstrokes, and excellent footwork. His momentum comes at a time when legends of the game such as Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic begin to fall behind.


Maxime Cressey, another one of America’s young stars, plays with a unique style. Once a facet of top tennis, the serve and volley have been rendered ineffective recently due in part to the newer courts which supposedly produce a truer bounce. Cressy is one of the few top players who continue to employ the style, and he is quite effective with it, as his serves and his volleys are among the best in the game.


Standing at 6 ft 11 inches tall, Riley Opelka is the tallest active player in tennis history, possessing a powerful serve and powerful groundstrokes. He won two tournaments in 2022, and is currently poised to make a large leap in the rankings in the coming year. Tommy Paul and Sebastian Korda are two names you might want to remember. Paul earned a victory over Nadal at the Paris Masters and had much to show for himself. Korda trained at the well-renowned IMG Academy and was the runner-up at the Next Gen Finals just a year ago. With all this in mind, it is safe to say that the future of U.S. tennis is in good hands.


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