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Hurrah! A Yank in a Slam Semifinal!

July 13th, 2017 · No Comments · Baseball, Tennis

OK, maybe it has been about homerism.

I have a fairly strong recollection of a time when I was more interested in men’s tennis than I am now. A decade-plus ago.

Which would coincide with what turned out to be the end of American significance among the world’s elite male tennis players.

U.S. men’s tennis fell to such a lowly state, for the first time in the history of the game, that the march of Sam Querrey to the semifinals of Wimbledon this week … is the first time a Yank has been in the last four of a slam event since Andy Roddick at Wimbledon 2009.

That 2009 push by Roddick also represents the last time an American man reached the final of a major. (He lost the final to Roger Federer.)

The most recent example of a Yank actually winning one of the big four tournaments was Roddick in 2003 at the U.S. Open. (Like yesterday!)

The following year marked the last time an American was ranked No. 1 in the world. (Roddick, again.) Concluding U.S. hegemony on the men’s side of the game and decades of Yanks being ranked No. 1, from Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe to Jim Courier and Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi.

So, is Sam Querrey the next American No. 1?

Almost certainly not. The big (6-foot-6) California is ranked No. 24 in the world, and to get to No. 1 from there would require a stretch of excellence Querrey has never sustained.

And, at age 29, Querrey is unlikely to make some dramatic improvements in his game. Like several of the best U.S. players over an ineffectual decade (think: John Isner), Querrey has a big serve and powerful forehand, but not much else. Plus, evidence seems to suggest Querrey is a bit too happy-go-lucky to do much more than he has the past 10 days.

(What happened to U.S. men’s tennis? It seems pretty clear it failed to attract top athletes, as it had before, and also seems to lack hyper-competitive guys with a killer instinct.

(Also, after Querrey beat Murray, an English journalist suggested that “the influence of baseball” explains the recent American player — big-hitting, athletically challenged.)

For now, he has London 2017.

The Californian beat No. 12 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the round of 32 and world No. 1 Andy Murray (who may have given in to a wonky hip) in the quarterfinals (3-6, 6-4, 6-7, 6-1, 6-1) and here he is in the semis, where he faces Croatia’s Marin Cilic, the No. 7 seed.

This interests me to the point that I may watch Querrey’s match.

If a “semi-every-nine-years” is the new normal for American male players, I probably should not miss it.



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