According to atptour.com, American Ryan Sweeting became the first American man to win an ATP Tour 250 title since Mardy Fish in 2006 on Sunday by beating Japanese #1 Kei Nishikori 6-4, 7-6(3) in the finals of the U.S. Clay Courts in Houston, Texas. It was the 23 year-old’s first tour level final and he made the most of it, fighting hard to stave off 3 set points in the second set before winning in a tie-break.
American tennis has taken a hit recently with Roddick falling out of the top ten. Many in this country wonder where the next American man or woman will come from. Ryan Sweeting, Sam Querrey, and John Isner all rank in the top 100, while Ryan Harrison, who many believe to be the most promising in terms of potential, sits and #128 with a 2011 record of 3-6.
On the women’s side of the professional tour, the Williams are M.I.A. and after them, the highest ranked American is Bethanie Mattek-Sands at #41. Mattek-Sands is an interesting player with giant-killing will-power and effort, but is a veteran who will likely not break into the top ten in her career. Venus is plagued by injuries and an interest in interior design seems to be her current focus. Serena is about to fall out of the top ten, leaving no American woman in that hallowed realm. (By the way, if you go to Serena’s website home-page, you wouldn’t even know Serena was a tennis player!). After that, there are five more U.S. women in the top 100: Melanie Oudin (#81), Christina McHale (#82), Varvara Lepchenko (#84), Coco Vandeweghe (#91), and Vania King (#99), but none above #81. Hopefully, one or all of these women can have a wonderful 2011 and break into the top 50.
Perhaps, American tennis in five to ten years will see the benefits of our Quickstart format and the future will be better than the present for our pro tennis players!