American Tennis: The Glorious Past and the Tragic Present



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 American Tennis: The Glorious Past and the Tragic Present

No US player has made it to the quarter-finals in four years, or semi-finals in the past nine years, at the Majors. As the two last men standing -- John Isner and Donald Young -- gave up to Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka respectively in the fourth round yesterday, the great Grand Slam drought that haunts the Americans has further extended to another year.

Flashback 90s It was the golden era of the American tennis, the apogee, as the country churned out greats like Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. A winner of 14 Majors, Sampras dominated the scene from 1993 - 2000, winning at least one Grand Slam between those period; his main rival, Agassi, has 8 Majors to his name, not to mention completing the Golden Slam.

Apart from these two, there was Jim Courier, who dominated the early 90s, i.e. 1991-1993, winning four Majors ( Consecutive Australian Open and French Open titles), and had been a No:1 player during that time. Another name worth mentioning is Michael Chang, the youngest French Open winner at the age of 17 in 1989.

Although Chang failed to add another Slam, he had an illustrious career, having won 34 ATP titles including 9 Masters. Period before and after the 90s Before the Sampras era, the Americans took pride in Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe, the two hotheads who have won 15 Grand Slams between them (Connors 8; McEnroe 7). Afterwards, it was a smooth transition, an evolution into the aforementioned glorious 90s.

After Sampras had won his last Grand Slam at the US Open in 2002, those golden years have came to a halt. When Andy Roddick won the US Open a year later, it felt like a segue, as the 21-year-old looked confident and ready to take the baton from his great predecessors.

What next happened was the rise of Roger Federer, who simply happened to be a class above the rest. Roddick had to suffer three painful losses to Federer at the Wimbledon finals -- 2004, 2005 and 2009, the last of which was the most painful loss, with the deciding set going to 16-14.