How many players on tour can boast that they have beaten a number 1 player twice in their career? How many players can say they have beaten the number 1 player in the world two years in a row at the most prestigious tournament in tennis? After beating Andy Murray this morning 3-6, 6-4, 6-7, 6-1, 6-1, Sam Querrey can say he has.
Querrey has long been an American journeyman with an All-American serve and solid career on tour but no real moments of note in Grand Slams. For Querrey, who has reached back-to-back quarterfinals here at Wimbledon, this not only puts himself back the map but American men’s tennis as a whole. He is the first American, unbelievably, since Andy Roddick at the 2009 US Open, to reach a semi-final at a Grand Slam. Querrey, who had only been past the 3rd round of a Grand Slam one time since 2010, has evolved from simply a big server with glaring holes in his game and questionable fitness to a man that has won three straight 5-set matches on tennis’ grandest stage. The video below shows how not only Querrey’s shot making has improved over the years but maybe most importantly his mobility.
In this most recent victory over Murray, one of the best ever returners of serve, Querrey unleashed 27 aces and won 84% of his first serves. While Andy Murray was visibly laboring with a lingering hip injury during the 4th and 5th set Querrey stayed on course. Many times players get psyched out when their opponent isn’t 100%, but Querrey went about his business and reeled off 9 straight games spanning the 4th and 5th set, something that is probably never been done to Andy Murray at Wimbledon.
After 42 Grand Slam appearances Querrey has finally made a Grand Slam semi-final, which amazingly is the longest wait for any player in the Open era. That kind of perseverense and incremental imporvement is something that tennis players of any skill level should take inspiration from. Sam Querrey isn’t the future of American tennis by any means, but if he can put together two more complete matches he may just be the a Grand Slam champion that American fans can rally behind at the present.