As far as professional men’s tennis goes, the United States has been in a dry spell for far too long. What happened to the dominant days of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi? The last year an American player won a Grand Slam was 12 years ago! Andre Agassi took the Australian Open that year, and Andy Roddick snagged his one and only Grand Slam title at the US Open. We had our hopes up when Roddick played the match of his life against Roger Federer at Wimbledon in 2009, but he ultimately lost it in a devastating 16-14 fifth set. Since then, a few Americans have broken into the top ten, the likes of Marty Fish and John Isner, but none of them have stayed long. While the United States lacks presence at the top of the ATP rankings, it is dominating in the junior and ITF circuit. Here are just a few of those rising American tennis stars whom we are placing our hope in for the future of American professional tennis.
Tommy Paul won the 2015 Junior French Open, beating out his fellow countryman Taylor Fritz. This was the first time in French Open history for two Americans to be in the boy’s final. Currently ranked 445 in ATP, Paul has played multiple ITF tournaments, and has already won two earlier this year.
Taylor Fritz is the #1 junior player in the world. He just fell short of winning the Junior French Open this year, losing to Tommy Paul in the final. Fritz also showed a solid performance at the Junior Wimbledon, reaching the semifinals before falling to the winner and fellow American Reilly Opelka. He joined the Mylan World TeamTennis team the San Diego Aviators this summer and is gaining a lot of professional experience and matchplay.
Reilly Opelka claimed the Junior Wimbledon title just a week ago. Standing at 6’10”, the junior world #4 has a big serve and the game to back it up. Turning down multiple Division I offers this spring, Opelka decided to take the plunge and turn pro. So far, this decision has not disappointed and he looks to have the potential to be an American star.