It has been 17 years since American male tennis player, Andy Roddick, held the number one spot. Between November 2003 and February 2004, he earned the accolade of topping the world rankings, and in the time since, America has offered no other formidable male tennis players of his stature. Given the amount of money invested into tennis by the United States Tennis Association (USTA), it is really disappointing that nobody has been able to rise to the top of the sport in the men’s game.
It’s also interesting to note that during that same period, American female players Lindsay Davenport and Serena Williams have held the number one position in the women’s game for large periods of time, particularly the latter who achieved the record-breaking feat of 319 weeks at number one during her career.
The highest-rated American in the men’s game at the moment is Reilly Opelka who placed 20th in the latest ATP rankings. He is known for having reached his first ATP 1000 final this year, losing to Daniil Medvedev in the Canadian Open.
Opelka should be one of the tennis betting tips for the Australian Open in 2022 and, given the surprising underdog performances from other debuting tennis players such as Emma Radacanu, there’s no telling what could happen when the tournament gets underway. Of course, the bookmakers already have Novak Djokovic pegged as the odds-on favorite, priced at +140 in the outright betting markets, as he has dominated the courts in Melbourne on many an occasion. However, it’s worth noting that the American is strong on hard courts and may be set for a breakthrough performance in a Grand Slam next season.
Golden Generation Have Dominated Men’s Game
The USA is not the only nation that has not been represented at the top of the rankings over the last 17 years. This is likely because players such as Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and to some extent Andy Murray, have dominated the game.
This has been arguably the greatest period in the sport’s history as those four players have consistently produced incredible standards. Djokovic, Nadal, and Federer currently sit on 20 Grand Slams each, the most won by any player in the men’s game.
That being said, Nadal, Federer, and Murray all struggle for fitness now, whilst Djokovic remains at the top of his game and should go on to seal the record outright in 2022. The Serbian is at the top of the ATP rankings and won three of the four Grand Slam titles in 2021, falling just short of the Calendar Grand Slam in the US Open where he was beaten in the final by Medvedev.
Future Looks Bright In US Tennis
Opelka is not the only American player who has shown a lot of potential in the sport over the last few years. Taylor Fritz, Sebastian Korda, and Frances Tiafoe are heading in the right direction and are players to look out for next season.
Fritz won Eastbourne International in 2019, with his most recent appearance being in a final in the Mexican Open in 2020 where he lost to Nadal. Incredibly, he pushed the eventual winner, Djokovic, to five sets in the third round of the Australian Open in 2021, so if he can replicate or improve on that performance, he may be the most likely American to break into the top 10 soon.
Hopefully, it won’t be long before the next Andre Agassi and Roddick has success in the men’s game. US tennis fans have waited long enough for a new hero.