Roddick, Blake Only Top 50-Ranked U.S. Men
by Richard Vach | August 14th, 2007, 8:46 am

The next generation of U.S. men’s players were on display Monday at the Masters Series-Cincinnati in a week where Top 10ers Andy Roddick and James Blake became the ONLY AMERICANS RANKED IN THE TOP 50.

American qualifier and former NCAA champ Amer Delic continued his fast-start-slow-finish progress, this time against No. 11 seed Ivan Ljubicic, blitzing the Croat 6-1 in the first, narrowly losing a second-set tiebreak, then losing 6-3 in the third. Delic is reportedly in the market for a coaching addition which could make a huge difference in getting over the top in matches where he more than challenges Top 20 players.

Wildcard John Isner’s much-awaited appearance after running to the Washington final came up short (Get it, short? It’s funny because he’s tall!). The 6-foot-9 bomb-dropper served adequately but was otherwise flat, making numerous groundstroke errors and struggling to get forehands and backhands past the service box in a straight-set loss to No. 16 seed David Ferrer.

Wildcard Sam Querrey saved the U.S. contingent from going 0-4 on the day, toughing out a three-set win over France’s Marc Gicquel.

With Delic at 6-foot-5 and Querrey at 6-foot-6 joining the 6-foot-9 Isner, the American men could be in for a big future. (Get it, big? My eyes are tearing up! Did you just fall out of your chair?). Roddick is 6-foot-2, the Bryans are 6-foot-3 and 6-foot-4; the USTA needs to look into what these kids are eating and mass-duplicate the diet in their high-performance training camps. Except Andy’s late-night Taco Bell run at Indy that truly resulted in a run…out of the semifinals.

The future looks promising, but the reality is that now U.S. men’s tennis is on par with the American women, who have no one even near the top except Serena and Venus. If champions do come around in cycles as everyone loves to say, the U.S. needs to start pedaling.

Up Tuesday on the U.S. men’s watch: Mardy Fish (USA) vs Radek Stepanek (CZE), (9) James Blake (USA) vs. (Q) Alejandro Falla (COL), (3) Andy Roddick (USA) vs. Fernando Verdasco (ESP), and (WC) Robby Ginepri (USA) vs. Jonas Bjorkman (SWE).

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20 Comments for Roddick, Blake Only Top 50-Ranked U.S. Men

Dancevic FAN! Says:

Soon Canada will have Frank Dancevic in the top 50!!! WOW! 1/10 the population of the U.S., yet 50% the number of men in the top 50!!!! INCREDIBLE!!! :P

John (1) Says:

re: top 50

Two in the top fifty but five knocking at the door. 51, 58, 59, 60 and 65.

And for Isner to make it, he needs to find a return game.

re: WTA

Sharapova is more American than Russian, maybe she could be $convinced$ to switch.

re: the Williams sisters

They both have 125 mile an hour serves, maybe they could try what Anaika Sorenstam attempted a few years ago, and try the ATP. Would they be in the top 50? My guess is yes.

John (1) Says:

typo: Annika not Anaika

zeg Says:

American tennis is a joke. It is not just about the top players vs. the population ratio (e. g. Serbia, Belgium,France etc.) It is also about facilities and opportunities in the US to become a tennis player compared to other countries. Tennis courts are everywhere, unemployed and available tennis “pro”s are proliferating, and everyone and their brother is opening an “academy” (p-mac, John Roddick, etc.) As a result of all these efforts, tennis is the 17th most popular sport in America. I hate to quote Tursunov, but he’s right: Americans should not expect better results since they watch poker and domino on ESPN in place of a live tennis match.
As for Blake and Roddick, they are both well past their prime, the former soon to be out of top ten. And when the Williams sisters are gone-sooner than many expect-who will be left, Bethany Mattek?

jane Says:

poker and dominoes…haha. we have this little problem of hockey and nascar in canada on tsn – right dance-fan?

maybe frank will change it for us. here’s hopin.

i’d still like to see roddick do something with his game; sure he’ll never be no1 again, but can he win another slam? not likely but it’d be nice to see if jimmy could get him there. he needs a return game and he’s learning from one of the best. but only time will tell – and he doesn’t have a lot of it.. maybe sam is their next best bet.

d Says:

The crisis in American tennis was mentioned in England on Sky today and Mark Petchey expressed the wish that we had the same problems!!

Tim’s got to be close to retirement and apart from the permanently injured Murray I don’t think we’ve got anyone else even in the top 100.

We’ve got Brad Gilbert and Paul Annacone though!! For a while Peter Lundgren as well but our tennis association appears to have driven him to drink.

zeg Says:


My condolences to the Brits.
Roehampton looks good, but Lundgren seems on his way out, and paying megabucks to Gilbert yielded little so far.
Perhaps they should have tried harder to recruit Djokovic when they had a chance!

Tom Says:

American tennis is certainly on the decline. I often wonder if John Mac. was right when he said that American players are certainly not hungry enough. We seem to live in a culture of instant celebrity where people no longer want to work for anything. Look at what they did to “Tennis Week” magazine. It went from a respected tennis journal to a magazine filled with gossip and fashion. I have a junior player at home and the USTA sends home a magazine called “Smash” that has one or two good pointers but is mostly filled with pictures of players at nightclubs and models wearing clothes that no player would wear on the court. American tennis has followed the way of the internet – it’s just an advertising platform.

As for John Isner, the final against Roddick and the first round match last night against Ferrer really exposed the weaknesses of his game. He has no ground strokes. I was cringing every time he got into a rally with Ferrer as I knew Isner would make an error. My wife jokingly speculated that the NCAA courts must be wider and longer and have lower nets. His volleys are too casual as well. He needs to put them away. He had Roddick out of position many times but his volleys were so casual that Andy was able to scramble and return them. Isner should stay in challengers and work on his game. Sam Querrey is much more polished and seems to have much more of a “game.” Right now, Isner is just a younger version of Dr. Ivo.

Dancevic FAN! Says:

Yah Jane, tennis in Canada will always be an unpopular sport IMO, relatively speaking.

Tennis in the U.S., comes in waves. I think they’re so used to having strength in the mens field because they were spoiled in the past…I’m sure there will be more waves again!

Ricky Dimon Says:

i’m counting down the top 25 U.S. Open contenders (one each day leading up to the Open) at my site.

I’m at #13 today and have yet to do an American. Disheartening to say the least. And Blake and Roddick, unfortunately, could be coming up sooner rather than later.

d Says:


Definitely missed a trick with Djokovic, especially if the little brothers really are as good if not better than Nole.

zeg Says:


Yep. Coulda had a ready-made Davis Cup team.

pauly Says:

American pro tennis is in a dismal state. In part, due to some very good players in other countries (Spain, Serbia, Switzerland to name a few). Americans for the most part have had it pretty easy and their work ethic is not quite up to par with some of the other top players. The American men can’t play on clay because they can’t stay in a rally. Just too many errors and not enough expierence on the surface. Sure there’s alot of power in their games, but not much else. After Roddick and Blake there just isn’t anyone else. Fish? give me a break. Ginepri, Spadea, they’ll fade like Gambill did, never making much of a dent.
Big Sam Querry may have a chance but big John Isner has nothing but a serve. It’s difficult to pin all your hopes on playing tiebreakers because you don’t have the game to break your opponent’s serve.

FloridaMan Says:

I agree about Isner. His groundstrokes really need a lot of work. I do think Querrey is upcoming for sure. He did well against Monaco today at Cincy. He’s got a real chance to get up to the upper echelons in this sport. But Isner really has a long way to go.

AgreeAboutDancevic Says:

Yes, I think Dancevic has a very good shot at moving much higher up. He is just very very talented, and knows how to orchestrate a point to a winning finish. I hope he really works hard not only on his game, but also on his fitness. I think that’s an area that is suspect right now. But best wishes Frank, you can really get to the upper ranks.

FloridaMan Says:

As for Roddick: I think that outside of his serve, he doesn’t even have a Top 10 game by today’s standards. Not his groundstrokes, and definitely not his volleys. Sure, he has an awesome serve, but players today are much better at returning serve than 20 years ago. And it’s not even that their returns are more spectacular than ever; they’re better at returning the big serves just to get the ball in play. For this reason, I think Roddick will never, ever win another Grand Slam tournament. And while his 2003 U.S. Open triumph was a great achievement, a heck of a lot of people forget how extremely lucky he was to even get to the final. Remember that he was down match point to Nalbandian in the semis, and Nalbandian was playing super tennis. I can’t remember too many other matches where a player was this lucky to escape, given the quality of his opponent. For that reason, it is appropriate that Roddick will be a one-slam wonder, given that he’s done more with less than almost any number one ranked player ever.

jane Says:


Roddick’s game has rounded-out somewhat with Jimmy’s help: he’s improved his backhand tremendously and he tries to get to net, sometimes even with some pretty good success. (Against Gasquet at Wimbie until he choked, and against Baggy in Canada he produced some awesome net play, including a fantastic dive).

But Roddick needs a return game, AND he needs to convert break chances when he has them, like today against Ferrer. If he could do that then maybe he’d have a shot a winning some more tourneys, and MAYBE – and granted that’s a huge MAYBE – a GS, but I doubt it.

“A” for effort Andy; “B” for the rest.

FloridaMan Says:

“Somewhat” is the key word in Roddick’s improvement. I didn’t say he hasn’t improved. But clearly he has a long way to go to gain the top peoples’ fear. He has their respect of course. But not too much their fear. His serve is feared, but again, people can return big serves into play a lot better than before. Sure his groundstrokes are a little better than before, but nowhere near a lot of folks in the top 10. Yes, he’ll win some more tourneys, but probably not a GS, or any tournament where the top 5 players are all in the quarterfinals.

jane Says:

Well…at least Blake came through to the semis – hope he trumps Davydenko.

hmmm... Says:

you guys are just talking and talking…you should get into a court and play, then you will know how it feels…

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