Poll: Who Will be the Next American to Win Their First Grand Slam?

by Tom Gainey | February 8th, 2010, 9:18 pm

Hello to everyone. I’m a new blogger here. I did post/comment on TennisX and other websites years ago but after time away I’ve returned here now in a greater capacity. ADHERER

To be upfront I am not a Federer or Nadal fan by any stretch. I prefer the American players Andy Roddick, James Blake, John Isner, Sam Q and rest of RWB (red, white & blue). But I do respect the games of Roger and Rafael.

Whom do I hate? If I’m here long enough you’ll find out.

I’ll mostly be writing quick notes, side items and gossipy tidbits circulating in and around the tennis world. I also like to ask questions, lots of questions. With that, I’ll use my very first official post to ask this poll question to you readers (thanks Luke for setting this up!):

Who will be the next American to win their first Grand Slam?

I’m not looking for Andy Roddick or Serena Williams to be clear. I’m asking who among the next generation of American players will take home a Grand Slam title.

There are many in the junior and senior ranks who could make (and have made) a profound impact on the pro game, but I’ve narrowed the list prospective Slam winners to John Isner, Sam Querrey, Donald Young, Melanie Oudin, Alexa Glatch, Madison Keys, Ryan Harrison, Alex Domijan, Lauren Davis, CoCo Vandeweghe, Christina McHale and Jack Sock.

Living in Florida and having worked in tennis as a teaching pro I’ve traveled to a few USTA tournaments and seen some of these players up close. Among the men, Isner and Querrey are already entrenched into the ranks and they have the best chance however I don’t think they will ever achieve Grand Slam singles glory. Harrison is quite a talented kid but the men’s game is going to be too deep the next five to eight years for him be a strong Slam threat.

My feeling is that if there is a new American champion it’s coming from the women and my vote is cast for Madison Keys. If you don’t know her already, Madison’s from Illinois but trains in Boca Raton, Florida. She’s just 14 and she already can hit the ball like a brick. And her serve is the best I’ve seen for a girl her age.

But we are still a very long way away and she’s only 14! I’m just hopeful someone emerges to follow Roddick and the Williams sisters.


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28 Comments for Poll: Who Will be the Next American to Win Their First Grand Slam?

Fot Says:

Welcome back. I’m an American, but even I don’t have that much interest in “American tennis”. (I’m a Federer fan). Good luck with your blog and poll and good luck to Madison Keys.

Mitch Says:

I’m not too familiar with any of the really young guns out there, especially in the women’s game, but none of the young American guys who have already gone pro will win a slam.


I have to agree with Mitch that none of the current US pros have the game to win a Slam.

A more intriguing question that “the next American” is, “what will it take for an American to be a Slam-level player?”…and the obvious one – “what happened to US dominance of the sport!?”

jane Says:

Welcome Tom – first I want to see Roddick win his second, and I would love to see Blake surprise everyone. But that is unlikely at this stage. Roddick, however, could still do it. He was in a final just last year…

contador Says:

Hi Jane! i agree whole-heartedly about my man Roddick. Oh please let it somehow be this year at wimbledon!

I’m in the USA and i dunno. where i live, as i mentioned already, it is rare to find anyone to watch a slam or get on a court to play (when the snow melts)

that said, i think other parts of my country: east coast, california, arizona, uh…home of steffi and andre, vegas? even the midwest or texas could, with a shred of hope will produce more star winners- male or female. have to admit, looking over the above list the prospects appear bleak, for now.

c’mon A-Rod! of course Serena is still at it; tho Venus appears done.

tim Says:

why not focus into trying to turn them into ALL surface players instead of the hard court specialists that they are
both Isner and Querrey have proven that they are MIA most of the year.Yes;Isner went “far” at this year’s Australian Open and yes he beat Monfils but last year he lost to Fabrice Santoro for pete’s sake in the FIRST round !
you cannot be MIA during the meatiest of year like Isner did last year and only show up for the summer hard courts

Isner is turning into a s/v player but once his serve is taken away from him;he has been proven to be just another ordinary player.

it seems that the foreign players turn out for ALL the majors while Roddick turns out for Wimbledon and the USO;Blake turns out for the USO alone and Isner and Querrey do the same
they ain’t winning a darn thing anytime soon

Blake despite hiring a new coach;is still a choker and he has proven it once again by losing to a half injured Del Potro.Can’t make that up!

guys can’t hope for a good draw and fly into Paris and London just for a day and jet back to the US and hope they get a draw at the USO

this is lazy and it shows a lack of ambition on their parts

I cannot stand Roddick and I hope that he;and the rest of the bunch NEVER wins a slam

contador Says:

hey maybe a north american men/women singles star surprise, as in a Canadian? OHHH Can-a-da…(humming anthem but those are only words i know)

ok, take heart. i think the winter olympics are gonna make as all proud. has nothing to do with tennis, but i do love the winter olympics, sorry.

Golf is barely a Sport Says:

“gossipy”, “hate”, implied jingoism – just what tennis-x needs … Give me Sean Randall & Get Dean Martin writing more often

Fot Says:

What happened to the American men? someone asked…. Federer can along, then nadal, now Del Potro, Murray, Djokovic, etc… Seriously though, American players need to learn how to play on clay. Until that happens, they are going to be missing when that season comes around. The so-called “clay experts” learned to play on hardcourts but the Americans (primarily Roddick and Blake) would just take the clay season off and pick back up when the grass season started.

I am one that likes tennis not based on “countries”. My favorite player is from Switzerland so during Davis Cup if he plays against the US, I still don’t root for the US – I root for my favorite. (I know some don’t agree, but that’s the way it is). At the Olympics, I was rooting for Federer, not for the US players. (this is just in tennis).

For the sake of American tennis fans, maybe the US will get someone good enough to compete in the slams soon. As far as Roddick – I really don’t want him to win another slam while Roger is still playing. (I’m greedy – sorry)

Ben Pronin Says:

That’s kinda funny, Fot, because Blake, an American, beat Federer at the Olympics.

jane Says:

Hi contador! I am beginning to get psyched up for the winter Olympics as it’s in my neck of the woods. Should be fun. If there were a fabulous Canadian tennis star to arise, it would be great for growing the sport here. That’d be a start anyhow. We have a few decent players and one super-star – Nestor – but we could use a high profile male singles player to have a real impact.

FoT – Just to point out, I think Querrey is actually quite good on clay; indeed, I think he can play on all surfaces. I just think he needs a better coach and/or more dedication and consistency. Isner seems more hungry.

sar Says:

Novak looking good in Rotterdam.

Andrew Miller Says:

Why no Devin Britton, 2009 NCAA champ? He plays a little like Patrick Rafter and is a lot faster than Taylor Dent.

Realistically, it’s Isner (unlikely but who knows)

If he trained correctly, it would be Donald Young.

Querrey unfortunately seems a little soft to me. He might have a career like Todd Martin and he might have a career like David Wheaton. Take your pick.

Andrew Miller Says:

And I am omitting Jesse Levine and others. Maybe they’ll surprise.

Elwin Says:

I agree the biggest problem might be the one-dimensional surface options in USA…

BigBanger Says:

What about Asia Mohamed (…not sure of the spelling). I have not seen her play, but a friend who did says the girl hits well from both sides and is very aggressive.

I concur on Devan Britton. While he does’t have the size, neither does Nicholai D.

It was good to see Melanie O do well at Fed Cup. Hopefully she can avoid a sophomore slump year.

Tom Gainey Says:

Great comments everyone!

@mitch, @remcom: I agree. The current crop of American talent that’s out on the courts right now isn’t very inspiring.

@jane: Thanks for the welcome. For this question I’m looking for new Americans, not Americans who have already won a Slam.

@tim: Very true. The U.S. has always been a hardcourt surface, even through juniors. While we held an edge for a while I think that with the slower hardcourts and the technology advances inhibiting the serve/volley and/or power game that was a common quality among top US players, the rest of the world has caught up and even passed us.

@Andrew Miller, @bigbanger: Sorry for leaving out so many players, I knew I would. Devin I should have included since he won the NCAAs and has a attacking style game. Asia, however, has a long way to go. I’ve seen her play and she’s nowhere near the talent of Oudin or Keys.

Dan Martin Says:

Golf is barely a sport,

Give me a little break here (Dan not Dean BTW). My wife is expecting our second child(!) and I have a major exam in the next month or so to prepare for, but rest assured I’ll write something soon.

chris ford Says:

I am American, but since I play tennis, I tend to root for the players I really like, regardless of nationality. (While conceeding that we could really use some great American men – good for the game! Same with more Asian players.)
That makes me a Roger Federer fan, 1st and foremost. He is a living, breathing tennis clinic. And testimony to conditioning, endurance, and true champion off-court life. I like Del Potro, Murray for his great talent, defense, and brains on court. I watch Cilic and see a future #1. I watch Richard Gasquet for his backhands. Roddick for his heart and keeping America in the top 10 for almost 10 years.
And Rafa. Who I am happy beat Roger in two Slam classics and lost to Fed in the other (2007 Wimbledon). He is the OTHER great champion of the “Fed era”…and I wish him regained health and hope he gets a well-deserved (but as unlikely as Fed winning the FO, but that happened!) career Slam at the US Open before he is done.

Polo Says:

The only American (outside of Serena) who has a fair chance of winning a grand slam is Roddick. None of the young ones has any chance.

Tosin Says:

John Isner has a huge chance with his service game. I can predict him winning a grand slam 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 5-7, 7-6….a good service and some luck can do it

Andrew Miller Says:

In my opinion: Pat McEnroe has spent too much time with Roddick and Blake and the Bryans and no time with the players that really need it. Roddick and Blake were excellent without his help.

Querrey and Isner (with the supporting staff of Mardy Fish and Taylor Dent) should carry the load. Roddick and Blake should focus on the slams. Querrey and Isner should make quarterfinals and semifinals at slams their goal and chipping in for Davis Cup. Pat McEnroe should keep inviting the young players to be practice partners. And then those players should try to compete fiercely for spots as actual team members rather than practice partners.

For the future (as in next 36 months) honestly there should be a big-time rivalry between the younger talents Devin Britton and Donald Young, with other U.S. players following suite (Jesse Levine, Chase Buchanan, Ryan Harrison, maybe Ryan Sweeting, Phillip Simmonds. Scoville Jenkins might be in some mix). There is so much talent, it’s just not breaking through in any significant way whatsoever. Those two – Young and Britton – should make finals or win regular ATP title this year (to be taken seriously, that’s what they have to do).

jane Says:

Tom – I did realize you were looking for a new winner, but I couldn’t help putting in my cheer/hope for A-Rod to get another. I see Britton is about to take the court with Haas. I like Young’s talent level too, though he is on the small side. Out of all the young US talent inching their way up, it does seem that Isner and Oudin have the most desire to break through.

Dan – second on the way! Congrats, and good luck on your exam.

Fot Says:

Ben, yes I know Blake beat Roger at the Olympics and since I do like Blake, I then started rooting for him. But when he played Roger, I was rooting for Roger.

JoshDragon Says:

I don’t think there will be a grand slam winner on the mens side for quite a long time. Unless, Roddick makes another slam final, which seems a bit unlikely at this point.

It could be another 8-12 years before someone wins a slam.

But I’d say Harrison, Isner, and Britton probably have the best chance for the mens side.

Actually, on second thought. I could see Isner, winning 1 slam but he would have to play unbelievably well and have incredible luck to do it.

Andrew Miller Says:

A name for 2015: Sachia Vickery

Steve Abrams Says:

Are my eyes decieving me or did I see that two Americans, Isner & Querry are actually playing a clay clourt tourny in Mexico in February?

Where Are All the American Tennis Champions? [Video] Says:

[…] I did a poll a few months ago you can check out or weigh in on: Who Will be the Next American to Win Their First Grand Slam?. […]

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