The US Open and What it Means for Us Americans

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With the US Open beginning this week, I felt that now would be an appropriate time to discuss , well, the US Open.

Let’s take a quick look at history. The US Open was first held in 1881 under the moniker U.S. National Championship. Tennis back then was a sport for, mainly, the elite, and the US National Championship reflected that. The tournie was open only to those who were members of the US Lawn Tennis Association, making it a very much American tournament.

Thankfully for tennis, the US Open became much more “open.” Women were allowed to play (albeit in a separate category from men), people of other nationalities were allowed to compete, etc. More or less, by the year 1978, the US Open was very similar to what it is today.

We’ve had a proud history at the US Open. Since that first tournament in 1881, many an American has made a name for himself on these home courts. Proud American men and women such as Sampras, Agassi, the Williams sisters, Davenport, just to name a few, won on our hallowed soil. As Americans we are proud to have won eight of the past twenty men’s championships and six of the past twenty women’s.

However, it’s been many a year since an American man last won, seven years. In these seven years, many an American has wondered… what happened? Is there a drought of talent? Are Americans becoming too greased up on french fries to play?

The answer, my friends, is NO. The most obvious counter is that Serena Williams won the title just two years ago. While we may be packing on more pounds than ever, we have veterans of the tour that remain a deadly threat to any title contender. Roddick, like he has for years, remains a deadly threat. With a booming serve and crushing power, he remains a man to wary of. What about Mardy Fish? Coming in with a rank of 21, Mardy Fish has been on tour for ten years! Now considered to be one of the older men on tour, Mardy has completely revamped both himself and his game. He’s lost some 30 plus pounds (proving that once we put our minds to it, weight loss is very possible) and is prepared to go the extra sets. On the women’s side, we have the Williams sisters. How could we forget the women ranked 1 and 4 on the WTA tour? How could we possibly ignore women that have won a combined 80 (EIGHTY! Count them!) singles titles (granted, Serena’s not playing this one, but still) ?

Our veterans aren’t the only ones being a threat. On the men’s side, Isner follows in Roddick’s footsteps. At six foot nine and capable of outserving most any man, Isner too remains a threat. It’ll take a long while for him to fade from our conscience, especially after that arduous match against Mahut. Sam Querrey is also a man that definitely deserves to be mentioned. This 22 year old 22nd ranked player in the world currently holds the record for most consecutive aces (10). A strong contender on tour.

America also has a host of up and coming juniors ready to take over for when our veterans retire (or even before). Take a look at Jack Sock. He’s a senior, in high school, from Kansas, that’s playing in his first ever US Open. He’s 17 years old for crying out loud! He has a lot of potential, especially given his young age. Also, consider Ryan Harrison. The guy’s 18, 220 in the world (in singles), and recently took down the 15th ranked Ljubicic! Did I mention he’s 18?!

Despite the financial crisis, more Americans than ever are picking up a tennis racquet for the first time. We’ve got 30+ million people in the states playing and enjoying tennis. While most of us will never step out into the lights on Arthur Ashe, we will continue to love the sport and watch it grow. Maybe, just maybe, one of us will win the US Open again.

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One Response to “The US Open and What it Means for Us Americans”

  1. paul Says:

    Great article.

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