- January 22, 2015 at 1:51 pm #2901
On the male side, when can we expect/hope for a resurgence of top tier US players that we used to see with Sampras, Agassi 2.0, et al.? I miss those days and I can’t help but think ATP ratings would be higher stateside if we had some more American success? Isner seems to be our best hope at the moment, but anyone else with potential?January 25, 2015 at 11:10 am #2902
Thanks for the post and for joining TennisCompanion!
As far as timing go I think it’s super challenging to pinpoint right now. As a country I think we have some major obstacles to overcome before we find ourselves back where we were in the 1990s.
There are some solid articles on the topic out there that I’ve pulled together, which I think you might enjoy:
- Can US Men’s Tennis Rise Again? NY Times
- Why Have the American Men’s Tennis Stars Disappeared?
- US Tennis Seems Unable to Man Up
Here are a few of my personal thoughts on the issue:
- We Need Great Leadership: I’ll reserve judgement for where we stand today, but as a general concept I believe the USTA needs to take a hard look at how we’re bringing up and investing in American talent. Top tier leaders breed top tier talent and I believe we need the same from the organization who today has the responsibility for making that happen.
- Bigger Investment: Today there is a massive gap in the pay between professional sports – check out this graph by the WSJ. Not that this is a surprise to anyone and clearly this is highly influenced by demand, but today if you’re talented kid in multiple sports the likelihood that you choose tennis as a career path is slim to none. It would appear that changing this could certainly help influence decision making for America’s talented athletes, but the ATP also needs to continue to evaluate the pay gap within the sport itself.
- Grassroots Push: As tennis fans, players, instructors, coaches, etc… I believe it’s our role as much as any other to support the sport that we all love so much. From attending tournaments, watching tournaments on TV, pushing for wider and increased public access to tennis courts, encouraging our kids to get involved in the sport, etc… we hold quite a bit of power to drive the demand which ultimately can help influence investment.
You could probably write a book (or two) on the topic and I’m far from an expert, but I think as a community conversations like these are important to have so thanks again for your post :)
All the best,
JonJanuary 25, 2015 at 1:50 pm #2904
Jon – thanks for the article links. I’m definitely going to check those out! I agree with your points above re: USTA leadership. Like American soccer, we need a body that can help drive participation and talent development and take advantage of our population and the talented athletes we have in this country!
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