Andy Roddick quit professional tennis two seasons back, but, his stardom in the United States is still the game. He went to Villanova the other day for a short visit and it was amazing to see people incredibly excited about his arrival there.
There is a reason behind the immense popularity of a retired chap like Roddick in America. The country has, all of a sudden, stopped producing top class players, in the male category. There are no new superstars whom people can embrace.
It’s the same land where people like Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras had come from, but, today, if you count the number of American male players who are placed in top 100 in the world rankings, you would be very disappointed with the result. It’s only 6 American guys who have a world ranking of less than 100 at the moment.
That’s pretty shameful for USA considering the rich history that they have had in the game. There was a period when at least one of the slams was almost guaranteed to be won by an American player, but, not any more.
More than a decade has passed now since a male player from USA had lifted the slam trophy last. It was Roddick himself who had done that in 2003. He had achieved glory at Flushing Meadows.
But, that was the start of a slam drought for America which is still going on and it doesn’t seem that somebody is going to end it in near future.
When Roddick was asked why the American players in the recent past haven’t managed to be as successful as they were in the last decade, he said, “There is huge pressure on the young players here and that affects them adversely. You’ve got to give the kids time to find their feet.”
“The same thing had happened with me when I had come first up, but, as I got experienced, I started ignoring criticism and I think the players of this generation need to do the same.”