US Open 2013: American men eclipsed at home as normal service falters with Tim Smyczek exit

No home grown male in the last-16

It is a sorry state of affairs when the greatest country in tennis history needs a wild card ranked No 109 in the world to salvage national pride – and in the end Tim Smyczek was not up to it. The 25-year-old from Milwaukee needed to beat Marcel Granollers in the third round here for the United States to avoid the ignominy of not having a man in the last 16 at the US Open for the first time in the tournament’s 132-year-history. Smyczek lost 6-4, 4-6, 0-6, 6-3, 7-5.

His defeat completed a dreadful year for the men’s game here. Not one American reached the fourth round of any Grand Slam tournament, while the men’s top 20 last month did not  feature a single American for the first time since the world rankings were launched 40 years ago.

While many traditional tennis countries have struggled to keep up with the rest of the world following the emergence of so many players from developing nations, the plight of the US is particularly shocking. No other country has produced as many Grand Slam champions, but it is now 10 years since an American man, Andy Roddick, last won a Grand Slam singles title. It is by far the longest drought in the country’s history and there is little sign of it ending.

From the days of Bill Tilden and Bill Johnston after the First World War, through the era of John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors to the time of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, American men have dominated the game. Today, however, there are only six Americans in the world’s top 100 (compared with 14 from Spain and 13 from France), with only two, 20-year-old Jack Sock and 21-year-old Ryan Harrison, having the potential ever to challenge for major honours.

While tennis has been identified as the fastest-growing traditional sport here and the likes of Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys are bringing hope for the women’s game, that the sport is played regularly by only five million people, in a country with a population of more than 310 million, is a concern, particularly among the juniors

Patrick McEnroe, the general manager of player development at the United States Tennis Association and a commentator on ESPN, says there are younger players coming through but admits: “Obviously, overall we need better athletes and more kids in the pipeline. We need to get the rackets into the hands of more kids and more athletic kids just as a general statement. We’re working hard to do that, and we’re partnering with local programmes around the country. We’ve got some work to do.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
This weekend's 'Big Hero 6' by Disney Animation Studios
arts + ents
News
i100
News
Budapest, 1989. Sleepware and panties.
newsDavid Hlynsky's images of Soviet Union shop windows shine a light on our consumerist culture
Arts and Entertainment
Eleanor Catton has hit back after being accused of 'treachery' for criticising the government.
books
News
In humans, the ability to regulate the expression of genes through thoughts alone could open up an entirely new avenue for medicine.
science
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee