The US has for some time now been in the very unusual position on the ATP side of the tour, for the first time since rankings began America has since John Isner’s fall from the top 10 possess a player within this group. As dire as this sounds in truth considering the strong line up America has in the WTA, Serena Williams yet to ease up on her unstoppable run (destroying Sharapova last week in Miami) and also the rising star Sloane Stephens who shocked everyone with her run to the Semis at Melbourne this year, tennis fans in the US have nothing to fear. Davies Cup this weekend will give Isner and Sam Querry a chance to reclaim some success it does seem that the incredible showings that the US has demonstrated in the big world tournaments previously have fallen into disarray in the past year or so.
While some may consider Andy Roddick’s departure from the tour last year could be a contributing factor in truth in Roddick’s own words any future victories would be very much limited, his best days now past him. The real concern is the weak performance of Isner who has failed to find any form as of late since the latter end of last year causing his rank to fall from as high as a brief spell as the world number 9 to its now low state of 23. With Isner unable to find the form the only player to bring any glory to the US can only hope to come under the wings of Querry. For much of his mature career Querry has maintained a relatively consistent level within the rankings, posting a healthy number of titles, however having never contended for a place in the top 10 we must be wary. At this point of his career Querry’s hopes of finding a new breakthrough to enable him to start competing for Masters and Majors seems unlikely.
Mardy Fish who has at various points been the American number 1 consistently staying within the top 10 has unfortunately struggled with injury as of late causing his rankings to fall through lack of play. Although a fight back could be on the cards, Tommy Haas has shown it is more than possible, this will be difficult and instead Fish may choose to end his career now especially if injury persists. What he decides will be entirely his decision however it seems with this fall of rankings it will be a long time before we can expect him to find the same form he has shown in the past. James Blake is still fighting in the tour, making odd appearances here or there, at this stage of his career however his future success will no doubt be limited.
In terms of future potential it is always difficult to judge the upcoming players as many hot prospects opt to take time out to go to college before starting their professional career. Hence it is only at this point can we truly know if they have the fortitude to make it on the main tour and subsequently if they will be able to make waves among the pack. Ryan Harrison has gained some success lately and could make some sort of breakthrough, but at age 22 how far he can really go is questionable when we consider how young the players who now dominate the tour were when they made these great strides. With any luck a player will emerge soon, either out of the juniors or graduating out of college however at this moment in time we can only speculate as to when and who this will be.
For the time being it would sadly seem that America will have to pin their hopes on the Woman’s tennis for now (and why wouldn’t they with the Williams sisters in their camp) but in terms of the Men’s side such hopes should be cautionary. Isner has a good few years left of his career and could easily return to his past form, Querry may surprise and come out with some incredible results and it would be massively unfair to count Fish out of the running yet. Here America’s lack of success may be less long term then it first appears as any of these three players could step up and produce the results we know they can. Additionally there is always the chance a youth will step up and amaze us all, as Stephens accomplished at the beginning of the year, so we should never discount this as a possibility. Nonetheless while any one of these prospects may transpire nothing is certain and we will have to wait and see. For the more impatient failing this it may be worth giving Canada’s Milos Raonic a look in the meantime as he is shaping up this year, vying for the top 10 with greater results seemingly on the horizon. In the end we cannot know what American players will achieve in the next few years yet a good starting place would be this weekend at the Davies Cup where they have a chance to rein victory over Serbia headed by the mighty Novak Djokovic.