A Red, White, and Blue Funk

By Richard Kent
Updated: April 30, 2009

CONNECTICUT — Andy Roddick got married in Texas last week. That is the good news. The bad news is that James Blake, Mardy Fish and Roddick were all in attendance.

That means that none of these three top Americans were in Monte Carlo playing in that major clay court event. The state of American men’s tennis right now is seemingly as bad as it ever has been.

Roddick is certainly still a top player but is no where the form that led him to a U.S. Open victory when he was 19 years old. There isn’t an American in sight who can challenge in any of the European clay court circuit events.

Little more needs to be seen than the results from a James Blake match at the Rome Masters. Blake struggled with the windy conditions in Italy but also with his opponent, Victor Crivoi, a qualifier and fell tamely 7-5, 6-3 in the first round of the Tournament.

Blake lost the opening five games against the 112th-ranked Crivoi.

With Roddick taking a break from the Tour following his wedding, Blake was the top American and the best chance for an American victory in the draw.

There has been much talk about the improvement in young Americans at tennis academies throughout the country and specifically Florida and Texas, but the results have yet to translate on the court.

Donald Young has still not lived up to his potential and few American boys have made significant noise in the Junior Majors. Ryan Harrison was felt to be an up and comer but he has yet to make a break through.

American tennis looks a little better on the women’s side with the Williams’ sisters still fixtures in the semis in virtually any tournament that they enter on any surface but behind them and with the possible exception of CoCo Vandeweghe there is little else coming up the pipeline.

Worldwide tennis is dominated by Russians and Eastern European players with a smattering of success coming out of China.

Many top American boys are skipping tennis and instead looking for careers in soccer, baseball and basketball. This is certainly not good news for American tennis in the years to come.