- I'm someone who has tried to keep close tabs on tennis, much more than other reputable sport blogs amalgamate time towards this underrated sport. My tennis fandom began with watching a teenaged Andy Roddick bring a flare to the sport that the game of Tennis had been missing since the hay day of John McEnroe. The controversial personality that Roddick brought to the sport differed from the other top stars at the time because during the early 2000's era it was a sport predominantly controlled by, for a lack of a better term, bland stars such as David Nalbandian, Juan Carlos Ferrero, and Pete Sampras. All three players mentioned were exquisitely good players but brought nothing to the live or television audience. Roddick's hard serving, swagger filled game was a much needed breath of fresh air as it captivated fans such as myself into the game and re-arranged the game as marketable. Because on a personal basis I gravitate towards the confident, border line cocky athletes it was a no brainer that I developed a quick infatuation towards a man who succeeded admirably on and off the court, just google Andy Roddick's wife and you'll understand where I'm coming from. The problem I foresee now, and the ultimate reason for penning this article is the lack of a future American star beyond the Williams' sisters, and the desperate need for one to come out of the woodwork from a marketability and a game growth perspective. Can the likes of Madison Keys, Sloane Stephens and Jack Sock carry the torch? I will contemplate below
In Canada, we have Milos Raonic and Genie Bouchard, who by the way just to gander off topic for a second I really felt was on the verge of doing something special at this years U.S Open until a freak head injury sustained in the training room dampened her open run, Why on god's earth were their not any security or training staff on the grounds, I don't care how late it was the bottom line is if you have players on your vicinities, equip the proper staff. Okay, after that minor rant like I was mentioning our great country has Milos and Genie to look out for, and I'd be remiss if I didn't include Vasek Pospisil on that list but what does the American Tennis federation have to look forward to? Is the next Lebron James or Mia Hamm of tennis waiting in the wings? On the women's side I subscribe to much more optimism because I look at the players getting some exposure at the recent Grand Slams and I believe that a tangible breakthrough is imminent for Sloane Stephens particularly. I know her 2015, just like Genie Bouchard has been less than stellar but I when analyzing her game, and coming from an astute tennis player myself I feel I have the back-up to properly critique the game and that's the uncanny resemblance to the game of Serena Williams. Her above average physical strength and her ground stokes can compete with the great ground strokers(if that's such a phrase) such as Petra Kvitova and Victoria Azarenka. I suffice that Stephens is currently marred with a confidence issue and once she receives just one more break through result, the win's will fester and a grand slam is in the rear view mirror. On the men's side, it's very, very bleak with all the top athletes our neighbouring country produce seem to resort to basketball, football, or the ever growing soccer. Jack Sock is the best of a sorry bunch that I'm regretfully forced to surmise that men's tennis may never reach the McEnroe/Conners, Agassi/Sampras, and Roddick/Fish plight. Aside from the point I just made about a lot of the athletes resorting to other sports, the more prevalent issue I see happening is the way these tennis players are being brought up. I'm not sure if it's clouded vision or just painfully clinging on to the way to which Andy Roddick had and Serena Williams currently has had success with. The way Serena dominates with pure power is a dying breed as to reach that top pinnacle a finesse game is sorely needed. If the power game was the be all end all, players such as Ivo Karlovic and John Isner would've dominated for years now with the gargantuan serves but because they lack the all around game, I feel I'm not going bold at all by saying that a major isn't in the cards for those two. The top player in the men's game is Serbian Novak Djokovic and the amazing quality about the man they call the "Djoker" is that he's not a physically intimidating individual, but ball placement and speed creates such a significant advantage that he can off-set a perceived lack of power. This problem falls solely on the development model from the U.S.T.A. At their respective tennis academies, they look at recruitment for serving bombers, not teachable athletes. The fact that I can't remember the last male American tennis player to come out as one of their hyped prize possessions that wasn't just known for a ridiculous serve was probably Jim Courier. If they spent more times on the fundamentals and less time on the alterior parts of the game, the state of American tennis will improve, but until then it will continue to be massed in a state of flux.