Player Tennis Grand Slam
From 1992 through 2001, Americans won 22 of the 40 men’s singles Grand Slam championships. Since 2002, Americans have won only 3 of the 53 men’s singles Grand Slams. So, what happened over the last 14 years? A lot.
Yes, American tennis is still thriving on the women’s circuit, with Serena Williams currently being ranked No. 1 and winning 19 singles Grand Slams. In doubles, we’ve held the No. 1 ranking for a record 412 weeks. However, America has not had a men’s singles Grand Slam champion since 2003.
The truth is, the success of American men’s singles players in the 1990s spoiled many fans. We grew up watching Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras and Jim Courier compete for Grand Slam titles every single year. As kids, we were obsessed with Agassi. He was the reason we fell in love with tennis. When he competed internationally in Grand Slams like the Australian Open, we’d wake up early to watch his matches. When he would compete in tournaments that were fairly close by — Indian Wells or the Great Western Forum — we’d make the pilgrimage from our home in Camarillo, California to see our idol.
Yes, in the doubles world, we have won 106 tournaments to-date as the World’s No. 1 doubles tennis team. We also have 16 Grand Slam titles to our names, and a gold medal from the 2012 Olympics. Since the age of 6, we’ve dedicated our lives to the sport and have been blessed to reap numerous benefits. Despite our success, we’re not oblivious to the fact that singles players — especially men’s players — dominate tennis headlines. An American household name on the singles circuit would do wonders for the sport’s popularity here in the U.S.
We wanted to be like Andre. You need that kind of champion to inspire more American kids to go out and pick up a racquet.
Players from other nations have progressed greatly since the days when Agassi and Sampras battled one another in finals. The household names in men’s tennis today are limited to the following Grand Slam winners: Swiss Roger Federer (17 Slams), Spaniard Rafael Nadal (14), Serbian Novak Djokovic (8) and Scot Andy Murray (2). The dominance of those 4 men is quite unprecedented. Since 2004 they’ve won all but 5 of the 45 Grand Slam tournaments.
So, why can’t the U.S. rise to the top of men’s singles tennis like they have in the past? Each of the previously mentioned countries has a limited selection of popular sports. For the most part, it’s either soccer or tennis that interests kids. In the U.S., from snowboarding and lacrosse to basketball and hockey, there are a dozen sports for up-and-coming young athletes to choose from. We’re losing a lot of our best athletes to other sports.