The big news in American Tennis is that Andy Roddick will retire after this year’s U.S. Open. Roddick, who captured the U.S. Open in 2003, is the last American to win a major championship, and the last American to be ranked number one on the ATP computer. But the truly interesting question is this: who’ll be the next American man to reach that level?
The short answer? No one who’s playing in the main draw at this year’s U.S. Open.
The reality is that tennis champions tend to develop as teenagers, with prodigiously mature games from the moment they start playing in the pros. In his first U.S. Open match in 2000, Roddick, then still an 18-year-old junior, hit a 139 mph serve, which would stand up as the fastest delivery in the men’s draw that year. Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and Rafael Nadal boasted similarly advanced games at a similarly tender ages.