The Stars of the US

This is the start of a fortnightly post about the top ten ATP players in certain countries, this week’s is the USA. Although, the recent retirement of Andy Roddick his American tennis hard, they still have nine players in the ATP top 100 and their tenth is 101st! However, I must say that the US still have Venus and Serena Williams, probably the best womens doubles players in the world, and not to mention the Brian Bros. on the mens doubles side of things!

10. Let’s start with the ATP 101st ranked player then, Michael Russell, aged 34, just a few months older than Federer, last year he was the oldest player to finish in the ATP top 100 for the third year running, can he make the position back with the end of the season next month? His career best was world No.60, and in total his tennis career has earnt him $1,832,538. This year, he was able to reach the semi-final of the clay Houston Masters 250, but at that stage lost to Monaco, but he’d already beaten America’s No.4 Mardy Fish. However, Fish had a heart operation a few months later so he clearly wasn’t playing at his best. He also reached the 2nd round in Wimbledon, but faced the tough opposition of Julien Benneteau. If he doesn’t get into the top 100 by the end of the year, I can’t see him wanting to continue for an longer.

9. In at 9 and 94th, having recently gained 3 places, is Rajeev Ram. The 28 year old from Dnver plays right-handed and at 6’4″ he’s a man-mountain. Although, he’s playing from the age of four, he only been a pro for 8 years, but in that time he’s managed to rack up $1,529,857 from singles and doubles. However, this year he has only qualified for his home Grand Slam and then he was knocked out in the first round, meaning he is more famous for his doubles performances having won one title this year, reaching the quater-final of the Australian Open and the 2nd round of the US Open, he is ranked at 33rd in the world. Last year he qualified for all four Grand Slams, and was able to reach the QFs of Roland Garros. Recently, he, with his partner R. Junaid, he lost in the first round of the Kremlin Cup.

8. 8th and 84th, James Blake is ten places ahead of his fellow countryman, having also recently gained 3 places. However, in a career as rich as his, it really doesn’t matter, at the peak of his career, in 2006, he was actually the world No.4! However, in 2010 he was only able to compete in 32 matches, meaning his rank dropped to 135th. Nevertheless, even thhough he only played 34 matches last year, he won more, and they were further into bigger tournements: This is how he did: R2 of Indian Wells, R3 of Miami, R3 of Cincinnati, these, all his home events were the only ATP Tour events he competed in. he also qualified for Wimbledon and reached R2 of the US Open. This year, so far he’s in 84th, he qualified for Miami, Roland Garros and Wimbledon, and got to the 3rd round of the US Open and R2 of Cincinnati. This demonstrates again how he performs better at home events.

7. 25 year old Jesse Levine, he is originally from Ottawa, Canada. Currently, he is the 69th best player in the world, and at the peak of his career. Also, for a player who has only been professional for five years, on the ATP Tour and Grand Slams, he has won almost a third (24/73). However, on the Challenger Tour, he’s won over 1 1/6 of the mathes he’s played! As a junior in 2005 his best was world No.14, but he won the junior title at Wimbledon! As a pro, he’s won two and lost two of the matches he has played on grass. In his frist Grand Slam, at the US Open, he lost in the first round to Davydenko.

6. This is Ryan Harrison’s fifth year since turning professional in 2007 and he is currently USA’s sixth highest ranked. The 20-year old is yet to win a singles title but has, however, won two doubles titles, with his last one coming earlier this year in Atlanta. The Texan tennis star is ranked 62nd in the ATP tour rankings but reached a career high of 43 earlier this year. Harrison has won $1,020,554 in career prize money (singles and doubles combined) and will be hoping to push on next year and cement a space in the ATP’s top 50.

5. Bryan Baker is ranked as the USA’s fifth best tennis player and has now been professional for nine years. The 27-year old finally reached his first singles career final in Nice earlier this year, rising 75 places up the rankings in the process. Injuries have effected Bryan’s tennis career, he’s undergone surgery on his right elbow, left hip, right hip, sports hernia and left thigh at points in his career. The US Tennis Association awarded him their wildcard for this year’s Roland Garros, but he lost in the second round to twelfth Simon. At Wimbledon this year, he stormed into the fourth round but fell to Kohlschrieber. Baker’s career prize money (singles and doubles) totals at $552,058.

4. Although now retired, until the end of the season Andy Roddick will still be in the ATP rankings. Just after the US Open, we wrote this about him:
As soon as Roddick dropped his coach Jimmy Connors in 2008, and swapped to more ‘casual’ coaching from his brother with the soul purpose to spend more time with his family, and also that his last and first Grand Slam title was in 2003 at the US Open, and also from the fact that his prize money has been consistently falling since 2009 – his last final – we knew his career would not match that of Roger Federer who he lost to 21 times including four finals and only beat three times! However, despite his lack of Grand Slams, he was still one of the most inspirational people and has been the leading light in tennis in the country with the 2nd largest in the world for a number of years. Nevertheless, apart from his fame, especially in his earlier years, winning the US Open aged 21, he was still one of the strongest minded and at times hilarious players in the sport. His most notable outburst was during his third-round match at the Australian Open in 2008 where he abused umpire Emmanuel Joseph saying, “You’re an idiot! Stay in school kids or you’ll end up being an umpire.” However, he was very inspirational when he decided to sacrifice the chance to retain his title in Dubai, by choosing to protest the refusal of the United Arab Emirates to grant Israeli Shahar Pe’er a visa for the Women’s Tennis Association event. “I really didn’t agree with what went on over there”, Roddick said. But, having won five ATP Masters tournaments and one Grand Slam, he really was one of the best.

3. Mardy Fish hasn’t had an easy time this year, having done well at the Australian Open and in Indian Wells, he was only able to compete in a Davis Cup match against Switzerland before he was forced into hospital due to an irregular heart-beat and eventually had a resulting operation. However, he jumped right back in at Wimbledon, winning his first match back and continuing to the last 32 at Wimbledon. But, drawn against Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, he didn’t really have a chance. He was probably at his best last year, he won his personal best 43 matches, and in September he was world ranked seventh!

2. The 25-year old American Sam Querry is currently his country’s second highest ranked player. Querry is climbing the ATP rankings and has a current ranking of 23rd. The former 17th ATP ranked player has won an impressive career prize total (singles an doubles) of $4,281,884. Sam is yet to get past the fourth round of a grand slam in the singles, he’ll be hoping to break that duck in next year’s grand slam. You may remember him for winning the 2010 final at Queens Club, he beat Mardy Fish in straight sets and also for recently beating Andy Murray in an ATP Tour event.

1. 1st in the country with the 2nd largest population on earth – John Isner. His current world ranking is 11th, his highest ranking was in April this year, when he got into ninth. He has been described by many, includiong his coach, as compassionate and kind. In fact, this is what his coach, Craig Boynton had to say about him: “John is a genuine nice guy who happens to be a good tennis player. He is more concerned with other people’s feelings than his own. If you don’t like John then you don’t like people. You want John Isner for your next door neighbour.” As for tennis, most people began to notice him after competing in the longest ever match, spread over three days, in total it took over eleven hours; That was against Nicholas Manhut. However, from 2012 he seems to be performing best in the Davis Cup, at one point beating Roger Federer and Jo-Wilfred Tsonga in the same week! To say he’s only been a pro since 2007, that’s a mighty achievement. Numerous people say he performs best under pressure, and he’ll need to be the NO.1 in the world, like he said when interviewed by ‘DEUCE’. Last year he won two ATP World Tour titles and held the record that year for the highest percentage of service games held at 91%! He’ll go down in history with the like of Pete Sampras and Anreas Agassi.

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3 thoughts on “The Stars of the US

  1. Pingback: The Stars of Spain « TPFTennis

  2. Pingback: #AusOpen: Round 2 Round-Up « TPFTennis

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