This year’s Wimbledon was a strange one for American tennis fans, who have become accustomed to seeing their stars make it to the latter stages of the tournament and often win.
In the recent tournament, though, the men’s singles and women’s singles reached the final phases without featuring anyone from the USA. It seems that Serena Williams’ incredible career is waning, and there are big question marks over whether anyone can take her place.
American Tennis Stars Have Always Been Prominent at Wimbledon
Prior to the emergence of the Big Three, the men’s singles were dominated by American players for the best part of two decades. The USA offered up four different winners from 1981 to 2000, and there was an American champion twelve times during that period.
Pete Sampras was the most successful, but there were also victories for Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, and Jimmy Connors.
American women have enjoyed even greater spoils at the English Grand Slam. Venus and Serena Williams have dominated since the turn of the millennium, picking up twelve titles between them in that time. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Martina Navratilova was an almost unstoppable force.
One of the Williams sisters made it to each of the last three finals before this year’s Wimbledon competition but failed to win the honors. This time out, there were no American women in the tournament after the fourth round. The same was true for the men’s side of the competition, making this one of the worst Wimbledon events for American players in living memory.
Williams Reign Coming to an End
With Venus dipping in form and Serena having to exit Wimbledon through injury, neither of these tennis legends were able to have an impact at this year’s competition.
With the sisters aged 41 and 39 respectively, it does seem as though their reign is about to come to an end. Serena is still in the hunt for Margaret Court’s Grand Slam record, but some pundits have suggested that she may not be able to achieve this now.
Williams is currently on 23, while Court picked up 24 wins throughout her career.
The bookies’ odds on Williams to win the US Open support the fact that she may not be able to bag that long-awaited Grand Slam record this year. Betway have placed the American at odds of 1200 to win the competition on home soil, with Naomi Osaka currently leading at 460 as of August 3.
It is a shame that the Williams era is dwindling, as they have provided some scintillating entertainment over the years. However, their fading out will lead to a power vacuum in US tennis that needs to be filled. It could be the prime time for new stars to emerge from the USA in men and women’s tennis.
Will There be Another Big Star?
For a country that has constantly churned out top talent in tennis, it’s strange that the USA has seemingly stopped producing. There are currently no American men in the top 20 of the ATP rankings, with the highest placed player being John Isner at number 30.
For women, the situation is slightly better. Sofia Kenin is placed at world number four, while Jennifer Brady comes in at number 14. Still, it is hard to imagine one of these becoming a major force while there is such a great pool of talent in other countries.
The problem for the USA is that fewer people are getting into tennis in college these days. This is certainly true for men, who haven’t had a strong role model from the country since Sampras packed it in.
There has also been a rise of professional tournaments in other continents such as Asia and South America, with less of a focus on the USA as a powerhouse in the tennis world. Perhaps if there is to be another American star, there should be more emphasis on improving the infrastructure of the sport in the country.
When Serena eventually does retire, which will be soon, it could spell the start of a dark era for American tennis. There are few men or women ready to be the next sensation, and, as Tennis.com outlines, more needs to be done to encourage more to get into the sport.