Are we on our way back?

Are we on our way back?

The state of American men’s tennis has been a hot topic since the era of Agassi, Sampras, Courier, Chang, and Roddick gave way to the era of Nadal, Federer, Murray, and Djokovic. In the past 15 years, American men have been shut out of the Grand Slams. Part of the reason for this lies with the big four. Djokovic, Murray, Federer, and Nadal have won 51 of the past 59 slams. To put this number into prospective: in the 15 years prior to the era of the big four, American men won 28 of 60 Slams.

However, the future for American male tennis does not look as bleak. The tide does look to be shifting; the United States now have more men situated in the top 100 than any other country. Furthermore, the era of the big four prepares to wind itself down and pass the baton on to the next generation.

It’s a great time to take a look at the American men situated within striking distance of the top of the world. We can see where our next champion might come from, and learn more about the young stars rapidly moving up the world rankings.

Plus, Topnotch stars

As an added bonus, you may notice that six of the below names are in a different color. The reason is that all of the players with their names in green are represented by our friends at Topnotch Management. This means that if you are lucky, you may get to run into one of these top Americans on your Grand Slam or Topnotch tennis tour!

Perhaps you’ll chat with them at your Welcome Dinner; maybe you’ll hit with them at a tennis playing opportunity at a prestigious club somewhere in the world. You also have a chance to play with some of them at one of our Fantasy Camps in Wailea, Hawaii; Southampton, Bermuda; or Stowe, Vermont! Our partnership with Topnotch Management helps us create unique, can’t-buy experiences for our guests, and gives us increased ticketing, hospitality, and brand opportunities throughout the tennis world which we’re able to pass on to our clients and guests.

On to the future… 

John Isner celebrates winning the 2018 Miami Open

John Isner

AGE: 34
RANKING as of 24/06/2019: 12

Considered one of the best servers ever to play on the ATP World Tour, Isner achieved his career-high singles ranking in July 2018. This was by virtue of his maiden Masters 1000 crown at the 2018 Miami Open and a semifinals appearance at Wimbledon 2018. He currently has the second-most aces in the history of the ATP World Tour: 11,403. At the 2010 Championships, Wimbledon, he played the longest professional tennis match in history. In a total of 11 hours and 5 minutes played across the course of three days, he defeated Nicolas Mahut.

Frances Tiafoe

AGE: 21
RANKING as of 24/06/2019: 39

The son of Sierra Leonean immigrants, Tiafoe was raised at a USTA Regional Training Center in Maryland where his father worked as the head of maintenance. His unique background and success as a teenager led him to be widely regarded as a great prospect to become one of the next tennis stars for the United States. Tiafoe first broke into the Top 100 of the ATP rankings in 2016. With his victory at the 2018 Delray Beach Open, he became the youngest American title-holder on the ATP Tour since Andy Roddick in 2002. Tiafoe’s best performance at a Grand Slam event came at the 2019 Australian Open, where he reached the quarterfinals.

Taylor Fritz

AGE: 21
RANKING as of 24/06/2019: 42

Fritz is the second-fastest American ever to reach an ATP final. Moreover, he accomplished the feat in just his third career event. His mother, Kathy May Fritz, was a Top 10 player. Likewise, his father—Guy Henry Fritz—also played professional tennis and was named US Olympic Development Coach of the Year in 2016.

Reilly Opelka at the 2019 Australian Open

Reilly Opelka

AGE: 21
RANKING as of 24/06/2019: 61

Opelka is the tallest ATP ranked player ever at just under seven feet tall. You may have seen his rocket serve, which clocks in in the low-140 mph range. He’s won Junior Wimbledon, captured his first ATP Tour title this year at the 2019 ATP 250 New York Open, and is widely regarded as the next great thing in American tennis. In short, Reilly is a serious threat to any player on grass and hard courts, and he’ll be a player to watch over the course of his career as his play matures and his ranking soars.

Mackenzie McDonald

AGE: 24
RANKING as of 24/06/2019: 68

McDonald won the 2016 NCAA Division 1 Men’s Tennis Championships in both singles and doubles for UCLA.

Steve Johnson leads a Topnotch Tennis Tours clinic at the La Quinta Resort and Spa, a Waldorf Astoria Resort.

“Stevie” Johnson (left) leads a morning clinic for Topnotch Tennis Tours BNP Paribas Open guests at the La Quinta Resort and Spa.

Steve Johnson

AGE: 29
RANKING as of 12/06/2019: 69

Steve “Stevie” Johnson Jr. grew up and lives in Southern California. In 2016, Stevie joined the elite club of those who have been America’s Top Men’s Player. After riding a 72-match winning streak and winning two NCAA singles titles at the University of Southern California, Stevie won his first ATP Tour event at Nottingham in 2016. He’s also an Olympic bronze medalist—he captured the medal in Men’s Doubles at the Rio Olympics. More recently, he is a two-time U.S. Men’s Clay Court Champion (April 2017 & April 2018). Plus, in 2018, he also added the Newport title to his mantle. Stevie started playing tennis at the ripe old age of two years old, starting with balloons and beach balls.

Sam Querrey

AGE: 31
RANKING as of 24/06/2019: 79

Known for his powerful serve, Querrey holds the record for consecutive service aces in a match with 10. In addition, Querrey is also a capable doubles player. He’s the owner of five ATP doubles titles and a career-high doubles ranking of world No. 23. He is also one of the most successful American tennis players in Grand Slams in the last 15 years, having made it to the 2017 Wimbledon semifinals and the US Open quarterfinals in both 2015 and 2017.

Bradley Klahn

AGE: 28
RANKING as of 24/06/2019: 89

Bradley Klahn played collegiate tennis at Stanford University, where he won the 2010 NCAA Singles Championships as a sophomore. He was a finalist in the NCAA Doubles Championship the following year as a junior. Bradley was a bit of a late bloomer as far as the tennis world is concerned, only picking up a tennis racket for the first time at the age of 11.

Tennys Sandgren

AGE: 27
RANKING as of 24/06/2019: 92

Tennys broke into the Top 100 of the ATP rankings towards the end of 2017 after competing mainly on the ATP Challenger Tour for many years. Born and raised in Gallatin, Tennessee, he went on to play two years of college tennis at the University of Tennesseee before launching his professional career. In 2018, Sandgren won matches against Jeremy Chardy, Stan Wawrinka, Maximilian Marterer, and Dominic Thiem in order to make the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. Until then, he had never won a Grand Slam match. And yes, before you ask: Tennys, the tennis player from Tennessee, has heard that one before…

Denis Kudla

AGE: 26
RANKING as of 24/06/2019: 113

Denis Kudla was born in Ukraine and moved to Fairfax, Virginia on his first birthday. He reached the Fourth Round of Wimbledon in 2015; in 2016, he competed in the Olympics in singles for the United States. He recently won his sixth Challenger Tour title in Drummondville, Canada in March 2018. Kudla was also the winner of the 2018 Stowe Mountain Lodge Classic held in Stowe, Vermont by Grand Slam Tennis Tours!