Wimbledon: whatever happened to the Yanks?
Once dominant US has only Mardy Fish left in the men’s singles – and no women at all
Unless a 29-year-old journeyman player by the name of Mardy Fish can see off both Rafa Nadal and, probably, Andy Murray, to make it through to the final of the men's singles, then it will be just the fifth time in 43 years at Wimbledon that no American has appeared in either singles final.
After the shock exits of both Venus and Serena Williams on Monday, US interest in the championships is focused on just one man, and it is an almost unheard of situation.
Since the open era began in 1968, American players have excelled in both the men's and women's events, winning 41 titles. The likes of Billie Jean King, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, Andre AgassI, Pete Sampras and the Williams sisters have won multiple championships, while even lesser mortals like Chris Evert, Lindsay Davenport and Andy Roddick have thrilled SW19. But it appears that the era of American domination has come to an end.
There were 21 Americans in the singles draw when this year’s tournament began, nine men and 12 women. But Fish is the only one to make it past the fourth round. His status as last man standing was sealed on Saturday when Alex Bogomolov was beaten by Tomas Berdych.
Fish was obviously feeling the pressure then. He said over the weekend: "It's lonely. It doesn't feel great. That's not the goal. I want the guys here, so that's a bit of a bummer."
Then on Monday things got even worse when both Serena and Venus Williams crashed out of the ladies' competition. It is just the third time since 1968 that there have been no US women in the quarter-final draw.
That Fish is America's only hope of glory suggests that the US is running low on talent. Fish is the world number nine but has never made it past the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam tournament
Filip Bondy, writing in the New York Daily News, said: "He has made the most of his talents, which are considerable without being dominant... He should be the Todd Martin of this generation, but instead is suddenly miscast as Pete Sampras. It's even tough cheering for the fellow. Sounds like a card game. Go Fish."
According to Chris Evert, who now works with young players in Florida, the outlook is bleak. She told the Washington Post: "We're not going to see any number-one players [apart from the Williams sisters] for another four or five years." ·
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