Monday, May 10, 2021

U.S. men hit new low in world rankings

Taylor Fritz, who won back-to-back Northern California Challengers six years ago
at 17, leads all U.S. men at No. 31 in the world. 2018 photo by Mal Taam 
   For the first time in the history of the computerized rankings, no American men are in the top 30.
   The top U.S. man, Taylor Fritz, slipped one notch to No. 31 today after losing in the first round in Madrid last week.
   Fritz, who won back-to-back Northern California Challengers in Sacramento and Fairfield six years ago at 17, is scheduled to play top-ranked Novak Djokovic in the second round of the Italian Open on Tuesday. Djokovic won his fifth Italian Open title last year.
   The computerized rankings began almost 50 years ago, in 1973.
   The good news for the United States is that it has 10 men in the top 100, tied for second with Italy behind Spain and France with 11 each. Sam Querrey, a 33-year-old San Francisco native, is ranked No. 66.
   Five of the top-100 Americans are 23 or younger and therefore likely headed higher. The youngest, 6-foot-5 (1.96-meter) Sebastian Korda, is No. 67.
Sebastian Korda, right, and his father, former world No. 2
Petr, chat at the 2017 Stockton (Calif.) Challenger. Andy
Roddick calls Sebastian the United States' "best prospect
in a long, long time." Photo by Paul Bauman
   "I'll say it in no uncertain terms," Andy Roddick, the last U.S. man to win a Grand Slam singles title (2003 U.S. Open), proclaimed recently in Inside Tennis. "(Korda) is our best prospect in a long, long time. I'm very bullish on Seb Korda." 
   Korda's father, Czech-born Petr, won the 1998 Australian Open to climb to a career-high No. 2. Petr Korda tested positive for doping later that year and was suspended for 12 months. He retired at age 30 shortly before the ban took effect.
   In doubles, only one American man is ranked in the top 30: Rajeev Ram, a 37-year-old volunteer assistant coach at the University of California, Berkeley, at No. 12.
   Three U.S. women are ranked in the top 20 in singles: No. 5 Sofia Kenin, No. 8 Serena Williams and No. 13 Jennifer Brady.
   The United States leads all nations with a whopping 17 women in the top 100. Next are the Czech Republic (10) and Russia (nine).
   The youngest Americans in the top 100 are No. 35 Coco Gauff (17), No. 39 Amanda Anisimova (19) and No. 76 Ann Li (20). 
   Four American women are ranked in the top 30 in doubles: No. 10 Nicole Melichar (who was born in the Czech Republic), No. 16 Bethanie Mattek-Sands, No. 19 Desirae Krawczyk and No. 27 Hayley Carter.

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