By Ann Liguori
» More Columns
Day one of the US Open – and who are the top American male players?
It was tennis as usual on this last Monday in August, the first day of the 2011 US Open and who would even suspect, by looking at the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, that the eye of Hurricane Irene was approximately 21 miles away!?!
It was not only a picture perfect day, but there was no visible damage to the facility. “It was mostly cosmetic damage,” says Chris Widmaier, Managing Director, Communications and Public Relations, USTA. “Workers had to get rid of limbs and leaf debris, but the drains worked perfectly and the courts look great.”
Of course, workers worked through the night to clean up after the 62-mile-an hour winds left debris on the grounds and water in parking lots.
“Attendance will be down, probably between 5-10 percent,” added Widmaier. “But that is to be expected.”
But enough Americans found Mardy Fish on the Arthur Ashe Stadium Court Monday afternoon to cheer him on. After all, the 29-year-old is the highest ranking American male in tennis! He is ranked #8 in the world and seeded #8 in the men’s draw. He had no problem getting through to the second round, 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 against Tobias Kamke of Germany.
Andy Roddick, the last American to win the US Open in 2003, has dropped down to #21. Say it isn’t so?! Roddick was primed to “wow” us, especially after he showed so much game against Roger Federer in the 2009 Wimbledon final, playing his guts out in a five set loss. But since then, Roddick has dealt with first, a serious knee injury and more recently, a nagging shoulder injury. He finds himself out of the top 20 for the first time in the past ten years.
Fish, at 29 years of age, has re-dedicated himself to his all-court game and to fitness. His best performance at the Open was in 2008 when he lost to Rafael Nadal in the quarters. Wouldn’t it be great if Fish could better that this year?
A 19-year-old American got some attention today. But it wasn’t for winning. Ryan Harrison lost to 27th seed Marin Cilic in straight sets but revealed a bad temper in the process, throwing his racquet and kicking the ball. Not a good idea to show the “tude” when America is looking for their next young talent!
Another promising teenager Michael Yani, a qualifier from North Carolina, exited in his first round match, a straight set casualty against Bernard Tomic.
It seems like forever ago that Pete Sampras last won here at the Open in 2002, his 14th and final Grand Slam Championship. Sampras won his fifth and final US Open in 2002 , Roddick in 2003 and since then, the only American male player to make any headlines was Andre Agassi when his book came out.
Be sure to catch Ann’s up-dates on WFAN 660 AM every day , starting at 11 am. For more information on Ann, visit www.annliguori.com.
Which US player has the best chance to win in Flushing? Sound off below!