Sorry States

Boris Becker branded men's tennis in America 'embarrassing' after no player from the host country reached the US Open fourth round.

Last Updated: 05/09/13 at 12:29 Post Comment

It's the first time in the tournament's history that no US male has been involved at this stage in the competition and highlights a worrying trend.

In 1984 there were 39 American men in the top 100 of the world rankings. Now, there are currently six, with the retired James Blake set to drop out of the standings next week.

While Arthur Ashe Stadium holds 23,000 fans and America's Slam continues to go from strength-to-strength, tennis is well behind the likes of basketball and baseball in popularity and 1989 US Open champion Becker believes the country's youth are missing an inspirational role model.

"It's embarrassing - they have this beautiful Grand Slam with a centre court that holds 25,000 people in New York City and we're talking about foreign players all the time," he told Sky Sports.

"But just because you have a Grand Slam doesn't mean you automatically produce successful juniors.

"The most popular sport in the US is probably basketball and look at how it's promoted - every child wants to be a LeBron James.

"The reason tennis is so popular in Britain is because of a guy called Andy Murray. He makes it popular. But who's the role model in tennis in America on the male side? You don't find them.

"The role model is important. That's why people want to be LeBron James or the best American Football player or baseball player."

Character

The last American men's Grand Slam winner was Andy Roddick at the 2003 US Open.

With the States' winless streak now stretching to ten years Annabel Croft suggested the country's talent identification programme may not be up to scratch and emphasised the character traits youngsters needed to progress to the top of the sport.

"A lot of parents who put their kids into tennis get over-excited because they hit the ball well," she said.

"They then have dreams of their kids coming into these big stadiums and living the dream. But the reality is it's such a long journey from a kid who is quite talented and can hit the ball well. It requires a lot more than that to make the pro circuit.

"It's a long, arduous, soulless existence and it can be soul-destroying at times. You play in tough circumstances with no audiences and suffer a lot of losses along the way. If you're an insular child and not able to cope with the defeats it really is an uphill battle.

"We can sit here and enjoy the US Open and the glamour but the reality of getting a child onto the tour is a different prospect and you have to be certain character to cope with that journey along the way."

Experts

However, Becker reckons if the US Tennis Association used the experience and wisdom of their brightest talents from the past - Jim Courier, John McEnroe, Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras - then they could soon reverse their fortunes.

"If even half those guys got together now and formed a tennis academy funded by the USTA I guarantee you in five years' time you'd have Americans playing here in the semi-finals and final," he said.

"They know how tennis is played today, they've played the right way for many years and they can spot talent."

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

H

e made his power play to try and get Sheikhy to raise his wages or trade him to PSG. PSG were probably not interested and he is stuck with no cake and no vacation. @Jay_D> Surely you jest about FFP being real, right? All Platini is doing is making billionaries pay measly fines, so he and his cronies can get rich. If a fool can pay 50 mil for David Luiz, he will happily pay some fine to UEFA. FFP has failed as for it to succeed UEFA had to take it...

Synergy
Toure: I am staying with City

G

uess we can expect Toure's explanation of his behaviour around the same time Pete Townshend publishes his book then.

ceeps
Toure: I am staying with City

D

amn you Yaya, don't scare me like that! I only ate the icing. I didn't eat the soft and scrumptious middle - I will buy you another cake!

MCFC87
Toure: I am staying with City

Footer 365

Gareth Bale says Real Madrid are eyeing a six-trophy campaign this season

Gareth Bale says Real Madrid are targeting an even bigger trophy haul this season.

Premier League: Gylfi Sigurdsson delighted with move to Swansea from Tottenham

Gylfi Sigurdsson has told Sky Sports he is delighted to have joined former club Swansea from Tottenham.

Transfer news: Tottenham sign Ben Davies and Michel Vorm, Gylfi Sigurdsson joins Swansea

Tottenham have signed Swansea duo Ben Davies and Michel Vorm, with Gylfi Sigurdsson moving in the opposite direction.

Mail Box

Defending Woodward With Perspective

One Mailer is telling us to hold fire on our Woodward criticism, whilst we also have some wonderful PFA Team of The year geekery, a well done to Vieira and much more...

Why The Obsession Over The Captaincy?

Asks the morning mailbox, before hastily returning to the debate over who should replace Steven Gerrard. Plus, thoughts on Ed Woodward's spending plans and more...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property