Tennis Prose



USA Tennis On The Verge Of Resurgence

American tennis has been mired in a drought of mediocre results since Andy Roddick’s US Open win in 2003. But the future has never looked so bright for America with an array of different young players making their marks in the ATP at an early age.

It’s all on display this week at the Citi Open in Washington DC with Jenson Brooksby stunning the tennis world with his results and sturdy play. The winner of three Challenger titles earlier this year, Brooksby reached the final of Newport (lost to Kevin Anderson) and this week Brooksby has beaten Felix Auger-Aliassime, Anderson and Frances Tiafoe.

Even Andy Murray has taken notice of the 20 year old Brooksby and commented on Twitter: “Jenson Brooksby is the sort of player I love to watch. Lots of variety, high tennis IQ, great in defense, his slice and backhand volley are almost identical to Florian Mayer.”

Yesterday Brooksby routined John Millman 61 62 to reach the Citi Open semis. This is his ATP 500 debut. Brooksby, a former 18’s boys champion, is assured to crack the ATP top 100 next week.

Sebastian Korda lost to Jannik Sinner at Citi Open but he and Sinner teamed up in doubles and are in the semis after beating Kyrgios/Tiafoe 64 64. Korda is the most advanced of the young Americans, already ranked 45 in the world at age 21, with a singles title in Italy this year and a Grand Slam quarterfinal at last year’s French Open.

Korda has the appearance and demeanor of a seasoned veteran, unintimidated by any player and with the arsenal to beat anyone. Korda is coached by his dad Petr, Dean Goldfine and Theodor Devoty. Korda has a 21-10 record this year and 24-14 overall in his career. Compare that to Taylor Fritz, the third highest ranked American at 42, who has an ATP record of 117-115. It shows Korda has managed to win very early in his ATP career and with more experience he will only get better.

Brandon Nakashima is also progressing similarly to Korda and Brooksby. The 19 year old is ranked 89. He just reached his first ATP final in Atlanta, losing a nailbiter to John Isner, the six time champion there, 76 75.

Nakashima is 11-6 in his career in the ATP and with a couple more years of experience and seasoning, it’s easy to see the machine-like baseliner winning titles all over the world – and contending for Grand Slams.

This week in DC, Nakashima has beaten Dan Evans, Alex Popyrin but he lost in three sets to Denis Kudla, who last in the quarterfinal to another American Mackenzie McDonald (ranked 107).

And don’t forget about Fritz, Reilly Opelka and Tommy Paul, who are all stationed in the top 30-60 range. Fritz extended Novak Djokovic to five sets at the Australian Open. Opelka has been inconsistent but at his best he seems to be a superior version to Isner, with more dimensions and more ability to end points with baseline strikes. We all know how dominant Opelka’s serve can be. Paul is a supreme athlete and in any week he can emerge as a champion.

Paul, Opelka and Fritz have to be extra motivated by the success of their younger compatriots and surely want to maintain their rankings and results superiority. It’s an ideal blend of respect, threat and inspiration.

With Canada’s recent emergence now stagnated and Australia stuck because of the unreliability of Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic and the apparent ceiling reached by Alex de Minaur, American tennis seems poised and well positioned to possiby become the next global tennis powerhouse.

Though the Italians will surely have something to say about this.

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  • Gaurang · August 7, 2021 at 4:11 pm

    Yes American tennis seems to be on the upswing. It’s exciting. Last few weeks have really sparkled for American tennis. Brooksby seems to be the biggest talent I have seen since Roddick, slightly better than Jack Sock. Korda and Nakashima are no less. Some others in top 100 are also shining and will get inspired by these youngsters to pull up their socks.

    It’s exciting times ahead for America in the tennis world.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 7, 2021 at 6:21 pm

    Gaurang, a breakout is happening and it’s a great. Can’t forget about Sock either. Maybe Querrey and Isner will be inspired too. We know they can beat almost anyone on the right day.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 8, 2021 at 9:17 am

    McDonald takes down Kei 75 in the third. Very interesting match as Kei seemed to be pantomining that he wasn’t feeling well but McDonald wasn’t buying it. High level tennis in the third set, dog fight to the end. Kei was serving at 30-love to force a tiebreak when suddenly McDonald unleashed on his returns and won four points in a row. If I could describe the way McDonald slashed those winners, they looked not much unlike, please excuse the ghetto parlance, “bitch slaps.” McDonald teed off and bitch slapped those return winners to win the match and Kei was livid at himself, he feigned to smash his racquet after he couldn’t handle the last McDonald laser beam. Great win for McDonald, he has the best strokes of any American and he too is now a dangerous American force. The final today vs Sinner will be McDonald’s first ATP final.

  • Gaurang · August 9, 2021 at 9:41 am

    Yes great to see Mackie McDonald break out here… always he felt great but was unable to explain his poor ranking.

    He plays really well and is definitely a top 20 talent. He is 26 by age, but thats the new 23. So he is at the perfect age to grow up from here and swing for the fences.

    I do believe he needs a bit more top-level coaching to get to top 20 (when to attack the net, controlling aggression, etc). I think now with his success he should be able to get appropriate top coaching he needs.

    Hoping we will see these 4 players in top 25 in a year or so…

    Some deep runs in Masters or Slams should inspire more media coverage in the US and inspire younger talent to join the forces.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 9, 2021 at 10:17 am

    Gaurang, McDonald suffered from many disastrous heartbreaking chokes in his career, winning position on the edge of victory and he would choke. It has been documented and it’s amazing how many times he failed on the verge of victory. But now it appears McDonald has solved that issue, that Kei win was critically important. Sinner was just too good but he made Sinner earn it the hard way. McDonald clearly is a new player now, he has overcome that choking issue and now it would not be a surprise if he begins to score some more astounding and better results in the coming years. He has the best strokes of any American. Now his mental and phsysical and technical games are all coming together. His coach is Matt Cloer, he must be doing something right. I can easily see McDonald becoming an Agut or Busta or even a David Ferrer type force.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 9, 2021 at 10:19 am

    A quote that always sticks in my head was from Carlos Moya about David Ferrer before Ferrer become a top player, when he was still a middle of the pack player. Moya said of the young Ferrer: “He doesn’t realize how good he is.” I think this same quote applies to McDonald

  • Gaurang · August 9, 2021 at 11:48 am

    Hmm.. u r right.

    Looking at his activity — In this years RG R2, he was up 2 sets against Garin, who is obviously a top clay player — lost the match 6-8 in the fifth. He also lost to Isner late in the 3rd in Miami.

    He lost being 2-0 sets up last year in AO and USO as well!! Wow…

    Looks like he has improved that now! Win against Kei and also saving 13-14 break points against Sinner shows he is becoming better at this.

    Actually — I thought he could have won against Sinner as well. Just a point or two there, he lost that last game — he had good chances in the break had he pulled that game out.

    Cool — another area for him to improve a bit more and get the big wins…

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 9, 2021 at 12:29 pm

    Gaurang, yes he has elevated himself from fringe but solid contender to millimeters from champion status. He will get there. He proved it in DC. McDonald is a champion to be.

  • Cory · August 9, 2021 at 11:42 pm

    McDonald is a clown… IMO I don’t see him anywhere near the top 20. I’ll bet he never cracks top 40. As Scoop noted, he’s proven to be a steady choker and lost 2 sets 7-5 yesterday in the final (the mark of a choker). I love Tommy Paul’s game but feel similarly – uninspiring during big moments leaving you wondering where he’s at mentally and emotionally. I think Korda is gonna be top 10 soon because he seems to have that strong mental game…. Tennis is akin to mental boxing. Great post; American tennis has quite a few budding talents.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 10, 2021 at 8:54 am

    Cory, if they were chokes they were different chokes and more acceptable chokes 🙂 McDonald was not ahead and choked, he was behind and fought back to pressure Sinner and force him to earn it, which he managed to do despite some serious struggle. McDonald almost pulled off the miracle final win, he almost made Sinner choke and that is not easy to do. Sinner is the real deal. I can see McDonald, with a few mental tweaks like becoming a vicious, more fierce competitor, evolving into a Ferrer type juggernaut. He has the strokes, but does he really want it as much as Ferrer? Korda is the best one IMO also. He has it all, he has that glow, he has the results, the weapons, the head, he has that look in his eye and demeanor. And the team.



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