Former Grand Slam champion Andy Roddick has weighed in on the prospects of the top ranked American tennis stars, going into the new season.
As the 2021 men’s Tour gets into gear, all eyes will be on rising American tennis stars Taylor Fritz, the 6’11” giant Reilly Opelka, Tennys Sandgren, Tommy Paul, Frances Tiafoe and Marcos Giron.
Also in focus would be veterans Josh Isner and Sam Querrey, especially how they go in Grand Slams. Isner, who also stands at nearly 7 feet, is currently the highest-ranked American on the men’s Tour, at 25.
Andy Roddick says Taylor Fritz needs to win more matches in bigger tournaments
Home fans would dearly want them to be in the hunt for titles and make telling strides into tennis superstardom.
Many would call it a sad indictment of American men’s tennis that it hasn’t produced a Grand Slam winner since Roddick at the US Open in 2003.
On whether he sees the 29-ranked Fritz making a mark on the men’s Tour this season, Roddick said, “We saw him shooting out of a cannon in Memphis. Seems like it was four or five years ago now. He then struggled with the expectations that came along with that. And he’s slowly built it back up.
The further you go, the harder it is to get those next steps. So for him, he’s gonna want to win those matches at bigger events.”
“He’s not gonna be doing 400m sprints”: Andy Roddick on Josh Isner
On Isner, one of the biggest servers in the contemporary men’s game, the former World Number 1 said, “How he trains at seven feet tall is going to be a lot different to how Diego Schwartzman trains.
He’s not gonna be doing 400 meter sprints and running 10 miles afterwards. So lean on people who maybe have some similarities to you.”
On Opelka, who was fifth in the list of most aces served last season, firing 374 of them in just 19 matches, Roddick said, “Reilly Opelka is a complete player and we’ve never seen that from someone who’s seven feet tall.
If he gets going, there’s no reason why he cannot be a top five in the world type of talent.”
Roddick lavishes praise on Reilly Opelka
“I don’t know enough about Opelka’s practice habits…Josh Isner likes to hit a little bit, get his body going a little bit slower,” Roddick said.
He said Sandgren is an example for the younger lot of Americans coming through the ranks.
“A lot of these younger guys, the people that we were just talking about, Fritz, Opelka…they need to look at this guy and how he goes about his business, how he shows up every single day, emulate that.
He’s a good example for these younger players,” said the 2003 US Open champion.
Tennis fans will hope that the rising American men’s stars can live up their promise in the new season.