Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

What's Wrong with U.S. Tennis? Nothing, 8 Remaining Yanks Say

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

What's Wrong with U.S. Tennis? Nothing, 8 Remaining Yanks Say

Article excerpt

The Australian Open is turning into a celebration of America's resurgence in men's tennis.

Half the men left in the year's first Grand Slam tournament are Americans, the most since 1982. And by the luck of the draw, none will meet in the round of 16.

Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Michael Chang, Todd Martin, Jim Courier, Aaron Krickstein, David Wheaton and Patrick McEnroe all might make it to the quarters - or none might, though that's highly improbable.

During the late 1980s, there was a lot of fretting over the state of tennis in the United States as John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors began to fade from the scene.

"Countries seem to go in stages," the second-seeded Agassi said Saturday after winning his third match, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 over Greg Rusedski of Canada. "All of a sudden there's a lot of top players and then we go through a little dry spell. Sweden had a bunch of them at one time, then lost it, then regained it. We had a lot at one time, and then a few years ago they said: `What's the matter with American tennis?' It just goes in cycles."

Also Saturday, the eighth-seeded Martin defeated fellow American Vincent Spades 6-3, 6-1, 6-2; Wheaton beat Renzo Furlan of Italy 7-6 (8-6), 6-4, 6-3; Krickstein downed Petr Korda of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (7-1); and McEnroe topped David Prinosil of Germany 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.

Four of the eight American men left have won a dozen Grand Slam titles among them: five for Sampras, four for Courier, two for Agassi and one for Chang. Sampras won the Australian Open last year, and Courier won it the two years before that.

American women have been less successful, with no current players who have won a Grand Slam title. The three remaining American women in this tournament are Lindsay Davenport, Marianne Werdel Witmeyer and two-time finalist Mary Joe Fernandez. Mary Pierce lives and trains in Florida but plays for France. Angelica Gavaldon lives in Southern California but plays for Mexico.

Witmeyer beat Elena Makarova of Russia 6-0, 6-2 Saturday, and Fernandez, seeded 11th, defeated Amanda Coetzer of South Africa 6-3, 5-7, 6-2. …

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