Andre Agassi believes a new generation of American stars will emerge in men’s tennis, as he insists talk of a crisis for the sport in his country has been overblown.
While the enduring success of Serena and Venus Williams has ensured the US flag has been flown at the back end of major tournaments, the lack of success in the men’s game has been an ongoing concern since the era of Pete Sampras, Jim Courier and Agassi came to end at the start of this century.
Sam Querrey is the sole American survivor in the men’s draw at Wimbledon 2017, with his marquee match against defending champion and world No.1 set to take centre stage on the All England Club on Wednesday.
Querrey’s memorable victory against Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon last year and the occasional upset win for Jack Sock, John Isner and Donald Young have offered rare lifts for American tennis fans, yet the prospect of a new Grand Slam champion coming to the fore is is distant dream.
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However, Lavazza Global Ambassador Agassi believes American tennis will unearth new champions in the near future, with the eight-time Grand Slam champion suggesting the legacy he left behind has set the levels of expectations high.
“We have heard a lot about the lack of star names coming through in US tennis, but these things go in cycles,” states Agassi. “I look at the success countries like Spain and Sweden have had a different stages in recent years and sometimes its not just down to what the federation are doing or coaching set-ups.
“We are coming off some pretty interesting generations in American tennis. The bar was set pretty high by the guys for a couple of decades and I was part of that story, but i see some real talent out there and i think we are getting a little smarter in learning how to bridge the gap between the new kids coming through and the guys that have been around for a few years.”
Agassi believes the emergence of new US star in the men’s game would be a boost for tennis, as he suggests interest in the game from the nation that stages the final Grand Slam tournament of the tennis year is crucial to the success of the sport.
“America is a big country and the expectation is always huge,” he adds. “At this moment, I see a situation in America where we have the advantage of volume of players and numbers playing the game compared to other countries, but we don’t have the focused ability to develop the best talent.
“This is a global sport and I appreciate that America is important for any industry, but this sport of ours is growing at a rapid pace without American stars at the top of the men’s game. That said, it would be nice to have a little more interest from the American audience.”