Wimbledon

Andy Murray Embodied Many Things To Many People

by Rajagopalan Rohinee

Andy Murray embodied many things to many people. He was the gritty warrior who never let up in his performances, despite the numerous defeats and setbacks that waylaid him. He was the deceptive athlete, who could vary his shot-making to suit himself and discomfit his opponent. He was also the rebel who took decisions which though seemed effortless for him, never seemed easy for others.

Of all these facets, it’s the last trait that not only set Murray apart from his peers but also carved a unique pride of place for him among them.

Be it raising his voice for the controversial referendum vote for Scottish independence from the United Kingdom – followed by an unapologetic stance reiterating his decision in the aftermath of the fallout – in 2014, or be it a demonstrative declaration of giving women in the profession – both past and present – their due, Murray never shied away from taking a stand regardless of how it may have been perceived.

At a time, when, on the subject of equal pay for women players, players either preferred to sit on the fence with displays of dubious diplomacy, or outright negated the need for the same, Murray’s unequivocal stance to speak up for the women set a precedent. Now, against the backdrop of the overwhelming emotions coming forth after his shock announcement about his impending retirement, reactions to the Briton’s viewpoint have been conveniently airbrushed. However, back when he had stood up for the cause – so to speak – Murray was cast as a pariah, by many in the same fold.

A similar turnaround has, then, been effectuated about his decision to appoint Amelie Mauresmo as his coach, between now and then. When Murray engaged Mauresmo as his coach in 2014, disparagements shrouded as banter greeted his move, pitting it as a step-down of sorts after Ivan Lendl. To the relentless critics, it did not matter that under the guidance of the Frenchwoman, Murray won his first Masters 1000 on clay – in Madrid in 2015 – or that he continued the established trend of being a fixture in the finals of the Majors (with two consecutive trips to the Australian Open final Sunday in 2015-16).

Cut to 2018, merely two years after Mauresmo and Murray parted ways, as Mauresmo resumed her coaching career by joining compatriot Lucas Pouille’s team, opinions veered towards cheers and acceptance as though it was no big deal in the scheme of things. While this was indeed a change for the better, it still hit harder that it was not the case the first time around when such unnecessary hue and cry was made about it.

At the same time, though, it is also fitting – at par with the theme of what Murray’s career has been, unbound and unfettered by conventions.

Murray started out as the beacon of deliverance for British tennis that had been long-parched, lacking a Major champion for years. And, in the decade-and-a-half that he unwound his way through the professional circuit, Murray not only lived up to those expectations – as stifling as they were at times – but also gave his country more reasons, beyond conventionality, to hope. Even beyond the scope of winning Wimbledon, as he transformed himself from an envisioned titlist at the Championships, to a multiple-time Major winner – coming close enough to completing the Grand Slam.

One looking to making the most of opportunities could do well to borrow a page from Murray’s 2016 manual, in which he pushed his body to the limits of its endurance in trying to attain the world no. 1 ranking for the first time in his career. Time, though will suck in the allure of that accomplishment just as it would blot the other numbers that form the stockpile of his career. However, Murray’s long-lasting legacy will be of being an inspiration, who was not only unfettered by conventions, but also impervious to time-bound limitations.

“The Wimbledon Final That Never Was” Among New Chapter Press Christmas Gift Book Offerings

“The Wimbledon Final That Never Was” along with “The Greatest Tennis Matches of All Time” by Steve Flink and “The Secrets of Spanish Tennis” by Chris Lewit among offerings for tennis fans

The only time in the history of Wimbledon that the men’s singles final was not played is incredibly told in detail by the crowned champion, Sidney Wood, in his illuminating tennis biography “The Wimbledon Final That Never Was… And Other Tennis Tales Of A By-Gone Era.”

Wood won the 1931 Wimbledon title by default over Frank Shields—his school buddy, doubles partner, roommate, Davis Cup teammate and the grandfather of actress and model Brooke Shields—in one of the most curious episodes in sports history. In reaching the final, Shields posted one of the most heroic conclusions to a Wimbledon tennis match, in a scene somewhere reminiscent to the baseball scene in the movie “The Natural” starring Robert Redford.

Wood tells the tale of how Shields was ordered by the U.S. Tennis Association not to compete in the championship match so that he could rest his injured knee in preparation for an upcoming Davis Cup match. Three years later the story continues when he and Shields played a match at the Queen’s Club for the Wimbledon trophy. Also included are a compilation of short stories that deliver fascinating anecdotes of the 1930s and a signature document of the play and styles of 20th-century tennis legends. The book is for sale for $19.95 here https://www.amazon.com/dp/0942257847/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_U_x_6LUjAb1CNQJSG

“The Greatest Tennis Matches of All Time” features profiles and rankings of the greatest matches of all time dating from the1920s featuring Bill Tilden and Suzanne Lenglen up through the modern era of tennis featuring contemporary stars Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova. Flink breaks down, analyzes and puts into historical context the sport’s most memorable matches, providing readers with a courtside seat at these most celebrated and significant duels. Flink also includes a fascinating “greatest strokes of all-time” section where he ranks and describes the players who best executed all the important shots in the game through the years.

The hard-cover book, that makes for a centerpiece of a coffee table or at your local tennis club, retails for $28.95, and can be purchased here on Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/dp/0942257936/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_x_Qj-rybVBRK7ZW or at www.NewChapterMedia.com and where ever books are sold.

Flink, one of the most respected writers and observers in the game, is currently a columnist for Tennis.com. A resident of Katonah, N.Y., he is the former editor of World Tennis magazine and a former senior columnist at Tennis Week. The book has received high praise from some of the most respected names in the sport, including Chris Evert, a winner of 18 major singles titles in her career, who wrote the foreword to the book. Said seven-time Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras, “Steve Flink was there reporting on almost every big match I played in my career. He has seen all of the great players for the last 45 years. I encourage you to read this book because Steve is one of the most insightful writers on the game that I have known and he really knows his tennis.”

The Secrets of Spanish Tennis ($19.95 for sale here https://www.amazon.com/dp/1937559491/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_U_x_2DUjAb11C47RB) by New York City elite tennis teaching professional Chris Lewit, is the culmination of years of study on the Spanish way of training by Lewit, who visited many of the top Spanish academies and studied and interviewed some of the leading coaches in Spain to discern and distill this unique and special training methodology.

The Greatest Jewish Tennis Players of All Time ($19.95 for sale here https://www.amazon.com/dp/193755936X/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_U_x_WKUjAbQJMXVJG) by tennis journalist Sandra Harwitt is unique among other books on tennis as it is a guide to the best and most influential Jewish tennis players in the history of the sport. It includes features and biographies of the greatest players, stories of both break-out success and anti-Semitism. This history also discusses the ways in which Jewish individuals have been instrumental behind the scenes, playing key roles in the growth of tennis into one of the world’s most popular sports.

Other recommended tennis titles are as follows;

Titanic: The Tennis Story ($19.95 for sale here https://www.amazon.com/dp/1937559041/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_U_x_FNUjAbV8X1V9K) by Lindsay Gibbs is the stirring and remarkable historical novel that tells the story of the intertwined life of Dick Williams and Karl Behr who survived the sinking of the Titanic and went on to have Hall of Fame tennis careers. Two years after both had harrowing escapes from the famous disaster, the two met in the quarterfinals of the modern-day U.S. Open. An emotional and touching work, this novel brings one of the most extraordinary sports stories to life in literary form. This real-life account – with an ending seemingly plucked out of a Hollywood screenplay – weaves the themes of love, tragedy, history, sport and perseverance.

On This Day In Tennis History ($19.95, 528 pages, for sale here https://www.amazon.com/dp/0942257421/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_U_x_HOUjAbD91C0SF) is a fun and fact-filled, this compilation offers anniversaries, summaries, and anecdotes of events from the world of tennis for every day in the calendar year written by Randy Walker. Presented in a day-by-day format, the entries into this mini-encyclopedia include major tournament victory dates, summaries of the greatest matches ever played, trivia, and statistics as well as little-known and quirky happenings.

Macci Magic: Extracting Greatness From Yourself And Others by Rick Macci ($19.95 for sale here https://www.amazon.com/dp/1937559254/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_U_x_XPUjAbS7M86V5) offers the secrets to success both on and off the tennis court by master coach and motivator Rick Macci, who coached tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams, Jennifer Capriati, Andy Roddick and Maria Sharapova among others. Through anecdotes and more than 100 sayings that exemplify his teaching philosophy, this inspirational manual helps pave the way to great achievement not only in tennis, but in business and in life.

Agnieszka Radwanska Announces Retirement

Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska announced today her retirement from professional tennis. She leaves the game following 20 career WTA singles titles, highlighted by the 2015 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global trophy.

Radwanska reached her lone Grand Slam singles final at 2012 Wimbledon, which helped her reach a career high ranking of WTA World No.2. She earned over $27.6 million in prize money over her career, which currently ranks seventh on the all-time career prize money earnings list.

“Today, after 13 years of playing tennis competitively, I have decided to end my career,” said Radwanska in her statement. “This was not an easy decision. I am grateful to have so many special memories, including 20 WTA titles, the WTA Championships in Singapore, a Wimbledon final, and so many others.”

In addition to her on court accomplishments, Radwanska, also known as “the Magician” by fans and media due to her crafty style of play, was voted the WTA Fan Favorite for six consecutive years.

“Congratulations to Agnieszka on an outstanding career,” said WTA CEO and Chairman Steve Simon. “Agnieszka embodies the qualities that make a true champion, on the court delivering world class performances and incredible displays of athleticism, and off the court with her poise, professionalism and support for her fellow players. Agnieszka leaves a legacy on the game across the globe and on behalf of the WTA, she will truly be missed.”

Radwanska played her last professional match in September at the KEB Hana Bank Incheon Airport Korea Open in Seoul.

Can Novak Djokovic Win Another Wimbledon – U.S. Open Double?

Novak Djokovic entered Wimbledon this year having not won a tournament in a year. Now he could be on the verge of sweeping the two biggest titles in tennis.

Djokovic cemented his return to the top of the tennis world with his unexpected victory at Wimbledon in July, edging Rafael Nadal in an epic five-set semifinal and a straight-set final-round win over Kevin Anderson.

Now, Djokovic is on the verge of becoming only the second man in the Open era to win the Wimbledon and U.S. Open summer double more than twice, joining Roger Federer, who has turned the trick four times in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. Djokovic swept Wimbledon and the US Open in 2011 and also in 2015.

Following Wimbledon, Djokovic also won the title in Cincinnati – to complete his career sweep of all nine Masters Series titles – defeating Roger Federer in the final. Despite his No. 6 seeding in New York, his win at Wimbledon and in Cincinnati see him trending upward in the tennis betting odds at the U.S. Open. After starting the year with a 6-6 record, he is now healthy and confident and inspired to win more titles and catch up to his rivals Federer (20) and Nadal (17) in the all-time major singles titles rankings.

Djokovic ended a career-long 54-week title drought with his fourth Wimbledon title and 13th major title overall. With a ranking of No. 21 at Wimbledon, he became the lowest-ranked major champion since No. 44 Gaston Gaudio at 2004 Roland Garros. His win continued the men’s trend of major men’s titles being won by primarily Federer, Nadal and Djokovic over the last ten years.

Djokovic’s only struggles en route to the semifinals were with the high temperatures and humidity. With cooler weather coming to New York City for the event’s finale, Djokovic, who often struggles in oppressive heat, will be much more comfortable.

Novak Djokovic Makes Triumphant Return To Relevance With Surprise Wimbledon Title

by Randy Walker
@TennisPublisher

Novak Djokovic quieted critics and made a triumph return to the elite of professional tennis by winning his fourth Wimbledon title Sunday with a slightly dramatic 6-2, 6-2, 7-6(3) win over the mostly listless and exhausted Kevin Anderson of South Africa.

Djokovic’s 13th major title comes two years after his last major title – his historic win at the 2016 French Open which culminated him becoming only the third man in the history of tennis to hold all four majors simultaneously, joining Grand Slam winners Rod Laver and Don Budge.

However, since his triumph in Paris, Djokovic experienced a dramatic fall from the top, perhaps an expected human experience of needing of an exhale after years of pressure and drive to succeed and realize his goal of winning the French Open and win all four major titles.

“Then life came at him,” said Tom Rinaldi of ESPN of Djokovic’s fall from his pinnacle following the 2016 French Open.

“There were admitted challenges in his family life,” said Rinaldi of Djokovic. Also affecting him were injuries, a loss of motivation, a mix-up in his coaching team, separating himself with his coaches Boris Becker and Marian Vajda, an experiment with Andre Agassi as his coach and motivator.

“There were moment where I was doubtful of my return,” said Djokovic to ESPN.

His fall from the top reminded some observers of Mats Wilander of Sweden, who suddenly dropped off the top of the men’s game after he finally won the U.S. Open in 1988 to achieve the world No. 1 ranking and conclude his year by winning three of the four major singles titles.

While Djokovic was always seen as the player who would never give up and grind out amazing victories, like being match point down twice to Roger Federer at the U.S. Open, or in five hours, 53 minutes in the 2012 Australian Open final against Rafael Nadal, he then seemingly gave up competing in some matches, like against Dominic Theim in the quarterfinals of the 2017 French Open as the defending champion falling meekly 7-6, 6-3, 6-0, while also losing matches that he, as an all-time great, should not lose, such as to wild card Denis Istomin in the second round of the 2017 Australian Open and, most recently to Marco Cecchinato in the quarterfinals of Roland Garros last month. It was after that loss to Cecchinato that Djokovic even questioned if he had the will to even play at Wimbledon.

“I don’t know if I’m going to play on grass,” he said to reporters after the loss. “I don’t know what I’m going to do. I just came from the court. Sorry, guys, I can’t give you that answer. I cannot give you any answer.”

Djokovic found form in reaching the final of the pre-Wimbledon warm-up event at Queens, losing to Marin Cilic after having a match point. He quietly and deliberately reached the semifinals at the All England Club where he performed a master-class return to form in his 6-4, 3-6, 7-6, 3-6, 10-8. win over world No. 1 Rafael Nadal, played under the Wimbledon roof – and lights – due to the length of the titanic 26-24 fifth-set marathon between Anderson and John Isner in the first semifinal.

His win over Anderson was not in doubt until the latter stages of the third set. After winning the first two sets handily – Anderson having his serve broken in the opening game on a double-fault on break point – Djokovic had to endure five set points from Anderson before prevailing by closing out the third-set in a tiebreaker.

Djokovic, ranked No. 21, becomes the lowest ranked men’s champion at Wimbledon behind Goran Ivanisevic, who won the 2001 title with a ranking of No. 125. He also breaks the stranglehold that Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have had on Grand Slam tennis, becoming the first player other than the Swiss and the Spaniard to win a men’s major since Stan Wawrinka at the 2016 US Open.

“Man, I went through some difficult moments,” Djokovic said to Rinaldi following the final of his long road back. “We all have ups and downs…Let life arrange things around you….This is a great confirmation that I am on the good road.”

Will It Be The Same Old Story In Wimbledon Men’s Singles In 2018?

Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal have won the last six major championships. Both are the overwhelming Wimbledon betting favorites for the men’s singles title – and who can argue?

No one.

Federer has won eight times at the All England Club and has played in a total of 11 singles finals. Nadal has won Wimbledon twice – most notably his 2008 final 10 years ago against Federer – and has played in five finals. However, he has not advanced past the fourth round at the event since 2011. With razor-thin margins separating the two players, could this lack of reserve confidence be the different between a point or two if these two were to meet in a climatic final and 10-year-anniversary reprise of their epic 2008 Wimbledon final classic? Federer appears to be as fine-tuned as he has ever been on the comfort of the Wimbledon grass. The only difference between this year and others is his new Uniqlo tennis attire.

While Federer and Nadal are the strong favorites to win the title, Brad Gilbert of ESPN said he believes that there are five real contenders. Outside of the maestros from Switzerland and Spain, others are Juan Martin del Potro, John Isner and Novak Djokovic.

Del Potro is the surprise pick to win the tournament from ESPN commentator and former U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe. The Argentine is a former semifinalist at this event in 2013 where he lost a tight five-setter to Djokovic. He also captured Olympic bronze at the All England Club at the 2012 Olympics, extending Federer to a 19-17 third set in a four-hour-26-minute epic semifinal before beating Djokovic for bronze. Perhaps most importantly, del Potro is not intimidated against Nadal or Federer.

Perhaps the only other real contender for the title is hard-serving John Isner. The former Univerity of Georgia standout is into the second week of Wimbledon for the first time in his career and other than Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, is perhaps the most famous Wimbledon player by virtue of his incredulous 11-hour, 70-68 win over Nico Mahut in the 2010 first round.

Isner is playing the best tennis of his career this year having won the biggest tournament of his career at the Miami Open in April. Like del Potro, Isner is not intimidated by playing the top players. Many – except Isner and his inner circle – may have forgotten that he nearly beat Federer on the Centre Court grass at the 2012 Olympics before falling 6-4, 7-6(5) in an incredibly close contest that is was much closer than the score indicated, with a missed sitter forehand and a let cord basically being the difference between the two players.’s

Djokovic is the unknown entity of men’s tennis. While he is regarded as one of the all-time greats with 12 major titles – including all four majors including Wimbledon in 2011, 2014 and 2015 – he has not won a major title since the French Open in 2016 and has struggled physically with injuries and mentally with concentration, off-court distractions and motivation. You can’t count him out of the conversation, but one could argue that of all the other contenders for the title, Djokovic may have the least amount of deep hunger for the title. There are glimpses of his past form and fire but it is not consistently there and among punters, will not receive a lot of attention in Wimbledon betting

What Can You Buy With Wimbledon Winnings?

In everything classy that the Wimbledon tournament exudes, one thing really stands out is the amount of player earnings. The Wimbledon tournament is one of the most rewarding sporting events in the world and the tournament has just gone one step further in 2017. Generally speaking, all the prize winnings have a 13% consecutive increase from the 2011 edition. All participants, including those from the first round players, all the way up to the winners, will take home a larger cheque in comparison to participants from previous years. As a player, no matter which stage you are eliminated from, you are guaranteed £8,000 more than the average UK salary per month.

We have already seen the first round of Wimbledon, where unsuccessful players join spectators to watch the tournament on live television to see who will reign as champion this year. Those who lost in the first round, may be excluded from the tournament, but bear in mind that they’ve walked away with £35,000 each. This is a huge increase from the £11,500 that first round participants pocketed in 2011. An amount of £35,000 is a cool sum of money and there is no doubt that such a package can easily net you a fancy apartment or home in an affluent medium density suburb in basically every country around the world.

Those who managed to reach the second, third or fourth rounds, have pocketed quite a substantial amount. The second round participants this year received £57, 000, third round players received £90, 000 and fourth round players were issued with a handsome £147, 000. Anyone who managed to reach the later rounds is equally capable of not only improving the quality of his or her own life, but such amounts of money can easily impact the lives of others too. As an example, the winnings can be used to further the player’s development for an entire year or the sponsor mat choose to acquire state of the art training equipment which can serve many players and hopefuls. Other more luxurious examples include investing in fixed property, buying a sports car, buying a few bitcoins or even spending a month’s worth of leisure time at a 5 star hotel.

Further to this, a quarter finalist at the 2017 tournament will be rewarded with a £275,000 in cash, while a semi finalist receives a whopping £550,000. Not only is the prize money more attractive, but it is at this stage of the tournament that hogs all the limelight and where all the prestige reigns. With such huge winnings in the quarter and semi finals, any player who manages to reach these stages will definitely live the glamorous life. When it comes to purchasing ideas with this type of cash, the top of the range gadgets and ridiculously expensive cars and houses come to mind. Expect many holiday selfies from Wimbledon semi finalists who have much more disposable income on hand.

Last, but definitely not the least, is the finalist earning category and of course, not to forget about the championship winnings. For the first time ever in tennis history, a single player is able to take home more than £2 million in one go! The prize money for this year’s winner stands at a massive £2.2 million, while the finalist will receive half thereof at a sum of £1.1 million. Expect both the finalist and winner to wine and dine with A-List celebrities. In addition to everything that the above are able to buy, the finalist and the winner may look at purchasing personalised yachts, top-end sports cars, private jets, luxury holiday homes and the list goes on.

This year’s prize monies at the Wimbledon tournament bear testimony to the tournaments’ class. The winnings simply reinforce how lucrative Wimbledon is when we measure what the cash prizes equal in physical and intangible products.

Imagine Having A Sitter Overhead To Win Wimbledon, Missing It, Then Losing!

by Randy Walker

@TennisPublisher

 

Wimbledon is a place where dreams come true, but also where nightmares occur as well.

On the most heart-breaking moments in Wimbledon history happened on July 6, 1935 when American Helen Jacobs lost the Wimbledon women’s singles final to Helen Wills Moody by missing a simple overhead smash on match point. Jacobs missed the easy shot when leading 5-3 in the final set, only to lose 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.

Wrote Bud Collins in his famous “Bud Collins History of Tennis” book of Jacobs and her mishap, “Jacobs took a winning 4-2 lead in the third, with one powerful serve knocking the racket from Moody’s hand. She then broke Moody’s serve to lead 5-2, but Moody broke back to 3-5 in a game where she was facing a match point at 40-30 and Moody flicked a desperation lob with Jacobs at the net. It looked like a simple smash, but a gusty wind caused the ball to sink so swiftly that Jacobs had to drop to her knees to hit it…into the net. That turned the match around. Jacobs went down fighting, serving two aces when trailing 5-6, but losing the match, 6-3, 3-6, 7-5. It was her fourth loss to Moody at Wimbledon, three in a final. Jacobs also lost to Moody in the 1928 U.S. final.”

There was redemption for Jacobs, however, as she goes on to win the title the following year – her only Wimbledon singles titles – defeating Hilde Krahwinkel  6-2, 4-6, 7-5 in the final.

In 1938, Jacobs and Wills Moody again play in the Wimbledon final, but Jacobs is again hit with bad luck, twisting her ankle at 4-4 in the first set and is not able to move well around the court and loses the next eight games. The second set lasted a mere eight minutes.

Will Novak Djokovic Get Back To His Best Or Will His Decline Continue?

Things have not been going well for Novak Djokovic and even changing coach to legendary tennis player Andre Agassi performances have declined. One of the lowest points of his career in recent year was the humiliating defeat against Dominic Thiem who he has won 12 matches against to one in previous meetings. Before the tournament started he was in most experts tennis predictions and tips to make the final. No one expected such a decline in his performance and it has led to many questions being asked about the player’s desire for competing.

The French Open is a competition that Djokovic normally dominates which made the loss to Thiem even more shocking. He started the match well but quickly declined and seems to give up which is not the player that once was. What got him to the top was his determination and ability when things got tough to raise his game. This seems to be missing from his game and unless he can find that fire it will quickly fall down the ATP tennis rankings.

One of the main problems with Djokovic is he is making too many unforced errors. This must be due to the mental side of the game and he needs to regain his focus if he wants to regain the throne of being the number one men’s tennis player.

Andy Murray rise to the top is down to his pure determination, he wants it more than Djokovic. The best players in the world find a way to get through matches when they are not playing at their best and Djokovic is struggling to do this.

Djokovic can still turn things around but if he is going to he will need to do it fast. The other players have stopped fearing the once unbeatable star and if his performance level does not improve he may as well call an end to his lustrous career. It will be better than putting in the type of humiliating performances that he did at the French Open and will protect his legacy in the sport.

When asked about his performances of late Djokovic sounds like a player that is ready to retire. Any player at the top of the game when they consider this should retire. It is impossible to be world number one with this type of mindset. Many pundits are making tennis predictions 2017 that this will be the last year that we see Djokovic play so let’s hope that he can put on a show for the fans and enjoy his last playing days.

It is amazing just how fast the decline of Djokovic has happened. It is going to be a tough task for to player to get back to his best but even slightly below his top-level, he is still with a chance of winning another Grand Slam. For the latest betting tips for tennis and news make sure you subscribe and leave a comment below on your thoughts on Novak Djokovic.

 

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Taylor Fritz Still One of America’s Great Hopes

Taylor Fritz is one of the most promising tennis players that America has to offer, although he has endured a difficult period since his emergence on the ATP World Tour. His struggles continued on the grass of Stuttgart, with the young American failing to make it past the first qualifying round. Fritz has spent a few months away from the game, but on his return has lost in the first round of the Surbiton Challenger in addition to Stuttgart in matches which he entered as heavy favourite. The 19-year-old has time on his side, but he will be keen to prove that his breakout season in the sport was not an anomaly.

Fritz’s best career performance came in just his third ATP tournament, with his run in Memphis the first appearance in a final for eight years by an 18-year-old. He ultimately lost to Kei Nishikori, a mainstay of the top ten in the rankings, but Fritz’s youthful exuberance impressed the tennis world. Fritz consolidated this showing with a quarter-final run in Acapulco, eventually succumbing to compatriot Sam Querrey, and a slightly weaker end to the year could not take the shine of a remarkable season.

Fritz stormed to a career-high ranking of 53 as an 18-year-old, prompting inevitable assertions that he was the next great American hope and a future Grand Slam winner. Of course, few would have expected him to be challenging for those titles while still at a very young age, but the latest tennis odds of Fritz being 250/1 to win Wimbledon accurately reflect how his development has slightly stagnated. Incidentally, the leading American players that Fritz was expected to sit alongside sooner rather than later, Jack Sock and John Isner, are odds of 100/1 to triumph on the grass in London.

American Slam success, in the men’s game at least, does not appear to be on the immediate horizon. However, Jelena Ostapenko’s remarkable run to take the French Open singles title as an unseeded player highlights how a great couple of weeks can change everything. Fritz is a great couple of weeks away from shooting up the rankings. It was his adventures in Memphis that propelled him up the rankings, and it was never really expected that Fritz would consolidate all of those ranking points the following year. He made the last sixteen in 2017’s iteration of the tournament at Memphis, which is still a commendable showing.

Fritz’s success in Memphis and Acapulco, combined with his scope for growth, means that expectations are high of the young American. Pressure can be telling, with perhaps the relative grass-court experience of veteran Marco Chiudinelli the difference in Stuttgart between success and failure. However, the emergence of other young Americans will take the spotlight off Fritz, and this could be a constructive development in his progress.

Frances Tiafoe has soared up the rankings and has held his own against Roger Federer. The big-serving Reilly Opelka reached the quarter-finals of the grass-court challenger in Surbiton and his game should suit the green surface. Opelka looks on course to break the top 100 soon, where other young Americans Jared Donaldson and Ernesto Escobedo already reside with Tiafoe. The future is bright for American tennis, and Fritz will inevitably work his way back up the ranks. With such a deep source of talent for American fans to root for, Fritz should be able to play with less pressure and recapture the heights of 2016.