Before I launch into how Americans suck on clay, I want to congratulate Andy Roddick
for an impressive three set win over Tommy Haas in Madrid on Wednesday. It was a gutsy debut on the red stuff. Okay, back to business. . .
There’s been lots of talk going into the French Open about both the Americans’ lack of success on clay and their lack of success in general. There’s a good article from The Canadian Press that breaks down the U.S. troubles: the 21 Majors that have passed since Andy Roddick took the 2003 U.S. Open title is the longest American men’s Slam singles drought in the Open Era. Andre Agassi won Roland Garros
10 years ago and was also the last American man to make it to the quarterfinals there - in 2003.
Patrick McEnroe, the USTA’s General Manager of Elite Player Development, thinks that curing the American clay court phobia is the key to improving the USA’s performance on every surface. He spoke with reporters via conference call on Tuesday. Here’s some of what he had to say:
On teaching young Americans to play on clay (via Reuters):
“If you develop players more on clay…they will become better all court players, even …better fast court players.”
“The way the game has changed with the technology, the rackets, the strings, the athleticism and the speed you have to learn how to build the point and play with spin, play with angle, take the ball early. You basically have to do it all.”
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