While we American tennis fans were looking to the future, the future arrived.
Fish, Baker, Querry, Isner, Stephens, McHale, Hampton – they’ve all leaped up and grabbed some success on the big stage. Some only managed a pinch, while others are vying for a whole handful.
Of this group, only Fish can really be considered a wiley vet. But he’s still fresh, and has a better attitude and approach to the game than in all his previous years.
Isner and Querry are next in line in terms of tour-level experience, and both are arguably America’s best chance for a grand slam victory in the next few years.
Stephens, McHale and Hampton are the long-term future, and all look to be legitimate contenders in the women’s game. Whereas Melanie Oudin seemed to be all heart and fight, these ladies are mostly power and confidence.
And then there’s Brian Baker – the 26-yr-old comeback kid. He was among the top as a junior player before injuries forced him out of the game for six years. Now he’s back, and is making a bid to instantly regain his status as a top contender in his generation – a generation that includes Nadal, Djokovic, Murray, Tsonga, etc.
Baker is the unknown – the wildcard of the group. He could flame out tomorrow, or win a couple of slams in the next couple of years. As American’s, we’re all hoping for the latter.
While we were waiting, it suddenly became a great time to be a fan of American tennis.