Not a major tennis tournament goes by without American broadcasters broaching the subject of the decline of U.S. men’s tennis.
No American man has won a Grand Slam singles title since Andy Roddick captured the U.S. Open in 2003.
No American man has earned a No. 1 singles ranking since Andy Roddick in 2004.
In the midst of a dwindling number of high-ranking American men, Andy Roddick was always the exception — and often the only hope for the United States heading into the season’s four major tournaments.
But Roddick’s run as the top American male is finally over.
In March, Roddick’s close friend Mardy Fish overtook him as the top-ranked American, and now, following an outburst at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, Roddick’s season appears to be unraveling.
Roddick — who never shies away from showing emotion on the court, but generally maintains playful interaction with the audience — whacked a ball into the stands in the third set of his first round match against Philipp Kohlschreiber Monday night.
The act earned a point penalty from chair umpire Carlos Bernardes and put Roddick in an 0-2 hole. He lost the match 7-6 (7-5), 5-7, 1-6 to add another disappointing chapter to his miserable 2011 campaign.
Earlier in the match Roddick flung his racquet on court, earning a warning from Bernardes.
“It’s so frustrating,” Roddick said. “I certainly accept what I did. I put (Bernardes) in a bad situation out there, but I do think it’s stupid in tennis that — I mean, in football if someone throws a helmet on the sideline, it’s their helmet. We wonder where we lose our ratings battles to the WWF, Monday Night Raw.”
With the loss, Roddick will drop out of the top 20 for the first time in a decade, ending a remarkable run of dominance among American players during which he could only capture a single major title.
Roddick has not won a match against a top 20 opponent in 2011 while dealing with nagging injuries like the abdominal muscle that kept him out of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic earlier this month. The 28-year-old plans to play a tour event in North Carolina next week to get more matches in before the U.S. Open.