Despite getting crushed by Novak Djokovic today, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2, Sam Querrey seems very happy with the way his season has gone.
“As far as the Grand Slams specifically it wasn’t bad,” he said. “I mean, Australian Open third round; here third round; Wimbledon lost to a tough one to Tsonga in the second round; French Open lost second round. Grand Slams were actually decent. Everything else was kind of average to below average.
“But, you know, if I play like I did last week and this week, I still have a handful of tournaments left the rest of the year, you know. Kind of salvage it and turn it around and make it a positive year and start out next year kind of with a high, hopefully.”
Ok, he is setting the bar pretty low, but you can’t blame Querrey, just as you can’t blame a back of the rotation guy for being considered an ace on a bad team. If the US had better men’s players, we wouldn’t even be taking about Querrey right now. Instead the focus would be on the players that actually had the chance to make some noise.
Such is the case with American’s men’s tennis when a player like Querrey is considered America’s great hope.
Much like John Isner, these guys are mid-level players who are nice to have, but do not get you entirely excited. And maybe, because the US ruled tennis for so many decades these players are forced to be looked upon as more than they are.
In the case of Querrey, he is viewed as a great hope that was shown today to be so many steps below the bellwether, Djokovic.
“I can’t judge it off that one match,” Querrey said. “That was a beatdown right there. I think if we were to play again, you know, it could be much closer. I definitely have a ways to go to get to that level, but I have really seen a lot of improvements in my game the last couple of weeks.”
Ok, he’s improved, but at the same time, he didn’t belong on the same court as Djokovic. However, Querrey does hold out hope that his game will improve as he enters his late-20s.
“In my forehand and my confidence mainly,” Querrey said. “My forehand feels, you know, like I have been aggressive with it, like I have been making it a lot, controlling the point with it. That in turn has helped my confidence. And I have also won a handful of matches, as well.”
But don’t expect Querrey to enter the top 10. In fact, he is only looking at modest goals the next year, such as being seeded in the Slams and playing into the second week.
And the US needs more than that. But that’s not his fault, because the horses are just not there. Querrey is a smart guy who knows his limitations, but much like fans of a bad baseball team, US tennis fans value a guy like Querrey more than he does himself.
Look, if he goes to the third round in each Slam and earns money in smaller tournaments, Querrey makes between $750,000 to $1 million per year, which is nothing to sneeze at.
But the US deserves so much more, which is why we are having this discussion in the first place.
The answer is out there.
It’s just not Sam Querrey.