McDonald: American Tennis Rises Up From The Valley of the Ashes

Who said American tennis is dead?

On the location of the Valley of the Ashes from The Great Gatsby, our dormant game is rising up like a phoenix in the second week of the 2017 US Open.

Going into the Quarterfinals, we not only have representation of the stars and stripes for the men in Sam Querrey, but also four of the eight women are from the good old U. S. of A.

Something special is going on at the home slam.

“I think it’s great,” said Madison Keys, who secured the final slot in the Quarters tonight by beating No. 4 seed, Elina Svitolina, 7-6(2) 1-6 6-4. “I think it shows how hard we’ve been working. I think it’s just really exciting. I’m really happy that none of us are playing each other in the quarterfinals.

“So yeah, I think if there’s some all-American matchups in the rest of the tournament, I think that says really good things about women’s tennis.”

And really good for the US Open too.

Unless a disaster goes on over the next few days, the Finals on both the men and women’s side will have compelling stories.

On the men’s side with Querrey taking in either Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or even Juan Martin Del Potro, you have the David vs. Goliath situation with the underdog Querrey taking on a former champ.

It’s an American against household names, which is a win for the USTA and ESPN.

Then on the women’s side, if all four gals hold their serve over the next two day, there can very well be an All-American Semis and Final.

You can’t get any better than that.

There’s the former two-time champion with a household name in Venus Williams and the athletic royalty of New York born CoCo Vandeweghe with her outspoken nature.

Then there are the upstarts with Sloan Stephens and Keys looking to make their names known to the casual sports fan.

It’s something American has been waiting for and now tennis is delivering.

And the best part, they are pulling for each other.  

“I’ve played on a Fed Cup team with all of them, including Venus,” Keys said. “I was at the Olympics with all of them. So I think we’re all cheering for each other. To see Sloane coming back from a long injury, having to have surgery. I mean, Coco is always a force to be reckoned with. I don’t think anyone is totally surprised about that. Venus has made two slam finals.

“I’m not really surprised that anyone got this far, but I think we’re all cheering for each other, excited that there’s four of us in the Quarters.”

Outside of Williams’s sister Serena, American tennis has taken a backseat to the Europeans over the past 10 years.

Going into this tournament, it looked like much of the same on the Women’s side with Williams the top ranked American with the No. 10 seed. One by one, all the top seeds went down, outside of No. 1 Karolina Pliskova, who faces Vandeweghe on Wednesday.

Left standing is the good old USA. With Serena having her first baby and Venus not getting any younger at 37, the mantle may be passed this week.

The best part is that all of our varsity will be playing on Ashe and will have the crowd behind them. Keys said tonight, she was rejuvenated by the crowd, when she was down in the third set.

“They are an amazing crowd because no matter what they’re still there and they’re still cheering for you,” Keyes said. “No matter what the score was, they were definitely behind me. They definitely help you raise your level.”

So, the stage is set. Querrey, Stephens and Williams begin their quests tomorrow, while Vandeweghe and Keys play on Wednesday. We very well could have five Americans playing at the end of the week and three of them moving on this weekend.

It what America has been waiting for and this year’s wide open tournament on the Valley of the Ashes is better for it.   



About the Author

Joe McDonald

Joe McDonald is the founder and former publisher of NY Sports Day. After selling to i15Media in 2020, he serves as the Editor-in-Chief and responsible for the editorial side of the publication. In the past, Joe was the managing editor of NY Sportscene magazine and assistant editor of Mets Inside Pitch. He has covered the Mets since 2004.

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