This past week, Taylor Fritz secured the Toyko Open and became the first American male to achieve a top-ten world ranking since John Isner in 2018. An almost five-year drought for American males has been exacerbated by the fact that American men have not lived up to expectations set by the generations of men that came before. After this season, is there hope that an American man can conquer at the Major level in 2023?
Taylor Fritz solidified his 2022 season in Toyko this past week, winning his second-biggest title to date and earning his place in the top-ten world rankings. It was a long time coming for Fritz, who showed considerable gains in 2022, particularly after winning Indian Wells back in May. After such a fantastic season, Fritz is in the run to secure a spot in Turin at the ATP Finals.
Frances Tiafoe was the man on the other side of the net who fell to Fritz in Tokyo. After an inspired run to the U.S. Open semifinals this year, Tiafoe is currently at his career-high ranking, just inside the top twenty. In Toyko, Tiafoe was continuing his excellent run of tennis and was very close to securing his biggest title to date. With results similar to these, Tiafoe could be the next American man to enter the top ten.
The days of American men dominating to ATP Tour are long gone and unlikely to ever return with the depth of the current crop of players. That doesn’t mean this current crop of American men can’t compete on the Major level. Frances Tiafoe showed the world how close he was to being the first American Major winner since Andy Roddick in 2003. If the trajectory of Fritz and Tiafoe continues to trend the way 2022 has, one of those two players will likely be hoisting a Major trophy at some point.
With the lack of success, there has been in American men’s tennis at the Major level, a certain amount of pessimism had crept into the fans. After years of domination from the likes of the Big Three, Roddick’s U.S. Open fell further and further into the past. This season has changed that. Now, it feels like there is a new level of optimism surrounding men’s tennis following the success of 2022. Let’s see if that success can be taken to the next level in 2023.