U.S. Open 2022: Can America Make Tennis Great Again? What American Has a Chance?

Flushing Meadows, New York – America’s most prosperous tennis tradition and the most lucrative Grand Slam of the year. The tournament is celebrated in countless ways apart from Americans lifting the final Grand Slam trophy of the season. 

The plaza in front of Arthur Ashe Stadium features a statue of the tournament’s 1968 victor, for whom the 24,000-seat venue is named. The South Gate Entrance is peppered with photos of the tournament’s great singles champions, with Andre Agassi, Tracy Austin, Jimmy Connors, Chris Evert and Pete Sampras among several Americans represented.

But America’s glory days seemed to have taken an unscheduled hiatus and the once heavily American-dominated sport has become a distant memory. However, a new crop of talent has emerged from the ashes and the cohort of players seems hellbent on taking up the former champion’s mantle. Can they make American tennis great again? Let’s take a look at the leading contenders:

Taylor Fritz U.S. Open 2021
Taylor Fritz won the 2022 Indian Wells and looks to add a maiden Grand Slam to his list of accolades this year

Serena plans to hang up her racket

Serena Williams announced her retirement from tennis after the 2022 U.S. Open. Her farewell Grand Slam will mark an end to a glorious chapter in tennis history, 21 years after she clinched her first Grand Slam here at Arthur Ashe Stadium. 

Our Prediction
SERENA WILLIAMS TO WIN THE U.S. +3000

Although the Michigan-born player has been dominant throughout her career – since the birth of her daughter five years ago, the Grand Slams have dried up and the last homegrown player to lift the U.S Open was Sloane Stephens in 2017. 

This will be Serena’s last Grand Slam of her career and to win it here on home soil would be the perfect retirement present. Although the 24-time Grand Slam winner is an unlikely pick to win it, it would further solidify her legacy if she added this as her last professional tournament. At +3000, Williams is worth a punt for those who believe that she will go out with a bang. 

Cori Gauff chasing her first Grand Slam

The teenage prodigy is the most likely to become the flag bearer for American tennis over the next decade. The Atlanta-born player erupted onto the scene at the young age of 15, when she put the sword to the venerable Venus Williams in the first round of Wimbledon 2019. 

Our Prediction
CORI GAUFF TO WIN THE U.S. +1100

Gauff, who is far beyond her years, reached a career-high of no.11 in the WTA rankings last month and comes into Flushing Meadows as the 12th seed. A French Open final appearance this year against world no.1 Iga Swiatek injected a plethora of momentum into the teenager’s game. At +1100, Gauff is one of the leading candidates to keep the U.S. Open silverware on home soil.  

Taylor Fritz looks to add to Indian Wells’s triumph 

The 24-year-old Californian star arrives at the New York Grand Slam as the 11th seed and has enjoyed climbing the tennis ladder over the past few years. A monumental win against Rafael Nadal at Indian Wells last March – his first 1000 Masters triumph –  and he then dispatched fellow countryman Maxime Cressy to win the Eastbourne International. 

Fritz comes from impeccable stock – with his mother, Kathy May, being a top-10 player and his father also playing tennis at a professional level. The Indian Wells winner comes into the contest at +3300 to win the final Grand Slam of the season.

Frances Tiafoe continues to chase a fabled Grand Slam trophy 

Tiafoe became the youngest American man since Roddick to win an ATP Tour title at the 2018 Delray Beach Open. The Maryland man has been on the cuff of greatness – showcasing some truly tantalizing tennis over the 7 years since he turned professional. 

Our Prediction
FRANCES TIAFOE TO REACH THE QUARTER FINALS OF THE U.S. OPEN

He reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in 2019 and was eliminated in the fourth round in the last two U.S. Opens. Tiafoe is an aggressive player with a monstrous serve and never seems to call it a day on court. John Isner once said that Tiafoe’s return of serve nearly matched the great Novak Djokovic’s. Tiafoe plays fellow countryman Marcos Giron in the first round on Monday. 

Frances Tiafoe
Frances Tiafoe has had a positive year on tour eyeing up a deep run here in New York

Amanda Anisimova stand-out-year

The New Jersey native will turn 21 during this year’s U.S. Open and will be eager to turn some heads. The young prospect has enjoyed a fruitful year on tour, causing huge upsets against Halep and Naomi Osaka. The youngster is lethal on any surface and will implement her aggressive baseline prowess in New York.

The American has punched her ticket to the top with such a standout year and is now ranked no.24 in the world rankings – making her a very promising young American player with the hope of delivering.  

Jessica Pegula reachest top American seed 

Pegula is on the wrong side of her 20s at the ripe age of 28 and does not fit the profile of a bright, young American prospect. However, she has been playing some spellbinding tennis this year and her performance on the court suggests that she could seize a Grand Slam. 

She was a quarter-finalist at the Australian Open and the French Open this year, and she reached the third round at Wimbledon. Her form has cemented a world no.8 spot, making her the highest-ranked American woman in the competition this year. Pegula comes into the U.S Open at +2000 to win it. 

Sleepers

There’s a plethora of very talented Americans still honing their craft on tour, but that talent only gets them so far. Sloane Stephens stands out as a former U.S. Open champion, but has only been past the quarter-final stage at three Grand Slams and has not chalked up a memorable run since 2017. The powerful John Isner with a booming serve has had a fantastic career, but the towering Isner is 37 and his best performances are surely in the rear-view mirror. 

Sam Querrey now falls into the veteran category too, while the likes of Danielle Collins, Shelby Rogers and Jack Sock all fit into the past their prime grouping. Madison Keys, who lost to Stephens in the 2017 U.S. Open final, is now 27, but still has a small window to secure a major title. Madison Keys is not the long-term answer to America’s lack of winners but could paper over the cracks before a superstar emerges.

The most likely contenders to derail the top ten are Reilly Opelka and plucky Tommy Paul. Opelka is the world no.28 while Paul is 33rd respectively in the ATP rankings. Opelka is 6ft 11 ins tall and even blocks out the sun for Isner. Opelka has one of the biggest serves on tour at 140 mph. 

The 24-year-old is gnawing away at a deep run in a Slam – reaching the fourth round of the U.S. Open last year. Paul is 25 and has gone toe-to-toe this year with the very best. He was defeated by British world no. 1 Cameron Norrie in the fourth round of Wimbledon this year and won his maiden ATP title in Stockholm last year.