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It’s Never Too Late
It’s Never Too Late
February 12, 2024

The 2023 Dominance of American Tennis

American Men’s Tennis produces its best year of talent in over two decades as the women remain at the top of the game
Courtesy+of+Sporting+News
Courtesy of Sporting News

2023 has been quite the year for American tennis. This year, fans have witnessed the emergence of new talent while witnessing the continued greatness and comebacks of some of the veterans of the game. Despite a wave of retirements of American players over the last couple of years on both the men’s and women’s sides, there is no doubt that American tennis is not only in good hands but continues to make great strides in the game by writing and rewriting history as we look toward another year.

After two long decades, American men have regained their strong presence on the pro tour. In January, there were 10 American men ranked within the Top 100 of the ATP tour. Now, as the tennis season nears its end, 9 American men still remain in the Top 100, and of the nine, four sit in the Top 20 – ranked 10, 12, 14 and 15 – a first since 1997.

Americans like Tommy Paul, Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe continue to be at the top of the men’s game, where Tiafoe also known to many as “Big Foe” made his Top 10 debut in June following a wave of great success over the last couple of years and at the beginning of the season. Fritz put up a great year as well, winning over 52 matches and claiming two titles on home soil, clinching another year with consistent gameplay.

This year also saw many breakthroughs for some of the veteran American tennis players who’ve managed to secure some pretty big upsets throughout this season. Most notably, in the Australian Open earlier this year, 28-year-old American Mackenzie McDonald managed to defeat the 22-time grand slam champion and then defending Australian Open champion Rafael Nadal in three sets.

In another major breakthrough this year, fans were the witnesses of Christopher Eubanks’ breakthrough over the summer. In April after a great result at the Miami Open, Eubanks entered the Top 100 for the first time and since then, the 27-year-old Atlanta native, who’s been on tour since 2017, had strung together what many would describe as “one of the best summer seasons of his career so far.” Eubanks would go on to secure his first ATP tour level title in Mallorca, Spain in June and then followed it up with a magical run to the quarterfinals of Wimbledon, which is his best result at a major tournament in his career.

Lastly, one young gun made quite the welcoming statement on tour this year. 21-year-old Ben Shelton who made his tour debut in June 2022, soared up the rankings with his big game, flashy and energetic personality. Before the young American made the decision to go pro, he played tennis under the direction of his father, former professional tennis player Bryan Shelton at the University of Florida. During his tenure there, he managed to win the NCAA singles championship in 2022 and helped his team win the NCAA team title in 2021. Shelton’s breakthrough came in Australia in January where he made the quarterfinals for the first time at that tournament and in his career, where he lost to fellow compatriot Tommy Paul. Although he struggled to string together wins throughout the season, something about competing at your home slam brought out the best in the young American’s game. At the US Open, Shelton made it to his first major semifinal where he set up a pretty electric matchup with the eventual US Open champion Novak Djokovic. Despite his loss, Shelton managed to continue his great form, winning his first ATP tour level title in Tokyo on Oct. 22.

As for the women, many continued to show why they are the best in the game. Many feared who would become the next main face of American women’s tennis after Serena Williams’ retirement in 2022, but it’s safe to say American women’s tennis is in great hands with the talented pool of players in today’s game. 19-year-old Coco Gauff and good friend and doubles partner, Jessica Pegula are the two main names dominating the women’s field for the USA this year.

Gauff put up a spectacular year, winning over 4 titles, three of them coming in consecutive tournaments and on home soil. She won her first WTA 500 title in Washington D.C., then her first WTA 1000 title in Cincinnati a week later which led to her maiden, and most coveted title: a grand slam at the US Open. She is the youngest American woman (19 years) to win a grand slam title since S. Williams who won her first major title at 17. On top of her great year in singles, she also managed to have a great year in doubles with her partner Pegula, which led to the pair co-owning the World No.1 ranking in doubles in late September.

For Pegula, she continued her consistent tennis, staying within the Top 10 in singles and doubles and picking up two titles this year in Montreal and in South Korea.

Other American veterans like Madison Keys, Sofia Kenin and Taylor Townsend also put together a great year. In total, there are 16 American women currently in the Top 100 including Peyton Stearns, Kayla Day, Emma Navarro, Caroline Dolehide, and Ashlyn Krueger who made their Top 100 debuts this year. As for Jennifer Brady, Townsend and Kenin, they all are making their comebacks this year after sustaining lingering injuries (Brady, Kenin) and maternity leave (Townsend).

As 2023 ends, many American tennis fans and players alike will be keeping a close eye on many of these incredible performers going into the 2024 season that starts in early January but for now, the tennis community has lots to celebrate.

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About the Contributor
Jessyca Tingue, Managing Editor
Jessyca Tingue is a journalism major from Bay Shore and the current Managing Editor for Compass News. Tingue will graduate this fall and is looking to complete her bachelor’s degree at a school in upstate New York. Taking after her parents in the news industry, Tingue has a strong interest in sports and hopes to work for ESPN or as a writer for a major tennis organization. In her free time, she likes to watch all sports, hang out with friends and family, and watch sunsets at the beach year-round.  A fun fact about Tingue is that she was a freelance writer for the 2022 and 2023 US Open in Flushing Meadows, Queens quoting her experience as "the most surreal experience of her budding career."

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