Thursday, December 30, 2010

TTA? Looks Back #11: They'll always have the Serbia Open

The last entry before we enter top-10 land on the 2010 retrospective.

For years, before there was even a Tennis Talk, Anyone?, I always thought that American men should be able to succeed on the red dirt in Europe. But before 2010, the last time one of them had won a singles title on it was in 2003, when Andy Roddick won in Austria.

That was a far cry from the days of former French Open champs Andre Agassi, Jim Courier and Michael Chang--and even French semifinalist Pete Sampras. And speaking of those '90s stars, the last time there was an all-American final on European clay was in 1991, when Agassi and Courier squared off for the French.

See, to me, it should be simple for guys to have success over there: Hit big serves, then hit big forehands, then you can work your way through a draw. It finally happened when two of the game's biggest hitters--Americans John Isner and Sam Querrey--used that philosophy to get to the finals of the Serbia Open. Querrey won the title in three sets over his doubles partner for the week--breaking the seven-year winless streak.

Both of the guys played a lot on the dirt over the season and had varying degrees of success. But if that Serbia Open was any indication, there's no reason they--and other U.S. men--can't have more of it in the future.