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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Why there’s none from US

For a country which has produced players like Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and Jimmy Connors, to name a few, not having a player atop of the ATP rankings for last five years is something difficult to digest. Andy Roddick was the last American to be ranked world No. 1 in 2003, a feat that lasted for just three months.

The country has infrastructure in abundance, has top quality coaches and is the host to one of the biggest Grand Slams. So what’s going wrong?

According to Nathan Thomson, a 25-year-old tennis player from South Carolina, the young generation in the US has failed to live up to the expectations, taking too many things for granted.

“We have the best infrastructure in place, something which each of us is proud of. But what is the use of all these if quality players aren’t produced?” said Thomson, after his easy win in the first round against Indian Abhijeet Tiwari at the ITF Futures at the Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association here on Tuesday.

Thomson feels though the new lot has the potential, lack of effort put in by them to raise their game is disappointing. “Some start off pretty well, but leave the sport after a certain point,” he said. Having shared the court with Roddick on the junior circuit, Thomson says it was Roddick’s hunger to win and passion for the game that has taken him to this level. “We have produced a lot of star players at whom the youngsters could look up to,” said Thomson, adding, “They are too spoilt and have a very casual attitude. You need to be focused to reach the top.”

“It hurts to see players from other countries come and train alongside us and then beat our countrymen,” he said. Thomson is the defending champion at the $15,000 tournament and is seeded second behind Alexander Satshchko of Germany.

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