It has been 20 years since American Andy Roddick won tennis’ U.S. Open, meaning the home of the fourth Grand Slam has gone two decades without a homegrown champion in men’s singles.
Could 2023 be the year that breaks that streak?
Entering the quarterfinals of this year’s tournament, three Americans have advanced, and at least one will be guaranteed to make it to the semifinals.
Americans Frances Tiafoe and Ben Shelton will face each other in the quarterfinals. It’s the first time since 1968 that two Black American men have advanced to the quarterfinals.
The winner of their match may have to face another American. Taylor Fritz will take on tournament favorite Novak Djokovic.
Tiafoe said he is not surprised by the success Americans are having at the event.
“Again, this is a group that had a lot of ability,” he told reporters. “Always had a lot of talent. Guys were doing really well in their age groups growing up. We competed against each other in big matches, juniors, futures, challengers. Now we’re at the top of the game.
“You see guys do certain things, it makes you believe it, right? The guys you grew up with, rubbed shoulders with and stuff, you see them do well, you’re like, Wow, if this guy is doing it, what’s wrong with me? Why can’t I do it? It’s kind of a domino effect after that.”
Fritz said seeing each other’s success is “motivating.”
“Because if one of us does something, the others not only want to do it, too, they now believe that they can also do it because we think we’re as good as each other. If he did this here, then why can’t I?” Fritz said. “I think it’s kind of this progression that we’ve had for a while now, why we’re at where we’re at. Someone achieves something big, then someone else comes and wants to match him or one-up him, and it’s the cycle that keeps going.”
On the women’s side, Americans Coco Gauff and Madison Keys also advanced to the quarterfinals. Gauff, who survived a three-set thriller against Caroline Wozniacki on Sunday, will face Jeļena Ostapenko in the quarterfinals. After defeating fellow American Jessica Pegula on Monday, Keys will take on Markéta Vondroušová on Tuesday.
While Keys and Gauff are both looking for their first Grand Slam titles, Keys has been to the final of the U.S. Open before. Gauff made it to the finals of the French Open a year ago.