WATCH—Court Report from November 29th:
The ATP’s year-end rankings were released this week and there was some very good news for American tennis: 11 American men finished in the year-end Top 100, the most in 15 years.
No. 10 John Isner
No. 33 Steve Johnson
No. 39 Frances Tiafoe
No. 49 Taylor Fritz
No. 51 Sam Querrey
No. 61 Tennys Sandgren
No. 62 Ryan Harrison
No. 63 Denis Kudla
No. 76 Bradley Klahn
No. 78 Mackenzie McDonald
No. 100 Reilly Opelka
The last time there were 11 American men in the year-end Top 100 was in 2003, and you have to go back to last century to find a year-end Top 100 with more American men (there were 12 in 1999).
John Isner, who scored the first year-end Top 10 finish of his career by ending the season at No. 10, was asked during this year’s US Open for his thoughts on the current state of American men’s tennis.
“We have a lot of players in the Top 100. I do think the young Americans are on the rise, too,” the 33-year-old said. “I think Frances [Tiafoe] in particular is doing a good job, slow and steady. I’m a big fan of his. I think as long he continues to improve and do the right things, he’ll be around for a long time.”
Tiafoe, at 20 years old, is the youngest of the 11 Americans in the year-end Top 100, and more than halved his ranking in 2018—he started the season at No. 79 and finished it at No. 39, highlighted by winning the first ATP World Tour title of his career at Delray Beach (as well as another final at Estoril).
“It’s been a really good year for me. I’ve won a lot of matches unexpectedly,” Tiafoe said. “I started the year pretty poorly, but then I started to really enjoy it and take the expectations off. Obviously a ton of young guys my age, Americans, have a lot of expectations—I went back to what I did best, enjoying the sport I love, and whatever happens happens. I’ve been able to play some good tennis doing that.”
Twenty-one-year-old Opelka made his Top 100 debut just in time for the year-end rankings, sneaking in last week—and at 6’11” he’s now tied for tallest Top 100 player in ATP history (with Ivo Karlovic).
The record for most US men in the year-end Top 100 is 45 in 1982. Since ATP rankings began in 1973, there have been 40 or more Americans in the year-end Top 100 six times (1979 through 1984).