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It's been over 19 years since an American man has won a major championship, an unfathomable time for a nation that has dominated the pro tennis landscape for much of its existence. There have been many debates and discussions about how to correct that discrepancy, but if you look closely you'll notice a positive trend developing. American men's tennis is on the rise.

With nine Top 50 players, many of whom are young and not even at the beginning of their peak years, the tide is clearly changing. One man responsible for that is former player turned development guru David Nainkin, and he joined Kamau Murray to discuss how this group of US males has made progress towards major success. Podcast - David Nainkin Podcast - David Nainkin

Nainkin has worked with the USTA for several decades now, and he worked notably with Mardy Fish and Sam Querrey during some of their best seasons. But he readily admits that sometimes identifying talent is much easier than developing it into a standout professional player.

Murray brings this point up in the recent run of good play by three Americans that are all familiar with each other in Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe and Tommy Paul. Each has had a career-year, but they were also branded as having technical flaws that could be hazardous to their futures.

"You just try to identify areas of focus where they can improve. I remember what we used to hear about Taylor Fritz is that his movement might stop him from being in the top 10. Well, he's in the Top 10," Nainkin lamented. "Frances had unconventional strokes. I think everyone kept an eye on it but never did they dismiss him. It's tough to really dismiss anybody with work ethic, love for the sport, and can handle pressure."


At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (held in 2021 due to COVID-19), Nainkin assumed the role of Olympic tennis coach. As he explained to Murray, it was a tremendous honor, but one of the most peculiar scenes he's ever been a part of. There were no fans and the atmosphere was quiet. Yet the desire to win and compete for one's country intensified.

"What really stood out to me were the first round doubles matches, and the urgency and the desire and competitiveness of all these players to try to win a medal," the coach recalled. "One match that really stood out to me was Frances Tiafoe and Rajeev Ram playing first round against Rublev and Khachanov. They were on the back courts with nobody watching, and it's some of the greatness I've ever seen. And there's no clapping."

The Olympics was the perfect setting and reward for Nainkin, who helped make it possible for a lot of the players on his roster to have this opportunity. He provided the instruction, they took it to heart and put the work in, and a lot of dreams are being realized.


This conversation takes you behind the development of some of your favorite American tennis stars. Nainkin serves as the lead men's national coach for the USTA, so he has a lot to say about what he looks for in players and how he can help them improve.

Kamau Murray is the perfect interviewer for such an intricate tennis discussion, and this podcast will leave you feeling optimistic about the current the state of American tennis, and the potential for future grand slam winners.