When it comes to winners of Grand Slam events like the U.S. Open, today’s young tennis fans probably know no one but Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and Rafael Nadal. But there once was a time when Americans dominated the men’s tennis scene. It raises the question: Who was the last American man to win the U.S. Open? The answer may surprise you.
The last American man to win the U.S. Open
To find not just the last American man to win the U.S. Open, but also the last American man to win a Grand Slam event, we must go back to the 2003 U.S. Open. This was when Andy Roddick emerged victorious, defeating Juan Carlos Ferrero in the finals. Roddick may be more well-known these days for being model/actress Brooklyn Decker’s husband. But during his prime, he was a great tennis player.
Pete Sampras’s retirement took place at that year’s U.S. Open — ironic as he was the last major American male tennis player. Only Andre Agassi came close to Sampras during that time. Roddick was only 21 in 2003, near the start of his career. In the two years prior, he’d fallen in the quarterfinals at the hands of Sampras. Roddick’s 2003 win was an emotional one. With tears in his eyes, Roddick held his face in his hands.
Andy Roddick’s career
Neither Roddick nor any other U.S. men’s tennis player has won a Grand Slam since. Roddick went to two more U.S. Open finals and lost both times to Federer. USOpen.org summarizes some of Roddick’s career highlights since his 2003 win: He would finish “No. 1 in the world (in 2003), reach five Grand Slam singles finals, win 32 ATP titles and rank in the Top 10 each year from 2002 to 2010.”
Roddick won more than $20.5 million in prize money during his career. He had a career win-loss record of 612-213 with a Grand Slam record of 131-45. In 2007, he led the U.S. to the Davis Cup championship. Roddick finished behind only John McEnroe for most singles victories in U.S. Davis Cup history.
While Roddick has failed to win a Grand Slam since his 2003 triumph, he’s clearly had an unbelievable run as one of the world’s best tennis players not named Djokovic, Federer, or Nadal.
Who will be the next American man to win?
No Americans on the current landscape occupy the pole position of men’s tennis. There are a few, however, who may be able to bring the U.S. Open back to the U.S.:
While John Isner is no spring chicken at 34, he’s currently ranked No. 14 in the world. The 6-foot-10 athlete has won 15 ATP titles in his career, so a Grand Slam upset win would be surprising but not shocking.
Taylor Fritz is ranked No. 28 in the world. The 21-year-old has only been a pro since 2015, winning his first title this year. He has plenty of time to come up big at a major event.
Reilly Opelka, ranked No. 42 overall, also won his first ATP title this year. He’s only gone 27-31 overall in his career but does have a promising 3-3 record against top 10 opponents.