Five Things to Watch at Australian Open; Serena Gives Struggling US Hope

The first major of the season, the Australian Open, just started (tonight at 6:30PM ET on ESPN2) and Breitbart Sports has the top 5 things you should look for in the Open.

#1 – Novak Djokovic All eyes will be on the defending champion. He ended 2012 on top, barely squeaking by Roger Federer for the world #1 ranking. Will he be able to win three straight Australian Open titles? No man has done it, but Djokovic could very well be the first.

#2 – American tennis without Andy Roddick No John Isner at the Open is a crushing blow to the United States. The US used to be a dominant force in tennis, but after Pete Sampras and Andre Aggasi retired we’ve never recovered. Our one hope was Andy Roddick, but he never really lived up to the hype. He retired after the 2012 US Open and now Isner is out of the Australian Open. Will any of the Americans at the Open surprise us? We sure hope so.

#3 – Will the top 10 men take advantage with no Rafa? Nadal has not competed since Wimbledon and we thought he would make a return at the Australian Open. He had to pull out due to a stomach flu and this would be a great opportunity for players in the top 10 to make their mark. These include Tomas Berdych, Juan Martin Del Potro, Janko Tipsarevic, and David Ferrer. Berdych and Del Potro cause problems for Federer. Ferrer came out of his shell in 2012 and won his first title. It should not come to a surprise to anyone if any of these men unseat the top 3.

#4 – Roger Federer’s first round Federer is not the player he used to be and he showed it at the US Open and the minor tournaments following it. He will face Frenchman Benoit Paire in the opening round and will most likely face Nikolay Davydenko. It is not expected for either to upset Federer, but they could force the matches to four sets and tire out Federer, which will affect the way he plays against the higher seed players.

#5 – Serena Williams She’s back and defending champion Victoria Azarenka should be worried. Last year Williams lost in the fourth round of the Australian Open and the first round of the French Open. People started to think she was on the downhill, but the second part of 2012 proved otherwise. She won Wimbledon and the US Open along with the gold medal at the Olympics. While the US may lack men in tennis we still have Serena Williams to bring us glory. Hopefully she finishes higher in the 2013 Australian Open.

As the table at the end of this story shows, US Tennis has been through an incredible transformation. From 1989 to 1997, the US grabbed 18 men’s titles from four different champions, while the only women’s title in the nine years was from Martina Navratilova after she changed her citizenship. In the next six years, the US Women suddenly surpassed the men with 16 titles in just six years, including a sweep of the 2001 and 2002 Grand Slam events by three different US Women. That stretch ended with great hopes that Andy Roddick would carry the torch for Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi.

However, Roddick has now retired at the end of a stretch during which neither he or any other American won a title. In fact, the Williams sisters are the only Americans who have won any title in the last nine years, with Serena Williams looking for her 11th title in 10 years in Australia, and Venus Williams adding two. Here are the five things to watch followed by a breakdown of US winners and all winners since 1989.

 

Year US Men US Women US Champions by Grand Slam
1989 1 0 Chang FR
1990 1 1 Sampras US, Navratilova WM
1991 1 0 Courier FR
1992 3 0 Courier FR & AU, Agassi WM
1993 3 0 Courier AU, Sampras US & WM
1994 3 0 Sampras AU & WM, Agassi US
1995 3 0 Sampras US & WM, Agassi AU
1996 1 0 Sampras US
1997 2 0 Sampras AU & WM
9 years 18 1  
1998 1 1 Davenport US, Sampras WM
1999 3 2 Agassi FR, US, Sampras WM, Davenport WM, SWilliams US
2000 2 3 Agassi, AU, Davenport AU, Sampras WM, VWilliams US, WM
2001 1 4 Agassi AU, Carpiati AU & FR, V Williams US & WM
2002 1 4 Carpiati AU, Sampras US, S Williams FR, US, WM
2003 2 2 Agassi AU, Roddick US, S Williams AU & WM
6 years 10 16  
2004 0 0 None
2005 0 2 S Williams AU, V Williams WM
2006 0 0 None
2007 0 2 S Williams AU, V Williams WM
2008 0 2 S Williams US & WM
2009 0 2 S Williams AU & WM
2010 0 2 S Williams AU & WM
2011 0 0 None
2012 0 2 S Williams US & WM
9 years 0 12
And here are all of the Champions since 1989
Year Country Champ Slam Event Gender
1989 Czech Ivan Lendl Australian Men
1989 USA Michael Chang French Men
1989 GER Boris Becker US Open Men
1989 GER Boris Becker Wimbledon Men
1989 GER Steffi Graf Australian Open Women
1989 Spain Arantxa Sánchez Vicario French Women
1989 GER Steffi Graf US Open Women
1989 GER Steffi Graf Wimbledon Women
1989   1 US Men, 0 US Women    
1990 Czech Ivan Lendl Australian Men
1990 ECU Andrés Gómez French Men
1990 USA Pete Sampras US Open Men
1990 SWE Stefan Edberg Wimbledon Men
1990 GER Steffi Graf Australian Open Women
1990 YUG Monica Seles French Women
1990 Argentina Gabriela Sabatini US Open Women
1990 USA Martina Navratilova Wimbledon Women
1990   1 US Men, 1 US Women    
1991 GER Boris Becker Australian Men
1991 USA Jim Courier French Men
1991 SWE Stefan Edberg US Open Men
1991 GER Michael Stich Wimbledon Men
1991 YUG Monica Seles Australian Open Women
1991 YUG Monica Seles French Women
1991 YUG Monica Seles US Open Women
1991 GER Steffi Graf Wimbledon Women
1991   1 US Men, 0 US Women    
1992 USA Jim Courier Australian Men
1992 USA Jim Courier French Men
1992 SWE Stefan Edberg US Open Men
1992 USA Andre Agassi Wimbledon Men
1992 YUG Monica Seles Australian Open Women
1992 YUG Monica Seles French Women
1992 YUG Monica Seles US Open Women
1992 GER Steffi Graf Wimbledon Women
1992   3 US Men, 0 US Women    
1993 USA Jim Courier Australian Men
1993 Spain Sergi Bruguera French Men
1993 USA Pete Sampras US Open Men
1993 USA Pete Sampras Wimbledon Men
1993 YUG Monica Seles Australian Open Women
1993 GER Steffi Graf French Women
1993 GER Steffi Graf US Open Women
1993 GER Steffi Graf Wimbledon Women
1993   3 US Men, 0 US Women    
1994 USA Pete Sampras Australian Men
1994 Spain Sergi Bruguera French Men
1994 USA Andre Agassi US Open Men
1994 USA Pete Sampras Wimbledon Men
1994 GER Steffi Graf Australian Open Women
1994 Spain Arantxa Sánchez Vicario French Women
1994 Spain Arantxa Sánchez Vicario US Open Women
1994 Spain Conchita Martínez Wimbledon Women
1994   3 US Men, 0 US Women    
1995 USA Andre Agassi Australian Men
1995 AUT Thomas Muster French Men
1995 USA Pete Sampras US Open Men
1995 USA Pete Sampras Wimbledon Men
1995 FRA Mary Pierce Australian Open Women
1995 GER Steffi Graf French Women
1995 GER Steffi Graf US Open Women
1995 GER Steffi Graf Wimbledon Women
1995   3 US Men, 0 US Women    
1996 GER Boris Becker Australian Men
1996 RUS Yevgeny Kafelnikov French Men
1996 USA Pete Sampras US Open Men
1996 NLD Richard Krajicek Wimbledon Men
1996 YUG Monica Seles Australian Open Women
1996 GER Steffi Graf French Women
1996 GER Steffi Graf US Open Women
1996 GER Steffi Graf Wimbledon Women
1996   1 US Men, 0 US Women    
1997 USA Pete Sampras Australian Men
1997 BRA Gustavo Kuerten French Men
1997 Australia Patrick Rafter US Open Men
1997 USA Pete Sampras Wimbledon Men
1997 Switz Martina Hingis Australian Open Women
1997 CRO IvaIva Majoli French Women
1997 SUI Martina Hingis US Open Women
1997 SUI Martina Hingis Wimbledon Women
1997   2 US Men, 0 US Women    
1998 Czech Petr Korda Australian Men
1998 Spain Carlos Moyá French Men
1998 Australia Patrick Rafter US Open Men
1998 USA Pete Sampras Wimbledon Men
1998 Switz Martina Hingis Australian Open Women
1998 Spain Arantxa Sánchez Vicario French Women
1998 USA Lindsay Davenport US Open Women
1998 CZE Jana Novotná Wimbledon Women
1998   1 US Men, 1 US Women    
1999 RUS Yevgeny Kafelnikov Australian Men
1999 USA Andre Agassi French Men
1999 USA Andre Agassi US Open Men
1999 USA Pete Sampras Wimbledon Men
1999 Switz Martina Hingis Australian Open Women
1999 GER Steffi Graf French Women
1999 USA Serena Williams US Open Women
1999 USA Lindsay Davenport Wimbledon Women
1999   3 US Men, 2 US Women    
2000 USA Andre Agassi Australian Men
2000 BRA Gustavo Kuerten French Men
2000 RUS Marat Safin US Open Men
2000 USA Pete Sampras Wimbledon Men
2000 USA Lindsay Davenport Australian Open Women
2000 FRA Mary Pierce French Women
2000 USA Venus Williams US Open Women
2000 USA Venus Williams Wimbledon Women
2000   2 US Men, 3 US Women    
2001 USA Andre Agassi Australian Men
2001 BRA Gustavo Kuerten French Men
2001 Australia Lleyton Hewitt US Open Men
2001 CRO Goran Ivanišević Wimbledon Men
2001 USA Jennifer Capriati Australian Open Women
2001 USA Jennifer Capriati French Women
2001 USA Venus Williams US Open Women
2001 USA Venus Williams Wimbledon Women
2001   1 US Men, 4 US Women    
2002 SWE Thomas Johansson Australian Men
2002 Spain Albert Costa French Men
2002 USA Pete Sampras US Open Men
2002 Australia Lleyton Hewitt Wimbledon Men
2002 USA Jennifer Capriati Australian Open Women
2002 USA Serena Williams French Women
2002 USA Serena Williams US Open Women
2002 USA Serena Williams Wimbledon Women
2002   1 US Men, 4 US Women    
2003 USA Andre Agassi Australian Men
2003 Spain Juan Carlos Ferrero French Men
2003 USA Andy Roddick US Open Men
2003 Switz Roger Federer Wimbledon Men
2003 USA Serena Williams Australian Open Women
2003 BEL Justine Henin French Women
2003 BEL Justine Henin US Open Women
2003 USA Serena Williams Wimbledon Women
2003   2 US Men, 2 US Women    
2004 Switz Roger Federer Australian Men
2004 Argentina Gastón Gaudio French Men
2004 Switz Roger Federer US Open Men
2004 Switz Roger Federer Wimbledon Men
2004 BELG Justine Henin Australian Open Women
2004 RUS Anastasia Myskina French Women
2004 RUS Svetlana Kuznetsova US Open Women
2004 RUS Maria Sharapova Wimbledon Women
2004   0 US Men, 0 US Women    
2005 RUS Marat Safin Australian Men
2005 Spain Rafael Nadal French Men
2005 Switz Roger Federer US Open Men
2005 Switz Roger Federer Wimbledon Men
2005 USA Serena Williams Australian Open Women
2005 BEL Justine Henin French Women
2005 BEL Kim Clijsters US Open Women
2005 USA Venus Williams Wimbledon Women
2005   0 US Men, 2 US Women    
2006 Switz Roger Federer Australian Men
2006 Spain Rafael Nadal French Men
2006 Switz Roger Federer US Open Men
2006 Switz Roger Federer Wimbledon Men
2006 FRA Amélie Mauresmo Australian Open Women
2006 BEL Justine Henin French Women
2006 RUS Maria Sharapova US Open Women
2006 FRA Amélie Mauresmo Wimbledon Women
2006   0 US Men, 0 US Women    
2007 Switz Roger Federer Australian Men
2007 Spain Rafael Nadal French Men
2007 Switz Roger Federer US Open Men
2007 Switz Roger Federer Wimbledon Men
2007 USA Serena Williams Australian Open Women
2007 BEL Justine Henin French Women
2007 BEL Justine Henin US Open Women
2007 USA Venus Williams Wimbledon Women
2007   0 US Men, 2 US Women    
2008 SRB Novak Djokovic Australian Men
2008 Spain Rafael Nadal French Men
2008 Switz Roger Federer US Open Men
2008 Spain Rafael Nadal Wimbledon Men
2008 RUS Maria Sharapova Australian Open Women
2008 SRB Ana Ivanovic French Women
2008 USA Serena Williams US Open Women
2008 USA Serena Williams Wimbledon Women
2008   0 US Men, 2 US Women    
2009 Spain Rafael Nadal Australian Men
2009 Switz Roger Federer French Men
2009 Argentina Juan Martín del Potro US Open Men
2009 Switz Roger Federer Wimbledon Men
2009 USA Serena Williams Australian Open Women
2009 RUS Svetlana Kuznetsova French Women
2009 BEL Kim Clijsters US Open Women
2009 USA Serena Williams Wimbledon Women
2009   0 US Men, 2 US Women    
2010 Switz Roger Federer Australian Men
2010 Spain Rafael Nadal French Men
2010 Spain Rafael Nadal US Open Men
2010 Spain Rafael Nadal Wimbledon Men
2010 USA Serena Williams Australian Open Women
2010 ITA Francesca Schiavone French Women
2010 BEL Kim Clijsters US Open Women
2010 USA Serena Williams Wimbledon Women
2010   0 US Men, 2 US Women    
2011 SRB Novak Djokovic Australian Men
2011 Spain Rafael Nadal French Men
2011 SRB Novak Djokovic US Open Men
2011 SRB Novak Djokovic Wimbledon Men
2011 BELG Kim Clijsters Australian Open Women
2011 CHN Li Na French Women
2011 Australia Samantha Stosur US Open Women
2011 CZE Petra Kvitová Wimbledon Women
2011   0 US Men, 0 US Women    
2012 SRB Novak Djokovic Australian Men
2012 Spain Rafael Nadal French Men
2012 UK Andy Murray US Open Men
2012 Switz Roger Federer Wimbledon Men
2012 BELAR Victoria Azarenka Australian Open Women
2012 RUS Maria Sharapova French Women
2012 USA Serena Williams US Open Women
2012 USA Serena Williams Wimbledon Women
2012   0 US Men, 2 US Women  

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