Australian Open 2012: Predicting the Finishes of Andy Roddick and the Americans

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Australian Open 2012: Predicting the Finishes of Andy Roddick and the Americans
Al Bello/Getty Images

It was the 2003 U.S. Open when this picture was taken. The 21-year-old upstart American tennis star, Andy Roddick, had just clinched match point over Juan Carlos Ferrero.

As he screamed and laid on the ground in celebration, Americans joined in his triumph. With the age of Agassi and Sampras ending, Andy Roddick and his first major championship looked to usher in a brand new era of American tennis.

Eight years and 32 Grand Slam tournaments later, Roddick's major victory total remains at just one. There has been no superstar status, no next great tennis star, just someone who by many estimations has been a failure—and failure is something that American tennis has really not been accustomed to in the past.

Since the beginning of the Open Era in 1968, America has been relevant in the tennis world.

Starting with Arthur Ashe, the first great American modern era tennis star, to the Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe-dominated 1970s and '80s, followed by the reign of Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras in the '90s and early 2000s, American tennis has prospered through the years.

Tennis was always America's game, and when one set of superstars retired, there was always another to take their place. That was supposed to be the case with Roddick, but he never panned out and as a result, American men's tennis has seen a drought in major championship victories.

With work being done to bring tennis back to prominence in America, it is not outlandish to think that a major championship is not that far away. As the 2012 Aussie Open begins, it is time to take a look at the nine Americans (plus two who won qualifying spots) who qualified for this year's draw and each of their chances to advance and possibly bring America that much-desired men's singles crown.

Slideshow order is based on how I am projecting each player will finish, with the earliest projected exits listed at the beginning.

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