Susan Mullane-US PRESSWIRE
Along with Donald Young, Ryan Harrison is one of the two young stars on America's Olympic tennis team. Harrison, only 20 years old, is coming off his second-round exit at Wimbledon. Harrison lost to Novak Djokovic in three straight sets, but he played a well-fought match, and there is little shame in losing to one of the sport's best.
The men's side of the Olympic team is currently headlined by John Isner, Andy Roddick and the Bryan brothers.
Roddick is the most accomplished of the quartet, but his best days seem to be behind him. He hasn't reached a Grand Slam semifinal since 2009, and he will be 33 at the next Olympics, long past the age in which most tennis players can compete at the elite level.
John Isner has won four ATP events, but for the most part he has been a non-factor in elite international tournaments, only once reaching a Grand Slam quarterfinal. He will also be 31 at the next Olympics, about the latest age that elite players' skills begin to erode.
The Bryan brothers are legends on the doubles circuit, but they are nothing special in the singles' game, and Harrison has much more potential as a singles player than either of the Bryans ever did.
Harrison is not only a promising singles player but also a talented doubles player. He has won two ATP doubles titles, most recently at this past weekend's BB&T Atlanta Open. This skill only increases his chance of winning a medal in Rio.
No American men's singles player has won an Olympic gold medal since Andre Agassi in 1996, and only Mardy Fish has won a singles' medal of any type (silver in 2004). The 2012 team is unlikely to end this drought, but Ryan Harrison will likely be the best hope of Team USA in 2016 and beyond.