French Open 2011: The 10 Best American Chances to Take Home the Hardware
After reading this headline, you may be scratching your head.
However, there are some Americans that have a legitimate chance of winning the 2011 French Open.
Most people only think of the able-bodied, singles players of the ATP World Tour and the WTA.
I however, tend to look at every professional tennis player, no matter what their area of expertise.
Bob and Mike Bryan
Bob and Mike Bryan have been the year-end, No. 1 Men's Doubles team in the world, six times since 2003, according to www.bryanbros.com.
They also hold the record for most Men's Doubles titles, at 71 and are closing in on the record of most Grand Slam, Men's Doubles titles. The most recent, was the 2011 Australian Open.
2011 has been a stellar clay-court season for the Bryans, winning the title in Houston, Monte Carlo and Madrid. They also reached the semifinals in Rome.
Let's not forget that the Bryans also frequently play Mixed Doubles at the Grand Slam events. Most recently, Bob won the 2010 U.S. Open Mixed Doubles title with compatriot, Liezel Huber.
The Bryans are looking for a better run at Roland Garros, after their shocking second-round defeat last year, to Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares.
They haven't won the title since 2003, but everything is currently going right for them, from their confidence level, to their results on the court.
Huber is the highest-ranked American in Women's Doubles, at No. 3.
She has been the top-ranked Women's Doubles player, a feat she first accomplished in November 2007, according to www.wtatennis.com.
She is also a U.S. Fed Cup stalwart, helping Team U.S.A. reach back-to-back finals in 2009 and 2010.
Huber won the 2011 Women's Doubles title in Dubai, alongside Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez. Her last Grand Slam title came in 2010, when she won the Mixed Doubles title alongside Bob Bryan.
Bryan was also her partner, when she won the 2009 French Open Mixed Doubles title.
According to the International Tennis Federation, Wagner is currently ranked No. 1 in Quad Singles and Doubles. It's a difficult feat to accomplish one or the other, let alone both, at the same time.
His most recent accomplishment is winning the 2011 ITF World Team Cup quad title for the United States, with Nicholas Taylor.
He competed in the Paralympics in 2004 Athens and 2008 in Bejing, winning two gold, one silver and one bronze medal.
In Grand Slam play, Wagner most recently won the 2011 Australian Open in Quad Singles and was Runner-up in Quad Doubles. He accomplished the same thing, at the 2010 French Open.
He was the Quad Doubles Champion and Singles Runner-up at the 2010 Australian Open and at the 2010 U.S. Open, he was the champion in Quad Singles and Doubles.
With that kind of winning streak, I expect him to hoist the championship trophy, next month.
Vania King may not be a household name to casual tennis fans, but she should be.
King served on this year's Fed Cup team, when the United States faced the Belgium.
King may not be ranked in the top 50 in singles, but she's firmly in the top 10 in Doubles on the WTA Tour, at number six.
King won half of the Grand Slam titles in 2010, teaming up with Yaroslava Shvedova to win the Women's Doubles titles at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, according to USA Today.
When you think of a left-handed tennis player whose favorite surface is clay, it's probably not Nicholas or "Nick" Taylor.
Taylor is ranked fourth, in the International Tennis Federation's Quad Singles and second in Quad Doubles.
His most recent tournament win was in the Quad Division at the ITF World Team Cup, where he partnered with David Wagner.
On the Grand Slam level, Taylor made it to the finals of the Australian Open Quad Doubles.
Bethanie Mattek-Sands is a solid WTA Tour veteran who has been on the Tour since 1999.
She has been a member of the U.S. Fed Cup Team, helping them reach back-to-back finals, in 2009 and 2010.
Mattek-Sands is currently ranked 36 in Singles and 11 in Doubles. She made it to the final in Hobart, losing to Jarmila Groth.
At the Open GDF Suez, she lost to eventual champion, Kvitova, in singles and won the Doubles, with Meghann Shaughnessy. This Mattek-Sands' ninth career doubles title.
In Madrid, she lost to Li Na in the quarterfinals.
This was after defeating former Roland Garros champions, Ana Ivanovic (2008) and Francesca Schiavone (2010) according to the WTA website.
Mardy Fish is the top-ranked American, in men's singles, according to the ATP World Tour website.
As of today, he's ranked No.10, one spot above his good friend and compatriot, Andy Roddick.
Fish and Roddick made it to the Men's Doubles final last week in Rome, after defeating No. 1 seeds, Bob and Mike Bryan. They were forced to withdraw from the final, after Roddick injured his right shoulder.
Fish is no stranger to playing on clay against formidable opponents.
He was part of the U.S. Davis Cup Team that faced Spain, in the 2004 final and in 2010, kept Team U.S.A. in the World Group, in their win over Colombia.
2010 was a breakout year for Fish.
He won back-to-back titles in Newport and Atlanta, and went 28-5 after Roland Garros, according to the ATP World Tour website.
Lisa Raymond is a WTA Tour veteran who became a professional in 1993. She is ranked No. 13 in doubles.
Her breakthrough at Roland Garros came in 1994, when she was a finalist in doubles, with Lindsay Davenport.
In 2006, she teamed up with Samantha Stosur, to take the title, according to the WTA Tour website.
Despite not being ranked in the top 10 in neither singles or doubles, you can never count Raymond out.
John Isner's claim to Grand Slam fame came at Wimbledon in 2010, when his first round match lasted 11 hours and five minutes.
He joined the ATP World Tour in 2007, after playing tennis for the University of Georgia and made his Davis Cup debut in 2010, excelling in doubles, going 2-0.
He has a career-high ranking of No. 18 and won his first singles title in 2010, in Auckland.
In 2009, he showed promise on the clay, making it to the quarterfinals, losing to fellow countryman, Wayne Odesnik. He had to withdraw from Roland Garros that year, due to mononucleosis.
His most recent tournament win came last week in Rome, when he teamed up with Sam Querrey.
Their opponents in the final, Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish, had to withdrawal after Roddick sustained an injury to his right shoulder. Isner and Querrey were finalists in another clay court tournament this year, in Houston.
Also known as "Quisner," Isner and Querrey are currently ranked No. 34 and No. 36, respectively, according to the ATP World Tour website.
Until April 18, 2011, Andy Roddick was the "go to" guy for the United States, in singles. He is now the second highest-ranking American, according to the ATP World Tour website.
Also according to the website, he has won 30 career singles titles and been ranked as high as No. 1 in the world.
He helped the United States capture a Davis Cup title in 2007. It was a first for Roddick and first since 1995 for the U.S.
Clay is Roddick's least favorite surface and he injured his right shoulder last week in Rome.
However, he reached the doubles final in Rome with Mardy Fish, before having to withdraw due to the shoulder injury.
He also finished a personal-best in 2009 at Roland Garros, reaching the fourth round. So his hopes of a deep run at the French Open could be in jeopardy.
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