Red, white and very blue: No US players in top 10 for first time ever

Chris Chase
May 9, 2011

For the first time in the 38-year history of tennis rankings, no American man or woman will be in the top 10.

Recent cold streaks by top American men Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish combined with injuries to the Williams sisters and a dearth of young talent brought upon the ignominious feat, which was made official on Monday when Serena Williams dropped from No. 10 to No. 17 in the WTA rankings.

The men's rankings were created in 1973 and the women's two years later. Since then, an American has been in one or the other in every weekly release.

American men have largely been absent from the top of the rankings since Roddick fell out last summer. Both Roddick and Fish have made brief appearances in the top 10 over the past few months but not long enough to stay for any considerable amount of time.

The younger Williams sister was still in the top 10 despite being idle for the past 10 months, something that's both a testament to her greatness and an indictment of the rest of the talent on tour. Sister Venus has played four tournament in the past year, all Grand Slams. She's currently ranked No. 19.

As Christopher Clarey of the New York Times notes, every player in the men's top 10 hails from Europe. Three-quarters of women in the top 100 reside on that continent as well, compared to 72 men. The U.S. had seven and nine, respectively.

Barring an unexpected return to form for Roddick or a comeback from Venus or Serena, an American-less top 10 figures to become the new normal. None of the American men in the top 90 are younger than 23. The highest-ranked woman not named Williams is Bethannie Mattek-Sands at No. 41.