At Indian Wells: the tall Americans step up

John Isner

In Indian Wells, there will be some terrific hardcourts matches. It is dancing in the streets in the ATP and WTA 1000s.

Two of U.S. men are seeded: Reilly Opelka and John Isner. The tall man Isner has gone deep there a few times. Opelka hasn’t done that yet, but over the past year, his game has improved enough to make a move in the desert.

Both want to show that their backhands are decent, but not great and have improved with more consistency and with variety. Their returns need to jump up a level. Of course, they can crack their forehands.

Isner has been around for a long, long time, and his serve and his forehand are rattling, but his backhand at the net can be mediocre. He has tried, but not improved enough, which is why he has never reached the finals at the Grand Slams.

There other American men are not in the top 32, but some have pushed up towards into the top 50. Marcos Giron could reach into the top 50 pretty soon. He is aggressive and now he believes in himself.

There are a lot of the Americans who are talented, but can they crack into the top 10 next year? If so, then right now, they should be able to show all the fans in the biggest stadium in California, such as Taylor Fritz, Sebastian Korda, Frances Tiafoe, Mackenzie McDonald, Tommy Paul, Jenson Brooksby and Brandon Nakashima.

Serena Williams isn’t here, nor is Sofia Kenin, both of them were hurt in September. But there are a few women who possibly can go very deep, such as Cori Gauff, Daniela Collins, Jessica Pegula (who just beat Sloane Stephens), and Jennifer Brady

The teenager, Gauff, starts out great in the first three to four rounds, but when after that, she has been a little bit tired, mentally. Physically, she can play for hours, but at times, she overthinks. It is true, though that Serena when she started to play in 1997, she was good, but not great, yet. She admits that. But two years later, she rose way up, thinking and learning constantly. At the 1997 US Open, she won it, her first Grand Slam. After that, she won 22 more major titles, which is phenomenal.

Gauff can eventually win a Slam, but she has yet to win a gigantic tournament, especially one like Indian Wells.

Perhaps Pegula can continue to beat the top players, as does Collins. They have to continue to change it up and develop more weapons.

It would be surprising that some other good Americans can win it all, but there are some people who are digging it like Amanda Anisimova. She has not played that great this year, but the 20-year-old become more self-consistent and thoughtful over the past month.

Canadian Leylah Fernandez reached the US Open final, running fast and she goes for it a lot. She loves to hit it on court and kiss the lines. Young players have to be aggressive, and Fernandez is a great example of that.

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