Sam Querrey might be USA’s best chance at Wimbledon

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LEO ALVIN

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  • Sam Querrey might be USA’s best chance at Wimbledon

 

With the attention at Wimbledon having been almost entirely focused on the rivalry between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, there’s been comparatively little talk about a subject that’s always been a major talking point in the tennis world: the chances of an American ending the U.S drought at Wimbledon and taking home the coveted British tournament crown.

Last year, it was almost Andy Roddick who managed it before falling to Roger Federer in a very close final. This year, every American candidate seems to be considered a long-shot, with Rafael Nadal looking unstoppable, and Federer having won six of seven past Wimbledon crowns. But Sam Querrey, 22, is giving some people hope that he might be the one to end the drought.

Querrey cruises at Queen’s

Querrey, already the 21st ranked male player in the world, is considered to be one of tennis’ best prospects. At 6’6’’, he’s able to use his height and reach to control the court in ways many veterans can’t, powerful running along the baseline or charging the net to thwart his opponents.

Recently he rose up to the occasion to win a tournament at Queen’s club in London on June 13th, defeating fellow American Mardy Fish in two sets, 7-6 and 7-5. The win is significant because it’s done on grass courts, which are the same surface used at Wimbledon. The grass courts provide a much faster bounce to the ball and are unlike other surfaces such as clay.

After the match, he made it clear he had his sights set firmly on Wimbledon.

“I'm playing great on the grass, and now I've got a week to practice and regroup," he said.  "I'd love to win Wimbledon. I'm kind of going with baby steps (to) try and make the third round this year, because the second round is the best I've ever done there. It's possible, but I think I've still got some work to do, and there's still some great competitors out there you have to beat to win a Wimbledon title."

Querrey showing better mental composure

Perhaps understandable for such a young athlete, Querrey has seemed to struggle with the mental aspect of the game at times. He professed to being mentally beaten at the French Open, where he lost in the opening round in disappointing fashion.

"I wanted to be off the court," he said that day. "I started thinking about leaving and pulling out of the doubles and how much I wanted to go home, how much I wasn't enjoying it.”

Now after his victory at Queen’s, he says he’s feeling much more relaxed, much more calm after having taken a week off. 

"A lot of times, I get frustrated," he said. "Mainly, I just get angry with myself, start beating myself." Taking a week off has done him well, he said. That was the secret to winning at Queen’s, where his mental composure and relaxation carried the day in a very tough final match against Fish.

"I tried not to let any emotions show," he said. "I stayed level-headed the whole week."

Regardless, he’ll have to face some of the very toughest in the world. He called Andy Roddick, another American hope, a “role model,” and spoke even more highly of Federer, saying he considers him to be the favourite to win the entire tournament.

“Maybe he's lost a little bit of his game but he's still the greatest player ever and the defending Wimbledon champion and the guy that I'm definitely going to fear more than any player,” said Querrey.

But maybe that’ll be the key for Querrey. With the pressure off, Querrey can go out and do what no one has done in years: make America proud at Wimbledon.