American tennis stuck in the mud after 2023 French Open

American Coco Gauff at the French Open
Coco Gauff of the U.S. reacts after missing a shot against Russia’s Mirra Andreeva during their third round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Saturday, June 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

After another French Open has come and gone without an American singles player in the semi-finals, the early momentum from a strong run of form at the start of the 2023 tennis season is beginning to fade. 

On the women’s side, Coco Gauff was able to make the quarterfinals of the French Open after advancing to the finals last year, but she, again, lost to world number one Iga Swiatek. The loss dropped her down one in the WTA rankings to seventh in the world.  

Fellow American Jessica Pegula also dropped two spots in the WTA rankings, down to fifth in the world, after losing in the third round of the French Open to Belgian Elise Mertens. 

Madison Keys also dropped three spots to 23rd, Sloane Stephens dropped eight spots to 38th, and Shelby Rogers dropped 13 spots down to 47th. 

The American women had just a small bit of good news with Bernarda Pera climbing nine spots up to 27th in the world after losing in the fourth round of the French Open to 6th-ranked Ons Jabeur. 

American Jessica Pegula at the French Open
FILE – Jessica Pegula, of the U.S, serves against Italy’s Camilla Giorgi during their second round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, May 31, 2023. The group that runs the French Open tennis tournament has hired an artificial intelligence company to monitor players’ social media accounts in a bid to try to protect athletes from cyberbullying. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File)

Things were no better on the men’s side. 

The two highest-ranked American men both lost in the third round of the French Open; however, both held their rankings with Taylor Fritz staying 8th in the world and Frances Tiafoe holding firm at 12th

Tommy Paul gained one spot to 16th in the world, Sebastian Korda dropped one spot to 31st, Ben Shelton gained one spot to 35th, and both Maxime Cressy and J.J. Wolf gained five spots to 40th and 45th respectively.

However, since tennis rankings work by awarding points based on how you did in a tournament as compared to your last showing at that tournament, all of Cressy, Wolf, and Shelton were helped by being young players who didn’t compete at the previous French Open. 

All three men lost in the first round of this year’s tournament at Roland Garros. 

While the poor performance at the French Open is not surprising as Americans have tended to do poorly on clay in the past, the result is still disappointing. Many of the American men and women are hovering around the top ten in the world and have had strong showings at various tournaments but nobody can seem to put forward the consistent effort to challenge to be a world number one or a potential Grand Slam champion. 

Fortunately for American tennis, that wasn’t the case on the doubles side as Austin Krajiceck won the French Open men’s doubles title on Saturday with his teammate, Croatian Ivan Dodig. It’s just the sixth time in the last 30 years that a French Open men’s doubles championship team has featured an American and it was the first since Ryan Harrison won in 2017. 

The win moved Tampa, Florida native Krajieck to the top of the doubles rankings as the number-one player in the world. He’s the 20th American man to rank number one individually in doubles with Rajeev Ram having done it just last year. 

American Taylor Townsend was also in the doubles finals on Sunday, her second Grand Slam final since taking time away to give birth to her son in 2021, but she and Leylah Fernandez of Canada fell short in three sets

With the ATP and WTA tours moving to the grass court season ahead of Wimbledon in July, it’s looking like it could be a long summer for American tennis singles. 

The early tournaments have not given American men and women strong odds to compete. 

Upcoming American tennis odds

Mackenzie McDonald (ranked 68th) is just +5000 to win the Hertogenbosch ATP event and a first-round underdog against 87th-ranked Ilya Ivashka (all odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook)

Alison Riske-Amritraj is +2800 to win the women’s side of Hertogenbosch with Venus Williams coming in at +5000. At the WTA event at Nottingham, Alycia Parks is just +1400 to win.

Things don’t get much better when you look at early Wimbledon odds. 

Despite being 8th in the world, Taylor Fritz has the 12th-best odds to win the tournament at +2800 and Frances Tiafoe trails four Americans ranked lower than him with just +6500 odds to win Wimbledon in 2023. J.J. Wolf, Brandon Nakashima, Tommy Paul, and Ben Shelton are all at +5000. 

On the women’s side, Coco Gauff currently has the fifth-best odds at Wimbledon at +1200 to win the tournament, while Jessica Pegula is at +2000 and the next American doesn’t appear until Alycia Parks and Danielle Collins come in with +4000 odds. 

For things to turn around for American tennis, somebody is going to have to surprise the tennis world this summer. 

For more tennis coverage, visit amNY Sports

American Frances Tiafoe at the French Open
Frances Tiafoe of the U.S. returns the ball to Germany’s Alexander Zverev during their third-round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Saturday, June 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)