Fresh off a tremendous performance in the Australian Open in which three American men reached the quarterfinals, the Americans are surging in the ATP rankings.
Ten are ranked inside the Top 50 in the world, with No. 8 Taylor Fritz topping the list.
“It means U.S. men’s tennis is making big strides,” ESPN analyst Patrick McEnroe said by text. “Now for the next step…top 5 and winning a major.”
An American man still hasn’t won a major since Andy Roddick at the 2003 U.S. Open. Much of that has to do with the fact that three Europeans — Novak Djokovic (22), Rafael Nadal (22) and Roger Federer (20) — have won 64 of 78 major titles dating to Wimbledon in 2003, and 21 of the last 24.
Here’s the full list of Americans in the Top 50:
No. 8 – Taylor Fritz
No. 15 – Frances Tiafoe
No. 19 – Tommy Paul
No. 26 – Sebastian Korda
No. 38 – Jenson Brooksy
No. 42 – John Isner
No. 44 – Ben Shelton
No. 48 – JJ Wolf
No. 49 – Reilly Opelka
No. 50- Brandon Nakashima
Paul, now ranked No. 19, reached his first career Slam semifinal by beating fellow American Ben Shelton in the quarterfinals. Paul then lost in straight sets to eventual champion Djokovic, who beat Stefanos Tsitsipas for his record-tying 22nd major title.
“It’s not just exciting for the American fans, I think it’s exciting for fans all around the world,” Paul said after beating Shelton. “And for us, too. I’m really excited for Ben, I’m excited for all the players that are coming up. ‘Foe made semifinals of the U.S. Open, and now I’m semifinals here.
“So we definitely have a good crop coming up, and I’m really excited for all of us.”
Paul, whose mother owns a farm in South Jersey, had career earnings of about $3.7 million entering the tournament and earned $621,313 for reaching the semifinals.
“It took him years to figure it out,” John McEnroe said on ESPN of Paul. “He had some injury issues along the way, but he’s come together the last couple years and he’s a formidable player now in the men’s game.
“And Ben Shelton, what a talent this kid is. He’s got superstar written all over him.”
Shelton, 20, was playing in just his second major tournament after the U.S. Open, and had never traveled outside the U.S. before. The exuberant left-hander won the NCAA singles championship at the University of Florida last May, and then turned pro before the U.S. Open last summer.
Rising from outside the Top-500 in the ATP rankings, Shelton cracked the Top-100 within just one year and is now at No. 44. That is higher than his father, Bryan, his coach at Florida, who reached a career-high No. 56 in 1992.
Korda, now ranked No. 26, was the third American in the quarterfinals but ended up retiring in the third set with a wrist injury against No. 18 Karen Khachanov, who lost to Tsitsipas in the semifinals.
Djokovic returned to No. 1 in Monday’s rankings, followed by Carlos Alcaraz, Tsitsipas, Casper Ruud and Andrey Rublev.
Nadal, the defending champion who lost to American Mackenzie McDonald in the second round while battling a leg injury, dropped to No. 6.