Over the years, the French Open has been the most elusive Grand Slam to win for American men — Andre Agassi was the last American to lift Le Coupe des Mousquetaires in 1999 with Jim Courier in 1991-1992, and Michael Chang in 1989 being the only other American titlists in the modern era (Tony Trabert in 1955 was the next most-recent winner).
American women have fared slightly better with Serena Williams winning Le Coupe Suzanne Lenglen in 2002 and 2013 and Jennifer Capriati taking the title in 2001 (Chris Evert won it all in 1983, 1985 and 1986 and Martina Navratilova took it in 1982 and 1984).
Obviously, an American man hasn’t won a single Grand Slam since Andy Roddick’s U.S. Open victory in 2003; Roddick was also the last American man to reach a major final at 2009 Wimbledon.
This trend promises to continue with unseeded Jack Sock being the last American man standing at this year’s French. Sock advances to the fourth round after beating unseeded 18-year old Croatian Borna Coric 6-2, 6-1, 6-4, where 9-time French Open winner Rafael Nadal will be waiting.
Steve Johnson gave a valiant effort, beating 26-seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in Round 1 and Sergiy Stakhovsky in Round 2 before falling to 8-seed Stan Wawrinka in straight sets.
16-seed John Isner was again thought to be the Americans’ best hope but couldn’t get past the second round, losing to Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in four sets. Sam Querrey, Tim Smyczek, Donald Young and 17-year old amateur Frances Tiafoe all lost in the first round.
While the men have faltered in typical fashion, the American women are acquitting themselves rather well in this year’s French Open. While favorite Serena Williams stumbled a bit in her second-round match against Anna-Lena Friedsam, the smart money is still on her to win it all; she will face Victoria Azarenka in the third round.
Sloane Stephens has already scalped 15-seed Venus Williams and will face Tsvetana Pironkova in the third round. 16-seed Madison Keys is playing good tennis and will take on 23-seed Timea Bacsinszky in Round 3, while unseeded Irina Falconi will look to continue her run against unseeded Julia Goerges in the third round.
Should Stephens win, she would have to face Serena in the next round while Falconi would face the winner of 10-seed Andrea Petkovic and 17-seed Sara Errani. If Keys prevails, she would likely meet 4-seed Petra Kvitova in the fourth round.
A total of 17 American women entered the French Open draw with three of them seeded (Serena, Venus and Keys), while just seven Americans entered on the men’s side with only Isner seeded.
Naturally, clay isn’t the surface of choice for American tennis, so let’s hope the women can represent at this very un-American Grand Slam.