After a dry spell that lasted through virtually the entire 2010s, American men’s tennis has begun to make up for lost time. Last March, Taylor Fritz became the first U.S. man in 21 years to win at Indian Wells. Then Frances Tiafoe became the first U.S. man in 15 years to reach the US Open semifinals last September.
At the Australian Open in January, Sebastian Korda, Ben Shelton and Tommy Paul became the first trio of American men to reach the quarterfinals in 23 years, with Paul reaching the semis in the process. A week ago, Fritz became the first American male in the ATP top five in 14 years — and there are currently 10 American men in the top 50.
There might actually be greater depth on the men’s side than the women’s at the moment, which feels jarring to say. But No. 3-ranked Jessica Pegula and No. 6 Coco Gauff, who made the French Open final last year, appear close to a first Slam title in 2023. Meanwhile, veterans Madison Keys and Danielle Collins aren’t far from a top-15 standard. Then there’s a trio of early-20s youngsters — Amanda Anisimova, Alycia Parks and Caty McNally — who have flashed increasing potential in recent months.
The BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, kicks off on Wednesday, and the ATP and WTA tours briefly blend together. Now’s a good time to take stock: Which Americans on both tours are playing the best tennis right now? Who has the best chance of doing damage in March and beyond?
Here are the 10 best American tennis players, men and women, at this very moment.
1. Jessica Pegula
WTA ranking: 3
Tennis Abstract ranking: 5
2023 record (vs. top 50): 13-4 (7-4)
Not even Iga Swiatek has made the quarterfinals of five of the past six Slams like Pegula has. But Swiatek has proved to be a big obstacle for the 29-year-old: Pegula is 2-12 lifetime against the world No. 1, and 1-5 over the past year.
Pegula stomped Swiatek 6-2, 6-2 in the United Cup, and Swiatek responded with a one-upping 6-3, 6-0 win in Doha. Any chance Pegula has of crossing “Slam title” off her to-do list — it’s basically the only thing that remains unchecked — will require both the steadiest possible play and a potential Swiatek upset. It hasn’t worked out just yet, but Pegula remains the best American tennis player.
2. Coco Gauff
WTA ranking: 6
Tennis Abstract ranking: 8
2023 record (vs. top 50): 11-3 (5-3)
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