2005_09sagagassi.jpgIn this era of tennis that does not see American men or women dominate the sport, the United States Open has struggled to maintain its appeal to American sports fans. The casual observer, whose fandom has made the US Open's popularity soar, has paid attention n the past because Americans have been winning. They don't appreciate the genius of Roger Federer or the deceiving power of Justine Henin-Hardenne. No longer can the USTA rely on the likes of the now-retired Pete Sampras and the aging Andre Agassi to make a run at the Open title each year to keep these fans attached.

The American media have long hyped Andy Roddick as the next American star, but his game lacks the dominance of Sampras or the precision of Agassi. His first-round exit at this year's tournament and inability to win the big match against the best players show how much work American tennis's one-time golden boy needs. Donald Young, the 16-year old sensation from Chicago, also lost in the first round, and it will not be long before he takes over the spotlight.

Yes, James Blake, Andre Agassi and the Williams sisters are through to the third round. But which one of them will reach even the semifinals? For tennis fans, the US Open is still a great event. But for the American sports fans, something may be missing.