The USA win the inaugural United Cup in emphatic style, beating Italy 4-0. But what does
this mean for their chances throughout the rest of the year, and will the American
domination of Wimbledon return?
The first edition of the United Cup, an outdoor hard-court tournament representing the opener to
the 2023 tennis season, has seen dominant displays from Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe, Jessica Pegula
and Madison Keys crown America as inaugural champions.
The tournament, which took place in Australia, serves as the ATP and WTA’s counter to the Davis
Cup and exists under a similar format. Countries are placed into groups of three, with the team
finishing top qualifying for the knockout stages. Five matches are played between the two nations,
consisting of two men’s singles, two women’s singles and concluding with a mixed doubles.
The winners of each of the six groups pass through to the quarter finals. In these slightly unusual
quarter finals, the three victorious teams immediately passed to the semi-finals, with the highest
scoring loser from the quarter finals making up the last semi final spot (this went to Italy after they
lost three matches to two against Poland).
American route to victory
If one word describes the American capture of the United Cup, it would have to be dominant.
Throughout the tournament American players only lost two matches. The US team won both their
semi-final and final without losing a single match and the supposed second string singles players
Frances Tiafoe and Madison Keys won all five of their matches played throughout the tournament,
with both only dropping one set; Tiafoe also picked up a mixed doubles win with Jessica Pegula.
Taylor Fritz and Pegula both went four and one in matches, with Fritz losing to Brit Cam Norrie and
Pegula losing to former Wimbledon Champion and Centre Court favourite Petra Kvitova. It is worth
noting that after this loss in her first match, Pegula didn’t drop another set in her singles.
Despite his loss to Norrie, Fritz continued in the fine form he showed at the end of 2022, also not
dropping a set outside of his match to Norrie. Fritz claimed multiple high-ranking players as victims
in America’s run to the title including Alexander Zverev, Hubert Hurkacz and Matteo Berrettini, his
huge serve proving troublesome even for the highest ranked players.
Fritz and Pegula also made a fearsome mixed doubles pairing winning all three of their matches
But the American domination doesn’t stop there
Despite the devastating injury suffered by Emma Raducanu at the Auckland Open, there was another
young player who stamped her authority on the sport in the lead up to the Australian Open. The USA
team once again demonstrated their extreme depth of talent when Cori Gauff won the Auckland
Open. Gauff came out victorious over Rebeka Masarova in straight sets 6-1 6-1, to cap off a truly dominant
tournament, one in which she didn’t drop a single set.
Does this success mean that American players will once again be the main draw at Wimbledon?
American success this early on in the tennis season can only be a good sign for American tennis fans,
as the stars of the United Cup team look to make a dent in the rest of the tennis calendar, especially
at the year’s most prestigious major, Wimbledon.
American players have always had a great history at Wimbledon, with some of the tournament’s
greatest champions heralding from across the pond.
Martina Navratilova of the US, holds the most Wimbledon titles in history with nine. Navratilova
won her first Wimbledon in 1978, defending the title the following year. She then went on to win the
title six consecutive times between 1982 and 1987, before winning her ninth in 1990.
American women also had great success in the years immediately after the Second World War,
winning thirteen straight titles between 1946 and 1958, whilst tennis great Billie Jean King was
hugely successful at Wimbledon, winning six Championships in the 1960s and 70s.
More recently the Williams sisters have shared twelve Wimbledon titles between them, with Serena
winning seven (the second most in the Open era) and Venus winning five.
Despite this history of dominance, the last time an American woman won Wimbledon was in 2016,
when Serena Williams beat Angelique Kerber in straight sets.
However, the recent success of the American team would suggest a return to the age of American
dominance and perhaps this will be the year we see an American woman lift the trophy at
Wimbledon. Make sure you don’t miss it and secure your Wimbledon tickets at Wimbledon
And the men?
While the ladies title at Wimbledon hasn’t been won by an American since 2016, the American
men’s barren spell has lasted even longer.
Much like with the ladies’ title, the gentlemen’s title at Wimbledon for years was dominated by the
Americans, with Pete Sampras winning seven titles in eight years. Sampras’ first title in 1993 was
also preceded by an American victory with Andre Agassi picking up the 1992 title.
Before Sampras and Agassi, John McEnroe won three Wimbledon titles in 1981, 1983 and 1984. In
between McEnroe’s three victories , Jimmy Connors also took the title back to the US.
Despite this, Sampras’s victory in 2000 remains the last time an American man won Wimbledon,
although Andy Roddick did come close on three occasions, all three times losing out to the great
Time for the new generation to stand up on Wimbledon Centre Court
With the success of the US tennis team at the United Cup this looks to be the US’s best chance of
reclaiming one of the main titles at The Championships.
Out of the four players that participated in the United Cup, three of them had their best
performances at Wimbledon in 2022.
Keys, Gauff and Pegula all stand a great chance of having deep runs at Wimbledon.
Tiafoe’s success at the US Open last year makes it likely that he will kick on to be a contender, but
America’s main hope in the male half of the draw will be Taylor Fritz, who came devastatingly close
to making the finals in 2022 only losing out to Rafael Nadal in the quarters.
Fritz’s big serving style should suit Wimbledon perfectly. Make sure you get the best tickets in the
house to witness live his potential success at Wimbledon in 2023, he’s bound to be one of the big
names this summer.
It looks to be exciting times to be a fan of American tennis.