As I watched John Isner plod through another loss in his Lost Year, I thought the problem with American tennis is that American juniors are being trained in America. Look at the Big 4, all of them with the exception of Nadal were trained outside their native countries. Djokovic left Serbia for Germany, Murray left Scotland for Spain, and Federer was a dual-national who trained in South Africa and was molded by an Australian coach. What going abroad does for a young junior in his training and maturation is make him fully understand the gravity of his calling. He/She is being groomed for greatness. One doesn't hang out in McDonald's or P.F. Chang's in Bradenton or try to mine gold on the streets of New York City. Even Nadal, who was trained pretty much in isolation on Majorca, was estranged from the swirl of the buzzing junior world. This way a player develops his/her game and personality (winning way) without the drum of his native culture, media and peers. The goal is greatness and not to be the No. 1 player in his country for his age group. Even the Williams sisters trained outside their native state, father Richard moving the girls to Florida when they were still in their formative years. He didn't enter them into junior tournaments, an unheard of move and very unpopular with the mainstream USTA path, and he even kept them out of the clutches of the Nick Bollettieri Academy. Train for greatness and bring the young charge out of his element and make him/her develop a strong character that is worldly and not provincial. When you look at an Isner, Querrey or Harrison, you see three very American-bred young men. All of them seem to be more big boys than mature young men. They're nice guys, intelligent to a degree, but there's a naive and immature streak in all of them and particularly when they play overseas, they seem lost and powerless. I think it takes a strong independent streak to make it in this global game. You can be coddled as a pro basketball player, but not as a pro tennis player. And while other countries like Sweden once, and now France and Serbia, seem to gain strength through their players' togetherness on tour, the Americans all seem divided. I would ship off all the young Americans to train and live overseas, as a group preferably, whether it's Spain or Germany or wherever there's a strong training center and good coaches, and get them out of Boca and Carson. They need to develop in a foreign land where their senses and hunger for success is sparked. They need to gain some worldliness, maturity and perspective
. Everything is too comfy and predictable in the good ole USA and so the results are also soft.