Â By Zack Goldman
Flushing Meadows, New York is the mecca of American tennis, a location where the names Connors, McEnroe, Sampras, and Federer require neither foreword nor elucidation. For two weeks in late August and early September, all eyes in the sporting world lock firmly on the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the site of the annual U.S. Open, the fourth and final Grand Slam tennis tournament of the calendar year. And players like Ryan Thacher â08 venture from all corners of the globe to battle it out against the best tennis has to offer.
Last week, Thacher reached the last sixteen in the Junior Boysâ singles competition of the Open.
After making quick work of Australiaâs Jared Easton, 6-2, 6-1 in the tournament’s first round, Thacher met seventh seed Stephane Piro of France. Despite Piroâs high ranking, Thacher yet again won without dropping a set, defeatingÂ Piro 6-4, 6-3.
Thacherâs next test, though, caused him problems and Great Britainâs Daniel Evans grinded out a 6-4, 7-6 (3) victory that ended the left-handerâs run in the tournament.
Following his runner-up performance at this yearâs 2007 Boysâ Under-18 National Championships in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Thacher was granted a qualifying wild card in the Menâs Singles competiton at this yearâs U.S. Open, but opted to be inserted in the Juniors draw instead.
ThacherÂ is considered the USTAâs number one Juniors prospect and one of the next great hopes for American tennis, analysts from Sports Illustrated and the Los Angeles Times alike have said. He has drawn just as much praise for his character, maturity, and intelligence off the court as his prowess on it.