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Tough Call: Will an American Man or Woman Win Roland Garros in the Next Five Years?

Every week Tennis Channel and Tennis.com will be introducing a Tough Call around a thought provoking topic - and our panel of experts will chime in both on-air and online. Be sure to join the discussion, weigh in on our polls, or comment on Facebook and Twitter using #TennisToughCall.

Here is this week's edition of Tough Call. Will an American Man or Woman Win Roland Garros in the Next Five Years?

Ready, set, go....

3 REASONS AN AMERICAN WILL WIN ROLAND GARROS IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS
- Serena Williams isn’t here this year but she’ll probably be back next year, and she’s been one of the best, if not the best, women’s player on clay over the last five years.

- There are more Americans who’ve shown potential on clay who could fill the void left by Serena - like Venus Williams, Jack Sock, John Isner, Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens.

- Four American men and seven American women have won the French Open in the Open Era, so even if there’s a drought, the US is bound to taste success here again.


3 REASONS NO AMERICAN WILL WIN ROLAND GARROS IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS
- Serena Williams is supposed to be back next year but will she win here again?

- Only one other active American player, male or female, has even been past the quarterfinals here, and that was Venus Williams - she did it once, 15 years ago.

- Other than Serena, the last American to win Roland Garros was Jennifer Capriati in 2001, and the last American man to do it was Agassi in 1999. It’s getting harder…


OUR EXPERTS WEIGH IN

Ed McGrogan: YES
How about this year? In a decimated women’s draw, I think Venus Williams has as good a chance as anyone, even at age 36. But there’s still hope after Venus, and her sister Serena, eventually leave the sport. Madison Keys has the best chance—her massive serve and giant forehand move through the clay much like the Williams sisters’ shots—and it’s also worth watching the progress talented U.S. teens CiCi Bellis, Kayla Day and Amanda Anisimova. While we have no way of predicting their future, I think one of them is going to strike it big. (As for the men’s side? I’m not anywhere near as confident.)

Stephen Tignor: NO
On the women's side, Madison Keys has a puncher's chance, but she has a much better one at Wimbledon. The most likely to succeed is still Serena Williams, who will be 36 if and when she plays in Paris again. Among the men, Jack Sock, who likes clay, is the leading candidate, but he just lost in the first round. So while the U.S. has contenders, a French title within the next five years seems like a long shot.

Nina Pantic: NO
Given how the American men are doing in Paris right now, it's a stretch to expect a Roland Garros champion anytime soon, and certainly not within five years. The women have a better chance, but with so much European talent on the tour—and with a much stronger affinity for dirt—expect only the occasional deep run, perhaps from Madison Keys. U.S. progress on clay has been made, given the overall improvement in results, but there's still a lot of catching up to do.

Brad Kallet: NO
The only American that I could really see winning any major—let alone Roland Garros—in the next five years is Serena Williams, but clay is the 35-year-old’s weakest surface. Could Jack Sock or Madison Keys win the French Open? Perhaps, but if they triumph at a Slam it will more likely happen in Melbourne, Wimbledon or New York. Venus is another candidate, but she’s never won the French and is running out of time.

Ashley Ndebele: YES
Absolutely. Jack Sock for example. His game is tailored for clay. Yes, he lost early this week in Paris but if we’re talking 5 years, he can absolutely lift the trophy in Roland Garros. Madison Keys is another one who can triumph there. Besides, Americans are starting to adapt to clay, so there’s a strong chance this new crop of players can rise up on clay in the next coming years

Steve Flink: NO
Five years is an eternity in tennis. I hope I am wrong, but I don't believe an American man or woman will prevail at Roland Garros over that time span.

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About Tough Call:

Every week Tennis Channel and Tennis.com will be introducing a Tough Call around a thought provoking topic - and our panel of experts will chime in both on-air and online. Be sure to join the discussion, weigh in on our polls, or comment on Facebook and Twitter using #TennisToughCall.

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