There were some first timers among the winners on Sunday.
In the end it was Nishikori who looked as if he were new to finals though and Sweeting was the one lifting the trophy.
Americans will go wherever and whenever the better players aren't regardless of surface
I read this quote on a fanboard and it gave me pause. The fan was talking about the lack of American singles players in Monte Carlo following up the fact that for the third year in a row American men, except for the Bryan twins, are sitting at home for the start of the European clay season. I've also noted lots of fans citing the fact that the Europeans come to the States and play the spring hard court swing but Americans don't play on European clay unless they have to.
It shouldn't be forgotten that the American tennis establishment tried very hard to get rid of Monte Carlo altogether and that the Europeans fought back and saved it. The compromise was that it would keep its status as a Masters 1000 event but no longer be mandatory. That gives Americans the cover they want and need.
this picture back in 2008 showing Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer walking together into Monte Carlo, an image that startled the press at the time. Both men were campaigning for the ATP to leave Monte Carlo alone. Up until this picture was taken it had seemed that Rafael and Nikolay Davydenko were the only ones who were up front about how they felt about the tournament. Click the above link to read what was going on back then.
And just in case you think that the Americans are getting over their clay phobia all you had to do was listen to the commentary during the Houston final. Every chance he got Jimmy Arias was praising "American style tennis" against the more patient style required to play on clay. This went on throughout the match.
It's sad that those who see the need for the United States to get off it's high horse about clay court play have to fight such a hard battle.