Only a year ago Andy Roddick joked that one benefit of anchoring the U.S. Davis Cup team was the right to haze Sam Querrey (right), the squad's new hitting partner. A pledge no more, the 6'6" Querrey, 19, has shot up the ATP rankings, rebutting the assertion that the U.S. no longer mints top tennis talent. Having started the year at No. 130, the lanky Californian is now No. 67. Querrey has relied on a typically American game—big serve, big forehand, the occasional volley—to beat a raft of veteran pros and reach the quarterfinals of two events this year. In his last tournament he lost to the estimable Roger Federer by the more-than-respectable score of 6--4, 6--3. "It's been a good year," says Querrey, who was with the Davis Cup team last week not as a hitting partner but as a backup player. "Once I do beat a top 10 guy, it'll boost my confidence."
A late bloomer, Querrey considered playing college tennis at USC. He was dissuaded by his father's cautionary tale. Coming out of high school, Mike Querrey was a sweet-hitting infielder selected by the Detroit Tigers in the fifth round of the 1979 draft. He enrolled at Arizona instead and never made the majors. Not so his son. Querrey the Younger is, unmistakably, already in the Show.