The tennis state of the union is . . . incomplete. On the second day of the U.S. Open, more than one individual legislative agenda naturally was at work.
The highest-ranked American men, John Isner and Sam Querrey, won without incident. The wildly erratic Donald Young, evoking his top-50 days as opposed to his current No. 157, breezed. Jack Sock, still only 20, prevailed.
This evening, 14-year tour veteran James Blake might play his last match, if he can't delay his announced retirement by beating 6-9 Croatian Ivo Karlovic.
Early Tuesday, an 18-year-old with braces, Collin Altamirano of Sacramento, played his first pro-level tournament match -- on the strength of having just won the national 18-and-under title -- and was taken apart by 22nd seed Philipp Kohlschreiber in straight sets.
"I can learn a lot from being here," said Altamirano, who is entering his senior year of high school. "It's obviously a big step up."
But that's a story for farther in the future. Meanwhile? "I don't really feel any extra pressure to perform well because I am currently the No. 1 American," said the 28-year-old Isner, currently No. 17.
That last year's Andy Roddick retirement threw much of the U.S. focus on Isner; that another potential up-and-comer, Ryan Harrison, immediately was dismissed from the Open by Rafael Nadal on Monday "doesn't change what I do," Isner said. "It's kind of selfish, but I'm focusing on myself. I just want to go as far as I possibly can."
There was no hint of galumphing around by the 6-10 Isner Tuesday in a cleanly played 6-0, 6-2, 6-3 victory Italy's Filippo Volandri, ranked 101st. Isner served 16 aces, won 82 percent of his first-serve points and saved the only two break points he allowed Volandri.
Querrey, the No. 26 seed, didn't begin to separate himself from Argentina's Guido Pella, ranked No. 90, until the third set, then cruised, 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-1, 6-2. He acknowledged the departures of Roddick and (soon) Blake, as well as Mardy Fish's ongoing issues with physical and psychological problems.
"Bummed to see James leave," Querrey said, "and, hopefully, Mardy can come back. But, for the time being, you can sense the tide has kind of changed. You know, it's what happens. Guys get older."
For his part, Querrey said, he wants to "do a better job of enjoying the process" of training and playing. "I feel no added pressure."
Clearly, the U.S. men are weary of addressing the where-have-all-the-American-Slam-champions gone question. Harrison, asked if he was losing faith in his possibilities after the loss to Nadal, shot back, "I'm 21 years old. If I lost faith in my career at this point, that would be pretty embarrassing. So, no."
Young, whose faith has seemed to waiver at times, battered 46th-ranked Martin Klizan of Slovakia, 6-1, 6-0, 6-1. And Sock beat German Philipp Petzschner, ranked 163rd, 7-6 (2), 3-6, 5-2 (retired).