John Isner, Kevin Anderson, Steve Johnson, Jennifer Brady, Danielle Collins… These are the prime examples that the transition from college tennis to the professional circuit is possible. But these five players aren’t exceptions. They are part of a large group of male and female ex-college players who have shown that a four-year-long college tennis adventure in the United States can optimally prepare you for a career as a professional tennis player.
If college tennis had been a country, it would be the country with the most players within the ATP Top 300: 33 in total. For the Top 200, twenty pros played college tennis. And 120 ex-college players are ranked within the Top 750! On the women’s singles tour, 18 ex-college players find themselves among the best 300 players; and more than 10% of the top 350 female doubles players competed in college.
On the ATP men’s doubles ranking, the numbers are even more telling. 19 of the 100 best doubles players have played college tennis, like Robert Farah, the current world number 1 who represented the University of Southern California, the Bryan brothers, who both played at Stanford University, and German Andreas Mies, who has now won two consecutive Roland Garros trophies. There are also Dutch players who are now active in the professional circuit after competing in college. Jean-Julien Rojer represented the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Paul Haarhuis won all grandslams after competing at Florida State University, and ATP #144 Sem Verbeek played for the men’s tennis team of the beautiful University of the Pacific. But current pros did not only compete at the top American tennis universities. Joran Vliegen and Sam Gille, the 13th best doubles team in the world, competed for East Carolina University and East Tennessee State University respectively.
These numbers show that it is not a must to enter the pro tour directly after graduating high school. Both mentally and physically, men and women develop a lot between the ages of 18 and 23. Universities in the States offer state-of-the-art facilities and resources specifically designed to develop their student-athletes both at these fronts as well as in other areas tallow them to get the most out of their athletic and academic careers. It is also important to realize that in college tennis players, when compared to full-time professional tennis players, practice just as much and play even more matches. At the top tennis universities, the players are even taken to compete in professional ATP/WTA tournaments – all at the costs of the universities!
Did you know that…
- Slamstox tennis players Lodewijk Westrate and Laurens Verboven play tennis and study at the University of Southern California (USC), just like Steve Johnson (ATP #72) and Yannick Hanfmann (ATP #98) did?
- Slamstox tennis player Sander Jong represents the men’s tennis team of Texas Christian University (TCU), where current ATP #71 Cameron Norrie used to play as well?
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