Alex Michelsen : In the big league

3 min. reading
Published on 11/20/23

The youngest American player to break into the ATP Top 200, Alex Michelsen is the new jewel of American tennis. Standing at just 1.93 meter tall, the 19-year-old Californian has officially launched his professional career in 2023, leaving university to takeoff on the ATP circuit. A difficult choice, but one that has paid off, as he is now ranked 112th in the world - and that's just the beginning.

Alex Michelsen began his tennis career by hitting backhands in his garage at the age of 3. Surrounded by his parents, both former college tennis players, the choice of tennis wasn't always so obvious. The Californian has also played baseball and soccer, like his favorite athlete Lionel Messi. Baseball was a sport in which he did rather well, but as he approached adolescence, Michelsen had to decide: he gave up soccer and then baseball to concentrate fully on tennis: "I preferred to choose tennis because I find it much more enjoyable than most sports, and above all because I'm a very competitive person". Apart from tennis, his greatest passion is coin collecting. He owns over 10,000 various coins. Equally passionate about science fiction, his favorite book is Harry Potter, and his favorite movie is Star Wars.

Taking advantage of the experience of his mother, a retired teacher who played tennis at San Diego State University, he trained with her every day until he was 15. He then gradually made his debut on the U.S. junior circuit, distinguishing himself with his super-powerful serve and ease of mobility for his tall stature. "It's fun, but it's hard," the player said of tennis "Nothing good in life comes easy, you have to work for it."

A motivating speech that will push him to reach two junior Grand Slam doubles finals in 2022, including one title. Doubles is almost as important as singles for the Americans, and the boys' doubles victory at Wimbledon in July 2022 with Sebastian Gorzny in the junior ranks is one of the most significant results of Alex's early career. Indeed, he reckons the title had an impact on his young career: "Holding a Wimbledon trophy, even as a junior, was super cool for me. I never thought it would happen. It's by far my favorite moment in tennis."

He will end this 2022 season by reaching the final in Winston-Salem and winning his first title in East Lansing on the future circuit, the third echelon of professional tennis.

"I try to stay humble as much as possible."

He then continued his progress on the challenger circuit, where he reached his first final in February 2023, losing to another Team Babolat player, Jordan Thompson. His first tournament on the ATP circuit took place a few weeks later in Majorca. But it was on American soil that he won his first Challenger title, in Chicago. An important title for the player, but there was no question of him being satisfied with that, as the following week he took part in his second ATP Tour main draw, in Newport. Beating defending champion Maxime Cressy in the first round, then four-time Newport winner John Isner in the semi-finals, he eventually lost to Adrian Mannarino in the final. He is the youngest American to reach an ATP Tour final at 18 years and 10 months since Taylor Fritz at 18 years and 3 months. After these two tournaments, he has risen from 250th in the world to 140th.

Then came the moment of choice. Enrolled at the University of Georgia, one of the top 5 universities in the country, to continue his studies while playing tennis, Alex and his entourage quickly realized the potential his career could have if he concentrated totally on it. He decided to put his university season on hold at the start of the American tour, where he would take advantage of a wild card to play in his first Grand Slam tournament at the US Open 2023 on his favorite surface. A highly rewarding experience for the young American, who won his first Grand Slam match against Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the first round.

With a record of 18 wins and 9 losses on the Challenger circuit in 2023, and some landmark victories on the ATP circuit, young Alex Michelsen is continuing his progression on American soil. He has played in 3 Challenger tournaments since the US Open, enabling him to qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals. His dazzling progress this season has opened the doors to this prestigious tournament, where he will be hoping to shine armed with his Pure Aero.

Team babolat pro players may play with a customized or different model than the equipment depicted.

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