Alex Michelsen in action at the 2024 Australian Open.

From the UTR Pro Tennis Tour to the Australian Open, Alex Michelsen Rises up Ranks

Alex Michelsen’s burgeoning career recently took a major step forward. The 19-year-old (UTR Rating 14.82) advanced to the third round at the Australian Open, in only his second Grand Slam appearance.

Before falling to Alexander Zverev (15.79), Michelsen beat James McCabe (14.11) and No. 23 seed Jiri Lehecka (15.22).

“I can't really comprehend all of it," Michelsen told the ATP Tour in Melbourne. "I never really thought two or three years ago that I was going to be in this position. Now that I am here it is really crazy, and I am trying to do my best all the time.”

Michelsen Races into Top 100

Thanks to his impressive result, he jumped up to a new career-high of world No. 73 in the ATP rankings, and now sits at No. 75. He’s the youngest player inside of the Top 100.

Alex Michelsen hits a forehand at the 2024 Australian Open.

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After a 2023 season in which he played a mix of ITF, Challenger, and ATP Tour events, Michelsen has exclusively played on the ATP Tour this year, making the third round in Brisbane and Auckland in addition to the Australian Open, plus a win in Dallas and a near upset of Dallas champion Tommy Paul in the second round of Delray Beach. Notably, he took out former ATP world No. 8 Diego Schwartzman (14.87) in the second round of Brisbane.

From Newport Beach to Next Gen

It’s been a steady progression for the Laguna Hills, California native. Michelsen started playing tennis at age three. He enjoyed a successful junior career, reaching a high of ITF No. 25 in singles and winning the junior boys’ doubles title at Wimbledon in 2022, something he still says is one of his favorite moments.

He got his taste of pro tennis on the UTR Pro Tennis Tour (PTT) in 2021, playing multiple events near home in Newport Beach. He would take a few losses before winning two PTT titles in 2022.

“The way it's structured is great because it’s a minimum of three or four matches, and high-level players come in,” Michelsen told UTR Sports. “When I first played PTT, I got absolutely stumped. The guys were so good. I still got some money, which was cool.”

Alex Michelsen on the UTR Pro Tennis Tour in 2022.

The UTR Pro Tennis Tour was created by UTR Sports (formerly Universal Tennis) in 2021. Each $25,000 PTT event guarantees aspiring professional players prize money and multiple matches. Since 2023, matches have been aired live on Amazon Prime Video. The 2024 calendar so far features 190 events in cities all over the world.

Flying onto the Radar

The 6’4” American was a surprise finalist at Newport, an ATP 250 event, last summer. Ranked No. 190 and just 18 years old at the time, he defeated four ranked players (Maxime Cressy, Mackenzie McDonald, John Isner, and James Duckworth), before falling to Adrian Mannarino in the championship match.

After initially committing to play college tennis at the University of Georgia, Michelsen opted to turn pro. Weeks later, he reached the second round in his Grand Slam debut at the US Open.

Michelsen would end his breakthrough 2023 season on a high. First, he won an ATP Challenger title in Knoxville in October to crack the ATP Top 100 for the first time. He’d qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals, cementing him as one of the best up-and-coming talents in pro tennis.

As 2024 picks up speed, more and more eyes will be on Michelsen as one of the most exciting young players to watch.

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