4 min read
Universal Tennis ambassador Peyton Stearns made her US Open main draw debut this year after winning both the individual and team NCAA Championships.
Universal Tennis followed the 20-year-old for a day while she was getting ready for the Western & Southern Open and her US Open debut. The American takes viewers through her story from when she first picked up a racquet to when she made the decision to turn pro this summer.
Watch the Exclusive Series
In Part 1 of this three-part series, get to know Stearns and her team.
In Part 2, go inside Stearns' success at the University of Texas.
In Part 3, learn why Stearns made the decision to turn pro.
5 Things to Know about Peyton Stearns
1 — Athletic Beginnings
The 20-year-old chose tennis after also excelling in gymnastics as a child. Tennis is a sport she shares with her younger brother, Preston, who will play for Ohio State University this fall.
2 — Ohio Roots
Stearns hails from Mason, Ohio, the home of the WTA 1000 Western & Southern Open. Thanks to a wild card, she appeared in the qualifying event earlier this month and scored her first Top-100 win over Varvara Gracheva before falling in three sets to Taylor Townsend. Her WTA ranking is No. 332 and she has an ITF Tour title under her belt after winning her first W25 last year in South Carolina.
3 — Hook 'Em
For her own college experience, Stearns attended the University of Texas (where her mom Denise went) with the intention of turning pro afterward. Head coach Howard Joffe helped her to balance a pro schedule with her college career at No. 1 in the lineup. She’s now working with Gabriel “Gabi” Trifu, a former ATP pro and Romania's Davis Cup captain.
4 — NCAA Wins
During her freshman year at Texas, Stearns helped the Longhorns win the team NCAA title. In the 2021-22 season, the Longhorns defended their championship and Stearns went one step further by capturing the individual NCAA crown. She turned pro shortly afterward as the No. 1 player in the ITA rankings, the ITA Player of the Year, and the recipient of the Honda Sport Award for Tennis.
5 — US Open Debut
The individual NCAA title landed her a wild card into the main draw of the US Open. Her only previous Grand Slam experience was playing in the qualifying last year. In this year's tournament, she would drop a tight 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 first-round match to Ekaterina Alexandrova.