4 min read
It’s been a memorable summer for 18-year-old Alex Michelsen (UTR Rating 14.96). The teenager, who has plans to start at the University of Georgia this fall, reached the final of the ATP 250 in Newport, RI, unseeded and very under the radar.
But if you’ve been following the UTR Pro Tennis Tour, you know Michelsen’s name.
Rising Rapidly on Tour
Michelsen’s first taste of pro tennis actually came on the UTR Pro Tennis Tour in 2021. The UTR Pro Tennis Tour, also known as the PTT, is a developmental tour created by Universal Tennis to help aspiring pros succeed by getting multiple competitive matches and guaranteed prize money each week.
After a few tough losses on the PTT in the summer of 2021, Michelsen won his first title in Newport Beach to ring in the new year 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 said. “When I first played PTT, I got absolutely stumped. The guys were so good. I still got some money, which was cool.”
Racking Up the Titles
In November of 2022, he won his first ITF M15 title, in East Lansing, and then closed out the season with his second PTT Newport Beach crown. Committing to a full ITF schedule in 2023, he added another M15, in Edmond, OK in January.
"I’ve just has been getting steadily better and the matches have helped me through that," Michelsen said. "It's close to home too. I live 20 minutes from Newport Beach, so it's nice."
He really picked up momentum in July, traveling overseas to qualify for his first ATP 250 in Mallorca (losing to Christopher Eubanks). He then beat former top ATP pro Kei Nishikori to win his first ATP Challenger in Chicago.
Finding His Stride on Grass
On the grass courts of Newport, competing at the home of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Michelsen picked up more incredible wins, taking out Maxime Cressy, James Duckworth, Mackenzie McDonald, and John Isner before falling to Adrian Mannarino.
"This week was probably the best week of my life tennis-wise," Michelsen said in his runner-up speech.
His ranking is up to No. 140 on the ATP Tour and his UTR Rating is at an all-time high of 14.96 (he started the 2022 season with a UTR of 13.32). With the US Open in his sights next, Michelsen will have some decisions to make about playing for the Bulldogs this coming college season or turning pro. Either way, he's already made some friends on tour.
“First and foremost, he’s a nice kid. I’ve gotten to know him a little bit. He’s very nice,” said fellow Bulldog Isner. “I think he’s got a great future ahead of him."