If you’re looking through the men’s singles draw for the 2020 US Open, you might come across some former collegiate men’s players — 14 to be exact. Each of the 14 left a legacy at their school and in the greater scope of college tennis.
In honor of the US Open kicking off today, we are highlighting their legendary collegiate careers that prepared them for this moment.
Steve Johnson | University of Southern California
Steve Johnson’s collegiate career is the stuff of legends. Johnson anchored the Trojans to four consecutive NCAA Team Championships and collected two NCAA Singles Championships for himself. He closed out his career with USC on a 72 match win streak. Over the course of four seasons, Johnson was named an ITA All-American seven times. He was named the ITA Player of the Year in his final two seasons.
Johnson has finished the past six seasons ranked in the Top 100. He currently sits at No. 63 heading into the US Open.
John Isner | University of Georgia
Georgia tennis and John Isner go hand in hand. As a senior, Isner led the Bulldogs to a perfect 32-0 record and the program’s fifth NCAA Team Championship. Isner left Athens holding the school records for career singles, career doubles, and career combined wins. In the fall of his senior season, Isner won the ITA All-American Doubles Championships and the ITA National Indoor Doubles Championships.
As a professional, Isner has continued his excellence. He is one of three men to end each of the last 10 years ranked in the top 20 and with 30+ wins. He has won 15 ATP Tour titles. Heading into the US Open, Isner is ranked No. 21.
Thai-Son Kwiatkowski | University of Virginia
A linchpin in the Cavaliers’ three straight NCAA Team Championships. Kwiatkowski capped off a legendary collegiate career by winning the NCAA Singles Championships his senior year — the fourth singles title in program history. In addition to the NCAA national championships his senior year, Kwiatkowski helped Virginia to the ITA National Team Indoor Championship.
The 2020 US Open will be Kwiatkowski’s first tour-level event since the resumption of the ATP Tour. He will be seeking his first tour-level win at the Open.
Dominik Koepfer | Tulane University
During the four years Dominik Koepfer spent at Tulane, he set records and recorded firsts for the Green Wave. At the end of his collegiate career, Koepfer held the singles season winning percentage record and was second in career singles wins and career overall wins. He was named the ITA National Men’s Senior Player of the Year — a first for the program. Koepfer also became the first Tulane player to be ranked No. 1 in the Oracle ITA Singles Rankings.
In 2019, Koepfer made his Grand Slam debut at Wimbledon. During the 2019 US Open, he reached the fourth round after upsetting No. 18 Basilashvili. Koepfer broke into the Top 100 after his US Open run — he was one of six former collegiate players who finished inside the Top 100 in 2019.
Marcos Giron | UCLA
Marcos Giron’s debut at the US Open came in 2014 when he earned a wild card into the Grand Slam after winning the NCAA Singles Championships. Giron’s national championship made him the 11th Bruin to win the NCAA Singles title. He was named the ITA National Player of the Year and an ITA Singles All-American for the second consecutive year.
After Giron made his debut at the 2014 US Open, he did not play another tour-level match until qualifying for 2018 Los Cabos. Giron reached a career high ranking of No. 101 after qualifying at Cincinnati.
Maxime Cressy | UCLA
In his final season with the Bruins, Maxime Cressy alongside Keegan Smith brought home the 14th NCAA Doubles title in UCLA history. Cressy’s senior season was outstanding. He held a 15-4 singles record and a perfect 26-0 doubles record. The Bruin was named an ITA All-American in singles and doubles. He finished his collegiate career ranked No. 17 in singles and No. 1 in doubles.
Cressy will make his tour-level singles debut at the 2020 US Open. He is currently ranked No. 163 which is a career record.
Cameron Norrie | Texas Christian University
British standout Cameron Norrie set numerous records during the three years he played for the Horned Frogs. Norrie finished his collegiate career ranked No. 1 in the Oracle ITA Singles Rankings — a first for the program. After going 21-1 at the No. 1 singles slot his junior season, Norrie also claimed TCU’s season singles winning percentage record. Norrie holds the men’s singles title at the inaugural Oracle ITA Masters. He was named an ITA Singles All-American all three years. In his final season, he was named the Big 12 Player of the Year — another first for the program.
Since leaving Fort Worth, Norrie has reached as high as No. 41. He broke the top 100 following a run to the Lyon semifinals in 2018.
Jason Jung | University of Michigan
Jason Jung spent four years playing for the University of Michigan where he finished ranked fourth in career doubles wins and third for most doubles wins by a freshman. Jung was awarded the prestigious ITA Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award his junior season for his outstanding play and leadership.
The US Open will be Jung’s first tour-level event since the resumption of the ATP Tour. He goes into the event ranked No. 120.
Brandon Nakashima | University of Virginia
Nakashima only spent one season with the Cavaliers before turning pro, but he made the most of his time. He was named the ACC Freshman of the Year becoming only the 6th Cavalier to earn the honor in the program’s history. During the NCAA team tournament, he won all three of his singles matches and all four of his doubles matches.
He made the decision to turn pro in December of 2019. He made his ATP Tour debut reaching the quarterfinals at 2020 Delray Beach. Nakashima turned pro ranked No. 368. He currently sits ranked No. 220.
Kevin Anderson | University of Illinois
In 2006, Kevin Anderson and Ryan Rowe became only the third Illinois duo to capture the NCAA Doubles Championship. The following year the pair fell just short of repeating their doubles title falling to Middle Tennessee State duo Marco Born and Andreas Siljeström. In addition to his deep runs in the individual NCAA Championships, Anderson led the Illini to the finals of the team competition in 2007. Over the span of his collegiate career, Anderson was named an ITA Singles All-American three times and an ITA Doubles All-American twice.
Since turning pro, Anderson has won six titles and reached the finals of both Wimbledon and the US Open. He reached the finals of Wimbledon after a marathon semifinals match against John Isner that lasted six hours and 36 minutes — the second longest match in Grand Slam history. After advancing to the 2018 Wimbledon finals, Anderson reached a career-high No. 5 ranking. Heading into the 2020 US Open, he ranks No. 124.
Mackenzie McDonald | UCLA
Not only did Mackenzie McDonald etch his name in the UCLA record books — he left his mark on the NCAAs as well. In his final season with the Bruins, McDonald won not only the NCAA Singles Championships, but also the NCAA Doubles Championships with Martin Redlicki. He became the first men’s player to sweep the NCAA individual titles in 15 years. He finished his collegiate career ranked No. 1 in the singles and doubles Oracle ITA Rankings. McDonald was named an ITA All-American in singles for three straight years.
Coming off his NCAA titles, McDonald was awarded a wildcard into the 2016 US Open. Heading into the 2020 US Open, McDonald is ranked No. 269. His highest career ranking is No. 57 after reaching the third round in Barcelona in 2019.
J.J. Wolf | The Ohio State University
J.J. Wolf was a force to be reckoned with for the Buckeyes. During his junior, and final, season in Columbus, Wolf posted a singles record of 35-2 which included an undefeated 11-0 record in conference play. Wolf started his career with OSU as the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and ended it as the Big Ten Player of the Year. Before finishing his career as a Buckeye, Wolf won the school’s first ITA Men’s All-American Singles Championship and was named an ITA All-American in singles.
Wolf turned professional a little over a year ago in July of 2019. After qualifying at ATP Masters 1000 Cincinnati, Wolf reached a career high ranking of 143.
Tennys Sandgren | University of Tennessee
The list of accomplishments during his college career isn’t short for Tennys Sandgren. From ITA Player to Watch to ITA All-American in singles, Tennys anchored his name in the Volunteer history books. In 2011, he was selected as a member of the USTA Summer Collegiate Team along with his teammate Rhyne Williams. He captured his first professional singles title at the Godfrey Futures by taking the day over Rudy Siwy.
On the ATP Tour, Tennys has achieved a career-high of No. 41 after winning the Auckland title. During that match he didn’t drop a set. He was most recently in the Australian Open quarterfinals.
Bradley Klahn | Stanford University
Leaving his mark on the college tennis landscape in 2010, Bradley Klahn etched his name in Stanford men’s tennis history when he captured the 2010 NCAA Singles Championship. He was the school’s first champion since 2000. That was only his sophomore year. Bradley was an ITA Scholar Athlete, an ITA All-American in singles and doubles, and a fierce competitor. Now, he’s on tour and will play in the US Open this week.
Ranked 128 in singles, Bradley has achieved so much success while on tour. As reigning NCAA Singles champion, he made a tour-level debut at the 2010 US Open as a wildcard. His first biggest win of his career came in 2012 as he defeated Jurgen Melzer in five sets. The US Open will be his first tour-level event since resumption of the ATP Tour.