As Novak Djokovic ended his year with a bang after bagging yet another year-end No. 1 ranking for a record-extending eighth time, one other player also ended his year on a high note when he managed to skyrocket from rank 760 to 99 in just one year: Alex Michelsen.

Who is Alex Michelsen?

Alex Michelsen, an American tennis player hailing from Laguna Hills, California, is a 19-year-old kid who’s taking the tennis world by storm. Much like Ben Shelton, Michelsen also saw a massive improvement in his play this year. And his latest feat, winning his second Challenger title of the year in Knoxville, Tennessee, is what catapulted him to his current ranking of 99.

Michelsen’s backstory

Back in mid-July, the ATP tour shared the then 18-year-old Michelsen’s backstory.

In the piece, it was revealed that Michelsen followed in the footsteps of his parents, Erik and Sondra, who both played college tennis. Michelsen recounted throwing backhand strikes at his family’s garage door at the age of three, a gesture that has since become one of his most effective weapons on the court.

In his childhood, Michelsen got involved in different sports: tennis, baseball, and soccer. But as he approached his teens, he ultimately had to choose between the three. 

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“I chose tennis. And I find it way more enjoyable than most sports,” Michelsen said. 

And this proved to be an excellent decision for Michelsen, as he dominated the scene as early as 18 years old. Even former No. 4 Brad Gilbert was left astounded when he witnessed the teen’s skills and compared him to Japan Open Champion Ben Shelton.

“He’s going to finish the year Top 100 and he’s going to be into the Aussie Open. But his game is completely different [from] Shelton, who had a big serve and kind of flies around the court.”

And just like an angel of prophecy, Gilbert back then foresaw what would happen today: Michelsen finishing the year in the Top 100. 

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Cover Photo: IG

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