Alex Michelsen caps debut season at Next Gen ATP Finals
In his first season as a professional, 19-year-old Alex Michelsen broke into the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings and qualified for the Next Gen ATP Finals, a year-end tournament that brings together the best young talent on the men's tour.
The American's breakout season included a pair of Challenger titles in Chicago and Knoxville, Tenn., as well as a semifinal run at the ATP 250 in Newport, R.I. That success earned him an eighth-place finish in the ATP's Race To Jeddah, good enough for a place at the Next Gen Finals.
While Michelsen did not advance out of group play at the 21-and-under event, he competed in three matches and gained invaluable big-stage experience against fellow rising stars like Luca Van Assche and eventual Jeddah champion Hamad Medjedovic, both of whom the American pushed to a fifth-set tie-break.
In addition to the competition on the court, Michelsen also participated in several fun off-court activities, including a guessing game with items from the 1990s and tour of Jeddah's old city.
"I think going through the old city last night [in Jeddah] was a pretty crazy experience for me. I've never seen anything like it, I've never been anywhere close to this part of the world," the American said in a Q&A with ATPTour.com.
"I was seeing all the culture and historic buildings and I was like, 'Whoa!' That was a really crazy experience for me. I was kind of sitting there in awe for a couple hours. I’ve never done that, I've never just sat in awe for that long."
In that same Q&A, Michelsen discussed his friendship with fellow American tennis player Learner Tien, his video-game skills and his love for the NFL's Seattle Seahawks. He also revealed his three dream dinner guests. Among them was George Washington, for one very simple reason: "Because he started America, the greatest country ever!" he said with a laugh.
Michelsen will hope to continue his swift rise in 2024. After making his Grand Slam debut in a second-round showing US Open this year, his Top 100 ranking—should he sustain it—could see him earn direct entry to the all four majors this season.