Sandgren Completes Meteoric Rise To Top 100
Everyone takes a different path to the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings. No journey is alike. There is no road map or blueprint to follow. All players make the ascent on their own terms and while some have to overcome steeper learning curves, each holds a unique story to be told.
On Monday, Tennys Sandgren made his Top 100 debut, vaulting to No. 100 following a semi-final finish at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Prostejov, Czech Republic. For the 25-year-old American, it has been quite the journey to the milestone, but should come as no surprise considering his impressive rise over the past year.
"It's been a goal of mine for as long as I can remember," Sandgren told ATPWorldTour.com. "To get to the Top 100, even just once, and have that distinction. It was something I looked at coming into the year and to get there within six months is a little faster than I thought. It was something on my radar as a possibility. It feels really good. I just want to keep getting better and we'll see how far I can take my game."
Top 100 Debuts In 2017
Sandgren has endured a long and arduous journey following hip surgery in 2014, and his rise to the upper echelon of the game is even more remarkable considering he was at No. 330 in the Emirates ATP Rankings just one year ago. His jump of 230 spots - the third-largest to the Top 100 in the past 52 weeks - has come on the heels of breakthrough performances on the ATP Challenger Tour.
Buoyed by four finals on home soil, including titles on the hard courts of Tempe and clay of Savannah, Sandgren has soared into the spotlight. Moreover, he has proven that success on the Challenger circuit not only builds confidence and cultivates a winning mentality, but is reflected in the Emirates ATP Rankings itself.
"I've learned a lot and grown a ton on the Challenger Tour," Sandgren added. "Playing a lot of matches this year and now being healthy enough to play Challengers every week has been big. It's extremely high level tennis out here. All the time. It's been great for my game and something that everyone has to go through.
"I've been doing the right things and focusing on the things I can control. I was in a place where I knew if I could take care of that, I could reach the Top 100 and beyond."
Following years of hard work and persistence on the ATP Challenger Tour, Sandgren made his ATP World Tour debut two months ago in Houston and earned a main draw wild card at Roland Garros. He is just the third player since 2000 to debut in the Top 100 having never won a tour-level match, joining Farrukh Dustov and Thomas Schoorel. Despite falling in the first round at both events, he is eager to continue cutting his teeth at the tour-level.
"I'm excited. I'm in the Newport main draw and we'll see about Atlanta, but that's going to be close. It will be nice to play some new events and against tougher opponents. It's a new experience, but something that I'm really excited about and looking forward to."
Sandgren is just the sixth former University of Tennessee player to crack the Top 100 in singles, joining the likes of Paul Annacone, Mel Purcell and Chris Woodruff. Having played primarily in the U.S. since turning pro in 2011, he is encountering new experiences at every turn. After competing on the clay of Caltanissetta, Italy, this week, Sandgren will make his pro debut on grass in Ilkley, England. It will be his first grass-court tournament since Wimbledon juniors in 2009.
"We'll see how it goes. I picked my schedule to stay on clay a couple extra weeks, just because I feel like I'm playing well on clay and I'm not sure what to expect on the grass. We'll see how it goes, but it's always great to have these new experiences."
All we have is the pursuit of happiness- the work of striving towards ever changing and expanding goals pic.twitter.com/YIWBnM7phm— Tennys Sandgren (@TennysSandgren) June 11, 2017