Tennis has been around for centuries, and throughout that time it has seen a number of players from all over the globe reach the pinnacle of their sport. Nevertheless, if you want to be a top athlete, you’ll have to give up other things in your life, like going to college.

Because of the time and energy spent practicing, traveling, and playing tennis professionally, most of the famous tennis players we know and love were unable to give their studies the attention they deserved.

On the other hand, there have been a number of successful professionals in recent years who played tennis at the collegiate level before going on to star on the world stage.

Having said that, the following are a few examples of professional tennis players who also had stellar collegiate careers:



5-Callum Norrie


In 2021, British tennis player Cameron Norrie made history by being the first Brit to ever win the Indian Wells Open.

Norrie uprooted his life when he was sixteen years old and headed to his parents’ hometown in the UK from Johannesburg, South Africa. He returned to the US not long after his time in the UK ended, enrolling at Texas Christian University to play collegiate tennis and earn a degree in sociology. Following his graduation in 2017, he turned pro, having become the nation’s number one male collegiate tennis player.

Danielle Collins, the number four


American tennis player Danielle Collins transferred to the University of Virginia from the University of Florida during her freshman year and went on to have a stellar collegiate tennis career. Collins made her way into the WTA tour after winning the NCAA singles championship in 2014 and 2016.
Also, while she was a college tennis player, the now-30-year-old got the coveted Honda Sports Award, which is given to the greatest female athletes in NCAA-sanctioned sports and means “the best of the best in collegiate athletics.”

The former world number seven revealed that 2024 will be her last year on tour after finishing runner-up at the 2022 Australian Open.


Ben Shelton (#3)


Sixteenth in the world While his father Bryan was the head tennis coach at the University of Florida, Ben followed in his footsteps and played collegiately there as well. The American concluded his sophomore year ranked first in the US and went on to win the 2021 and 2022 national championships, as well as the NCAA singles championships. But in that same year, Shelton made the decision to become pro and attended college online while riding the circuit.

Despite not having won a major Grand Slam title just yet, the 21-year-old did win the 2023 Japan Open Tennis Championship only weeks after making it to his first Grand Slam semifinal, when he was defeated by Novak Djokovic.

John Isner, Position #3


John Isner is another well-known figure in the United States’ dazzling collegiate tennis scene. He played for the Bulldogs for four years before becoming pro in 2007.

He won the NCCA Championship his senior year after rising to the top spot in his junior year.

Isner stands at an impressive 6 feet, 10 inches tall, making him the tallest player in the top 10 in tennis history. He was famous for having one of the finest serves on the court. Not only did he reach the Wimbledon semifinals in 2018, but he also won the Miami Open by defeating Alexander Zverev—his career-high singles ranking.

This American, along with French tennis star Nicolas Mahut, set a new record for the lengthiest tennis match in 2010 at Wimbledon, which lasted 11 hours and 5 minutes.

He stated that he will be retiring following the 2023 US Open.


First place goes to Steve Johnson.


Steven Johnson, a former professional tennis player who attended the world-renowned University of Southern California, is another prominent American.

Johnson is widely considered the best college tennis player of all time; by the time he graduated from USC in 2012, he had won the NCCA Singles Championship and held the record for 72 consecutive victories.

The 34-year-old’s career highlights include a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, four ATP Singles championships, and a career-high ranking of No. 21 in men’s singles in 2016. His latest tournament was the Indian Wells Championship, which is currently underway.

Ben Shelton, another collegiate tennis great, paid respect to Johnson after his retirement and said (via Essentially Sports)

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