This summer, Universal Tennis players have been making waves at the Grand Slams, and there is a group of rising stars to keep a close eye on at the upcoming US Open.
In June, UTR Pro Tennis Tour (PTT) stars dominated junior Wimbledon. Liv Hovde, a 16-year-old from Texas, captured the Wimbledon girls’ trophy for her biggest title yet. The teenager came onto the PTT scene last summer by playing two events, reaching the semifinals of a $25K in Newport Beach for the first professional wins of her young career. Fellow PTT semifinalist Michael Zheng reached the boys’ final while PTT champions Alex Michelsen and Sebastian Gorzny won the boys’ doubles crown.
The PTT was launched in January 2021 to help aspiring pros achieve their dreams with guaranteed prize money and multiple matches each week. By year’s end, Universal Tennis will have hosted over 300 events with a minimum financial commitment of $25,000 in more than 20 countries worldwide.
With the US Open on the horizon, Hovde is doing her best to manage her schedule with two years of high school left before she has to consider college.
“I love round robins,” Hovde said of the PTT, which features round-robin group action followed by knockout playoffs. “Just to be able to play so many different people, it’s just super exciting, and I hope to do it again soon.”
Marcela Zacarias, an 11-time PTT champion, improved her WTA ranking enough to make her Wimbledon debut and book her place in the US Open qualifying draw. Wimbledon marked her return to the Grand Slam level after six years.
Over the past 18 months, the 28-year-old Mexican has honed her game with tons of match play and made her WTA ranking rise more possible thanks to her PTT earnings. All PTT players are guaranteed prize money (even if they lose) and winners pick up checks of at least $3,475.
Zacarias didn’t compete at Roland Garros, but Taylor Townsend did, going all the way to the doubles semifinals (with Madison Keys) in her first major since the 2020 US Open. The 26-year-old stepped away from pro tennis to welcome her first child, Adyn, who turned one in March. Earlier this year, she had made her comeback at a $25K PTT in Bradenton, capturing her first title since 2019.
Finally, Universal Tennis ambassador Peyton Stearns is another name to watch as she gears up for a huge month. In May, the 20-year-old wrapped up her sophomore season at the University of Texas by winning the team and individual NCAA titles. She turned pro following her incredible post-season and will play in the qualifying of the Western & Southern Open in her hometown of Cincinnati and the main draw of the US Open.