4 min read
On Saturday, 16-year-old Liv Hovde captured the girls’ trophy at Wimbledon to win the biggest title of her young career. The American beat Hungary’s Luca Udvardy 6-3, 6-4 on Court No. 1 to cap off an unforgettable trip to London.
“There was just there are no words to describe like how happy I was just winning like that final point just felt incredible,” Hovde told Universal Tennis. “It’s just amazing.”
From the Dallas Suburbs to London‘s Centre Court
Based in McKinney, Texas, the rising high school junior trains at the Dent Tennis Academy under the watchful eye of Phil Dent, a Wimbledon finalist in 1977 and the father of former pro Taylor Dent. Her mom Michelle has also been her coach and support system since she picked up tennis at age five.
For her grass-court debut this summer, Lovde was guided by hitting partner and WTA coach Alejandro Garcia Cenzano, who has worked with the likes of Garbine Muguruza, Bianca Andreescu, and Ashleigh Barty.
Hovde burst onto the scene last year by winning the U18 Easter Bowl (also known as the USTA National Spring Championships) as a qualifier in just her fifth ITF junior appearance. This season, at the junior Grand Slam level, she reached the semifinals of the Australian Open and the quarterfinals of Roland Garros. The teen is ranked No. 4 in the world.
Hovde started her trip overseas by capturing the J1 ITF junior title in Roehampton before extending her win streak to 12 at the All-England Club. In the third round of Wimbledon, the top seed saved a match point against Kayla Cross and didn’t look back. She’s just the second American in the past 30 years to win the junior girls Wimbledon trophy.
“Those were my first two big tournaments played on grass but I really love the surface,” Hovde said. “It’s very beautiful and I think it worked with my game.”
Mixing with the World’s Best
The victory came with an invitation to the Champion’s Ball, where she was celebrated alongside the likes of Novak Djokovic and Elena Rybakina. Hovde embraced the chance to be close to the pros, who she hopes to join one day.
“It was really cool to be able to talk to Novak and that he took the time to be able to talk to me personally,” Hovde said. “To see all the pros in their element — I got to warm up next to them — it’s just amazing to be able to see what they do in their everyday life.”
Hovde has some pro experience under her belt already, having played a handful of ITF and UTR Pro Tennis Tour (PTT) events. She’s actually one of four PTT players to reach the final or better at Wimbledon this year, alongside boys’ doubles champions Alex Michelsen and Sebastian Gorzny and boys’ finalist Michael Zheng.
Competing at the PTT $25Ks in Atlanta and Newport Beach last summer, Hovde compiled a 9-2 record. The teen is planning to play more pro events this summer as well as the junior US Open.
“I love round robins,” Hovde said of the PTT. “Just to be able to play so many different people, it’s just super exciting, and I hope to do it again soon.”
About the UTR Pro Tennis Tour
The PTT is open to players with a UTR Ranking of 200-2000, and wild cards can be awarded to those players with a UTR Ranking of 1-199 or above 2000. Every PTT event creates matchplay opportunities for up-and-coming, collegiate, and pro players thanks to a unique round-robin format. At every event, a group round-robin stage is followed by a World Cup-style playoff, guaranteeing multiple matches and counting all results towards the UTR Rating, the most accurate rating system in tennis. Every PTT event offers 4-5 matches and a minimum of $20,000 in prize money with an earnings guarantee for every participant.
For more information about UTR PTT and to see all of the results, click here.