It has been one memorable summer for 16-year-old tennis star Liv Hovde of McKinney
The road started with the chance to play on the famous clay at Roland Garros for the 2022 French Open junior tournament.
Then she hopped over to England, where she ran through the competition at the All England Club to win the 2022 Wimbledon girls junior championship.
The summer of Hovde continued Wednesday when she announced she would be giving up her amateur status and turn professional.
“It feels great,” Hovde said. “It’s always been my dream to go pro.”
She is hoping to debut as a professional at the 2022 US Open later this month, her mother said.
The 16-year-old has been a rising star on the junior tennis circuit over the past year, culminating with a dominant run at Wimbledon. It was her first major junior title.
Former Wimbledon junior winners include the last two world No. 1′s in Australia’s Ashleigh Barty and Poland’s Iga Świątek.
The last American to win the Wimbledon junior title prior to Hovde was Claire Liu in 2017. She is currently a top-100 player in the world.
Hovde is the No. 4-ranked junior girls tennis player and No. 1-ranked junior American. She was also the No. 1 college recruit in the class of 2024.
She has not competed internationally since winning the Wimbledon juniors title over Hungarian Luca Udvardy in July. Including her prior tournament victory in Roehampton, England, Hovde finished her junior career on a 12-match win streak. During those 12 matches, she dropped just three sets. Hovde won five ITF amateur tournaments on the junior circuit.
“It’s been great and just super exciting,” Hovde said of her last few weeks after winning Wimbledon. “I’m just looking forward to keeping my journey going.”
Hovde, who has been taking online classes, says she will continue to get her high school degree. She hopes to one day study in college, too.
The McKinney resident has signed with GSE Worldwide. Other tennis stars who have been represented by the company include 19-year-old Canadian phenom Leylah Fernandez, 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens and former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki.
Wozniacki is also a Wimbledon junior girls champion, having won the title in 2006.
Hovde was born in Minnesota and lived there for the first decade of her life before she moved with her parents and younger brother to Texas.
She then started training with Phil Dent at his family’s tennis academy, which is located in Keller. Dent is the former tennis star himself, having won the 1975 Australian Open double titles and 1976 US Open mixed doubles title.
He previously told The Dallas Morning News that Hovde has the potential to be a very good professional player but it will take some time.
“She’s got a shot,” Dent said. “She hits the ball well enough. She’s got a tennis brain. She likes to play. She likes to travel. All those things are good in her favor, but you never know. You never can tell. But I’d say she’s got as good a chance as anyone to be really, really good.”
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