6 min read
August Holmgren (UTR Rating 14.11) is heading into his last season of college tennis as the highest-ranked player in the country and on the heels of being named Universal Tennis' best male fall college player. He rose to No. 1 in the ITA Rankings after starting off at No. 28 in the preseason rankings.
The 23-year-old Dane is used to the top spot as the redshirt senior has led the Toreros at the No. 1 position for most of his college career.
Leading the Toreros
“I think the whole team is making really good progress,” Holmgren said. “I'm excited about how we're going to do. We just need to stay healthy, then we're going to do really well because we have a lot of new capable guys.”
It’ll help to have the No. 1 best college player on the roster. This fall, Holmgren went 10-1 by reaching the final of the ITA Men's All-American Championships and winning the ITA National Fall Championships. His only loss came to Florida’s Ben Shelton (14.43), who played just the one college event this fall.
Carving Out His Own Path
Holmgren came to San Diego in 2017 eager to improve his game but with no plans for launching a professional tennis career prematurely. Over the years under the tutelage of San Diego coaches Ryan Keckley and Sebastian Rey, he has balanced competing on the college and pro tours, even representing Denmark on the Davis Cup team.
“I wasn't good enough to go pro
When he does turn pro, he'll have a college degree in his back pocket. The Dane is majoring in theatre arts and performance studies.
“Theater is the only thing that has really given me that same kind of joy that tennis has and so I figured I'd better study what I enjoy the most,” Holmgren said, adding he’s studied both acting and directing.
Setting Goals Beyond Just Rankings
Holmgren has already had a real taste of the pro tour. He made his ATP debut in the qualifying of the San Diego Open where beat established pro Jordan Thompson (15.14) and lost a third-set tiebreaker to Salvatore Caruso (14.74). He gained entry into the draw as a lucky loser, coming up short against Grigor Dimitrov (15.60). The experience was still rewarding, and after five years of competitive college tennis, Holmgren feels prepared to hit the pro tour.
While being ranked No. 1 nationally as a junior and in college has been phenomenal (and he’s hoping to achieve the same ranking on the pro tour), Holmgren’s mindset is broader.
“I came to the realization that ranking is not really what drives me because that feeling just goes away after a couple of amazing days,” he said. “It’s like, OK, what's next?”
Instead, Holmgren is thriving on chasing competitive situations (and titles).
“I discovered that what I find really cool is to be in really stressful situations, like when I got to play in the San Diego Open in the third-set tiebreaker in the qualifying final,” he said. “Even though I lost and that absolutely sucked, those big moments are the things that really drive me.”
Holmgren is doing his off-season training in Tampa with German pro Dominik Koepfer (14.94) and will dedicate himself completely to his final college season before playing ITF tournaments over the summer. Of course, UTR Pro Tennis Tour events are also on his radar.
“I'm hoping to play PTT after I graduate too because it sounds like it's amazing prize money,” he said.
•UTR Ratings and Rankings as of Dec. 21, 2021.