2023 is a career-defining year for Michael Mmoh’s tennis career. He’s achieved the highest ranking he’s ever attained, defeated bigger opponents, and got to the third round at the Australian Open, the furthest he’s been at major tournaments. What does his journey in tennis look like?
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Michael Mmoh’s Early Career
Michael Mmoh first picked up a racket when he was 3 years old. He is a product of the IMG Academy and was one of the best teenagers in the junior circuit. Mmoh won several tournaments, including:
- Orange Bowl Doubles.
- USTA Under 18 Singles Championship.
Mmoh was ranked number two in the junior circuit, the success he hoped to replicate at the professional level.
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Michael Mmoh has struggled to achieve the success he enjoyed in his junior days at the professional level. Injuries and the intensity of the pro tour have slowed him down. He’s been overtaken by other junior players like Francis Tiafoe and Ben Shelton.
Debut on the ATP Tour
Nonetheless, Mmoh debuted on the ATP tour in 2016 in a tournament at Memphis. He was eliminated in the first round but received a wildcard entry into the Miami Masters.
He lost to German player Alexander Zverev. Nonetheless, Mmoh reached the final in his next tournament and broke into the top 300.
By the end of 2016, he was in the top 200 and received a wildcard to play in the Australian Open qualifier.
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Break into the Top 100
2018 was a year of progress for the young player. He mastered significant victories over Federico Delbonis, Mischa Zverev, and Roberto Bautista Agut in Brisbane International and the Miami Open. This earned him a main draw entry at Wimbledon and raised his ranking to 97.
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First Grand Slam Win
The following year, Michael Mmoh played at the Australian Open but lost in the first round. He returned in 2020 and won his first grand slam against Pablo Andujar. This helped him to qualify for the U.S. Open.
Since then, he’s played at the French Open and the Miami Open. Although he qualified for the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship, Mmoh withdrew due to an injury.
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2023, The Big Year
The proverbial stars aligned for Michael Mmoh. For the first time, he told Andscape, he felt settled in his body and could play back-to-back games. By the end of January, he had climbed to a career-high ranking of 83.
This came at the back of an outstanding performance at the Australian Open. He’d entered as a lucky loser but got to the third round, the furthest a lucky loser has reached since Stephan Robert in 2014.
By the end of February, Mmoh moved up one position. He defeated Aleksandar Kovacevic and Dennis Shapavalov. After a leg injury kept him out, he returned to the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. Michael Mmoh beat John Isner in the second round at the U.S. Open in what was Isner’s final professional tennis match.
Reflecting on the year, Michael Mmoh told Andscape that his performances give him confidence. He hopes he can finally be competitive and play consistently.
For a player derailed by injuries, it’s amazing to see his resilience. Michael Mmoh has the chance to make his name among the young black American tennis players on the tennis tour. Will he keep the momentum going in the coming seasons?
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