On August 22, 2016, Steve Johnson celebrated a pretty big milestone. The 26-year-old became the top ranked American in the Emirates ATP Rankings, a position that John Isner has held since July 29, 2013.
It has been quite the year for Johnson. After suffering an upset to 17-year-old countryman Stefan Kozlov in ’s-Hertogenbosch in June, the California native quickly turned things around.
Just two weeks later Johnson won his first ATP singles title at the Aegon Open Nottingham, defeating Pablo Cuevas in the final. The following week Johnson reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time (Wimbledon.
Johnson has continued his success into the hard-court season, reaching the semifinals in Washington (beating Isner en route) and claiming the bronze medal in doubles at the Rio Olympics (with former U.S. Clay champion Jack Sock). Fresh off his victory in Brazil, he reached his first ATP Masters 1000 quarterfinal last week at the Western & Southern Open, losing to Grigor Dimitrov.
When asked about accomplishing his childhood dream of becoming the top-ranked American, Johnson responded with “ I enjoy flying under the radar. You know, I'm just a simple guy who just enjoys playing tennis.”
We think it’s safe to say that there won’t be much “flying under the radar” for Johnson anymore.
Watch the American in action the week of August 22nd at the Winston-Salem Open in North Carolina and, of course, at the US Open, which kicks off Monday, August 29.