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Where Are They Now?
Catching Up with Steve Johnson
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A year ago, Steve Johnson was wrapping up his senior year at Southern California as arguably the most decorated player in NCAA history with his second second straight NCAA singles title and fourth straight NCAA team title. Fast forward a year, and Johnson has made a strong start to his professional career, working his ATP singles ranking up to No. 128 in the world.

NCAA Champion Steve Johnson
courtesy, USC Athletics
Harry Cicma recently chatted with Johnson about his future - as well as his college tennis memories.
 

Questions and Answers

Harry Cicma (HC): How is life after college going on the ATP Tour?

Steve Johnson (SJ): It's been fun, I've definitely enjoyed my time on the ATP Tour - traveling to many different places and seeing new cities. It has been great, I've had a blast, and I am enjoying every minute.

 

HC: How is the competition on the ATP Tour?

SJ: It is definitely tough - these guys are working hard every day to make a living. The talent is very high, and I've definitely had to raise my game to compete at the highest level. But I've been working hard to get better every day, and I have enjoyed it.

 

HC: Have you had any mentors - such as Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras or John McEnroe - try to help you as a fellow American?

SJ: It hasn't been any one of those guys per say, but they have helped at times. I will definitely take any advice that they give me and will absorb it.

 

HC: What were some of your best memories playing for USC, and what advice would you give a young player looking to make it in college tennis?

Four-time Champions: Johnson and Nguyen of USC
© ZooTennis.com
SJ: Just winning the four team championships and the two singles titles, just being part of a very special team, with a very special coach. I hope they can keep going and continue their amazing success.

I would tell a young junior to do what you love to do, work hard, and always remember to have fun doing what you enjoy to do.

 

HC: What are your goals on the ATP Tour?

SJ: I'd love to get in the top 100 as soon as possible. I'd also be grateful to represent America in the Davis Cup one day - in another team environment. I just want to keep working hard and playing in as many tournaments as possible - and continue to improve.

 

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More College Coverage

11-Mar-2014
Conversation with UNLV's Owen Hambrook
UNLV's Owen Hambrook is now in his eleventh season as head coach of the Runnin' Rebels men's tennis program. Hambrook, who led the program to its first-ever Mountain West championship, took the 2012-13 squad to a 17-7 overall record and a final ranking of No. 62. NBC's Harry Cicma caught up with Hambrook to talk tennis, Las Vegas, and recruiting.

26-Feb-2014
Notre Dame Dominates Ball State in College Match Day Contest
Only hours after a grueling and emotional home loss to top-ranked Ohio State Saturday afternoon, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish returned to the Eck Tennis Pavilion courts to sweep Ball State in a nationally streamed USTA College Match Day contest Saturday evening, rebounding quickly from the disappointing loss to the Buckeyes.

21-Feb-2014
ITA Format Experiment Comments: Part Two
In part one of my discussion with college coaches, there was little support for continuing the women's experiment, which featured a match tiebreaker in lieu of a full third set. In part two below, five more coaches provide their perspective on the ITA's format experiment, as does Dustin Taylor, the USTA's National Coach for Collegiate Tennis, and Mitchell Frank, the University of Virginia's No. 1 player, who is leading the student-athlete opposition to any change of format.

 
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About Harry Cicma

When it comes to college tennis, Harry Cicma is your man. Cicma covers tennis and other athletic stories for NBC Sports, writing articles and producing video segments.

He is co-founder and host of World Tennis a weekly tennis show on NESN, and host of of Tennis Live Radio's College Corner.

Cicma competed as a junior in USTA/New England and went on to play college tennis at Rutgers University. As a professional, Cicma competed at the ATP Newport tournament and the San Jose Siebel Open. He reached a career-high #75 in the ATP doubles team rankings and #1262 in the ATP Entry System.

In media, Cicma has run the gamut. He has worked for NBC, CBS, ABC, ESPN, FOX Sports Net, the Tennis Channel, and World Team Tennis. Cicma has announced NCAA sports as well as the US Open Tennis Championships on both TV and radio.

 
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