McKinney’s Liv Hovde won the J1 tournament without losing a single set. The 16-year-old is now the sixth-ranked junior player worldwide by the International Tennis Federation. She’s the only American that made it to the top 10.
According to The Dallas Morning News, Hovde was born in Minnesota in 2005 and moved to Texas with her family when she was 10 years old. She began playing tennis when she was 5. Once in McKinney, she started taking classes with her coach, Phil Dent, a former Australian Grand Slam champion, at Dent Tennis Academy in Keller.
This has been an encouraging season for Hovde. Earlier this year she won the doubles title at the 2022 Easter Bowl with Qavia Lopez; the J1 Roehampton is the second singles title she earned this year after her victory in the J1 San Diego tournament in March.
These victories follow a string of wins. Last year she took the ITF JB1 Pan American Closed Championships and surprised everyone when she bit the No. 1 seated Madison Sieg by winning the Easter Bowl U18 tournament. “You have to have the right mindset,” she said at the time to the USTA. “Just keep staying positive and go match by match.” Since then her career has taken off, and her junior ranking has gone up 160 spots.
To those paying attention, none of this is a surprise. As early as 10 years old, her potential was already evident when she won the Texas Grand Slam U12, and later competed in her first international tournament at Les Petites As in Tarbes, France. Her coach Phil Dent said to The Dallas Morning News, “She’s got a tennis brain, she likes to compete. She likes to travel. There’s three big things, and she doesn’t mind working hard. So there’s four. If you look at most of the really good players in the world, they probably have those credentials.”
Now she is competing in Wimbledon’s junior tournament. She won her first match against the Ukrainian Anastasiya Lopata last Monday, July 4. “Winning that grass-court tournament gave me a lot of confidence, although I still had to come out and play at Wimbledon,” she told itftennis.com.
Dent said to DMN that there’s still room for improvement. “Even though she’s doing great, we haven’t seen anywhere near the best of her. Not even close,” Dent said. “She’s gonna be good — real good.”