Tommy Paul became a professional tennis player in his teens, and at age 25, he reached a Grand Slam semifinal for the first time in his career. He faced Novak Djokovic in the semifinals of the 2023 Australian Open—though he lost in straight sets, it was Paul's first big match in the spotlight. Since, tennis fans have seen a lot more of him, including in a thrilling second round match at the 2023 U.S. Open, where he came back from five sets down.
"A lot of people are like, 'Tommy's so underrated!' Maybe if you haven't been paying attention," his girlfriend, Paige Lorenze, told Town & Country. "When he made the semifinals of the Australian Open, I wasn't surprised. I was like, 'This is where he should be and this is where he deserves to be.'"
So who is this rising American tennis star? Here are 5 things to know about Tommy Paul:
1. He was born in New Jersey, but grew up in North Carolina.
When Paul was three months old, he moved from Voorhees Township, New Jersey to Greenville, North Carolina. He started playing tennis at age 7, training on clay courts.
His mom, Jill MacMillan, who played in college at East Carolina University, was his first coach. When he reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open, MacMillan, an audiologist, got straight on a plane in her scrubs to watch her son play.
2. He made his professional debut in 2015.
That year, Paul won the French Open junior title, defeating fellow American Taylor Fritz. He's steadily climbed in the ranks since his debut, and won the Stockholm Open in 2021, his only ATP title to date. He's had some major wins this year, including defeating Carlos Alcaraz at the Toronto Open. As of the 2023 U.S. Open, he's currently ranked number 14 in the world (his career high is 13).
3. Paul is close with his fellow American tennis players.
Paul grew up playing with Frances Tiafoe, Reilly Opelka, and Taylor Fritz. And, as of August 2022, he was roommates with Opelka in Florida.
"It's great that three of my really close friends all ended up making it to where we're at now together," Fritz told Town & Country about their squad. "It's amazing to be able to travel around the world with these guys, [and] hang out with them. It definitely helps a lot with the fact that you're never home, when you have some of your closest friends with you."
Paul is encouraged by the recent success of his fellow Americans. "You see Fritz win a Masters 1000, and I think all of us we're all happy for him, but we're all like, 'OK, he did it. We can do that," he told the New York Times. "And then Foe [Frances Tiafoe] makes semifinals of the U.S. Open and had chances in the semis, and who knows what would have happened if he had won that match? So, you see that happen, and you’re, like, 'All right, that's awesome. I’m happy for him, but I can do that.'"
4. He's dating social media influencer Paige Lorenze.
Paul started dating Paige Lorenze, who has over 400,000 followers on Instagram, in 2022. "I've been to every single tournament now and coming out of that, the atmosphere at the U.S. Open is the best," Lorenze told T&C. "People are really excited about tennis. It's a pretty rowdy, fun crowd—in a good way. People are really supportive. There's some matches we go to where only two people are rooting for Tommy! It's not like that here."
Here's some sweet snaps of the two of them:
5. When he's home, he works on his family's farm.
"My mom and stepdad live on a farm in South Jersey, where they have roughly 100 chickens, six sheep, two dogs, a horse and a cat. I grew up in North Carolina, but my mum moved back to South Jersey when I turned pro. That is where she grew up," Paul told ATPTour.com. "The animals have built up. It is something to do for her. When she is not at work, she is outside on the farm."
When he's home, he helps on the farm. "I’m not gonna just, like, sit inside and do nothing," he told New York Magazine. "I obviously don’t know anything, but I get out there and try to help anyway. It’s fun. It’s a nice change-up, you know?"
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