Steve "Stevie" Johnson (born December 24, 1989) is an American professional tennis player. He has won four ATP Challenger Tour titles. On 2 November 2015, Johnson reached his best singles rankings of world number 31. On 19 October 2015, he peaked at world number 52 in the doubles rankings. Johnson played college tennis for the USC Trojans. He won the NCAA Men's Singles Championship in his junior and senior seasons (2011–2012), and he was a part of a Trojan team that won four consecutive NCAA Championships. These accomplishments during his college career cement him as the most-decorated college tennis player ever.
Stevie began playing tennis at the age of two. He started out using balloons and beach balls around their Orange County home. He entered his first tournament at the age of five. His father, Steve, is a tennis coach at the Rancho San Clemente Tennis and Fitness Club, and his mother, Michelle, is a math professor. His older sister, Alison, is also a graduate of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Johnson's girlfriend is Kendall Bateman, a former Trojan volleyball player who holds the school record for career assists. Johnson has credited his father with his success in tennis: "He taught me pretty much everything I know. Since I can remember, it's always been me and him out there hitting balls, having a blast. It's really been amazing. I wouldn't change anything." Growing up, he idolised Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. He has expressed an interest in European bands U2 and Coldplay. He likes to spend his free time relaxing at the beach and he drives a BMW X5. At USC, Johnson majored in human performance, but left when he was three classes short of attaining his degree. Johnson hopes to complete his degree after his tennis career.
In July 2012, Johnson signed a clothing deal with Asics America and he is represented by Sam Duvall at Lagardere Unlimited. He currently trains at the USTA Player Development Center West in Carson, California. Johnson is currently working with the USTA and travels with a few other young Americans, while his personal coach is Craig Boynton, who is a USTA national coach for men's tennis. The team of Dustin Taylor and Rodney Marshall also help Steve hone his skills at the development center.
In his early career Steve's dad served as his coach. Stevie won four consecutive 18-under national team titles, becoming the first player in tournament history to be a member of four championship teams. Johnson contributed to a 6–1 victory over Texas in the 2005 final, a 6–1 triumph over Southern in 2006 and clinched Southern California's 4–3 win the next year over Southern. Johnson was known among junior tennis at the time for sporting some very "long locks," as his hair was extremely long, and he now says he will absolutely never bring that hairdo back. Some of Steve's junior accomplishments include being the 2008 Kalamazoo Doubles finalist and winning the 2008 Southern California Sectional Boys 18 championship in straight sets over J.T Sundling. This marked his fourth Sectionals title and near a clean sweep of all age divisions having won the 12s, 14s and 16s. He also has the distinction of being the only player to win the Triple Crown, singles and two doubles—twice. He also won nine Gold Balls. He was ranked the third-rated California senior tennis recruit (7th overall) in the country, according to TennisRecruiting.net. Lastly, he clinched the title for Southern California at the 2007 Junior Davis Cup.
Johnson is a 2008 graduate of Orange High which was coached by Pete Tavoularis, Johnson won CIF singles championships in 2006 and 2007 and was named the Orange County and Los Angeles Player of the Year in both seasons. He is the only Southern Section tennis champion in the school's history. Johnson also made it a priority to play in as many team matches as possible. He missed just two because of junior tennis events and did not lose a set in team competition on his way to winning his second consecutive Golden West League title. Johnson beat former Stanford tennis player Ryan Thacher to win the Southern Section Individual Tournament when both were high school sophomores in 2006. His only high school loss of 2006 was a three-set defeat in the semifinals of Ojai to eventual champion Jason Jung of West Torrance. He then defended his title by beating current UCLA tennis player Alex Brigham. The victories made Johnson the first back-to-back singles winner since Tom Leonard of Arcadia in 1965 and 1966. He also became the eighth player to repeat as champion and the fourth to win the title after losing the first set at love (Leonard in 1965, Barry Buss in 1982, and Phil Sheng in 1999 each won titles after losing the first set at love). Johnson was the Orange County boys tennis player of the year as a sophomore and junior at Orange, but, like so many top players do, opted to not play high school tennis his senior year.
Johnson chose to play college tennis for the University of Southern California. Johnson on his decision," I chose USC because I felt like I had a great relationship with Peter (USC coach Peter Smith) and I got along with the team really well." As a sophomore, he was selected to represent the United States in the fourth annual Master'U BNP Paribas, an intercollegiate competition in which eight countries from around the world will play for the title. As a junior he captured the 2010–11 NCAA Singles Championship, defeating Rhyne Williams in the final. In his senior season, he captured the 2011–2012 NCAA Singles Championship, defeating Kentucky's Eric Quigley in the final, overcoming a strained abdomen and shin splints and a bout of food poisoning to retain his title. As a freshman, Johnson was selected to All-Pac-10 First Team, as well as being named the Pac-10 Doubles Team of the Year with Robert Farah. He also reached the final of the Pac-10 singles championship match and he won the ITA Regionals Doubles Championship with Farah. As a sophomore, he was also selected to the All-Pac-10 First Team and was the named the Pac-10 Doubles Team of the Year with Farah once again as well as winning the ITA Southwest Regionals doubles championship with Farah. Furthermore, as a sophomore he won the ITA National Indoor championship. As a junior, he also won the 2011 Pac-10 Singles and Doubles Title with Raymond Sarmiento. In addition, he was selected as the NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player and to the NCAA All-Tournament Team for singles. His exploits saw Johnson named as the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Player of the Year for the 2010–11 and 2011–2012 seasons, as well as the 2010–2011 and 2011–2012 Pac-12 Men's Player of the Year. In his college career, he became a seven-time Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) All-American, two-time NCAA Singles Champion, and he captured the team title for the Trojans in all four of his years there. Furthermore, he ended his college career with an unprecedented 72 match win streak. "The biggest thing that I have learned from college tennis is to play aggressive while playing within myself and to never give up because every dual match could end up being decided on your court." These exploits led to Johnson's becoming the most decorated college player of all time.
Stevie has competed in 12 Futures tournaments in his career for singles, all of them being in the United States. He has been in 3 finals, winning two of them. He lost the 2011 Sacramento Futures tournament to Daniel Kosakowski in 3 sets. However, later in 2011, Stevie won consecutive tournaments in the Claremont and Costa Mesa futures tournaments respectively beating Darian King and Artem Sitak in straight sets. Stevie has competed in various Futures tournaments since 2006 as a high schooler, and he won his first match and earned his first point the following year. Stevie has compiled an overall record of 23 wins and 10 losses on the Futures Tour as well as winning Despite a good outing in singles on the Futures Tour, Stevie is 2–6 in doubles on the Futures Tour earning a mere Stevie no longer competes on the Futures Tour as he competes mainly on the ATP Challenger Tour as well as the ATP World Tour.
Stevie has competed in 27 Challenger tournaments in his career for singles in the United States, Turkey, Canada, and France. He won his first challenger tournament in the Comerica Bank Challenger played in Aptos, California. He won it in the summer of 2012, before the 2012 U.S. Open. In the finals, he defeated Robert Farah in straight sets, 6–3,6–3, gaining 100 points, as well as Farah is his good friend and former Trojan teammate where they played doubles together and won 2 NCAA Championships for USC. A month after his win in Aptos, Stevie competed in 2 challenger tournaments in Turkey and France. In Izmir, Turkey, Stevie reached the semifinals and won three matches to get there. In Orléans, France, Stevie reached the second round and lost to the no.2 seed David Goffin of Belgium. However, the match was tightly contested as Goffin squeezed out a win and won 7–5,6–4. A couple of weeks later in the 2012 Tiburon Challenger, Stevie was ousted in the semifinals by Jack Sock 4–6,6–7(4). Next, Johnson competed in the 2012 Charlottesville Challenger but fell to Rhyne Williams in the Round of 16. Johnson planned on playing in the Knoxville Challenger as well as the JSM Challenger of Champaign–Urbana to finish the year, but a shoulder injury forced him to pull out. The shoulder injury also forced him to miss the Australian Open Wild Card Playoffs. Stevie has compiled an overall record of 32 wins and 18 losses on the Challenger Tour and has earned In doubles, Stevie has had equal success on the Challenger Tour compiling an overall record of 13 wins and 8 losses including a title in Knoxville, Tennessee with Austin Krajicek in 2011. He also made it to the finals in the 2011 Tiburon challenger partnered with Sam Querrey, but they lost 6–10 in the 3rd set super tie-breaker. In 2012, Stevie reached the semifinals in Tiburon partnered with Robert Farah, as the #1 seeds. Johnson played doubles in the 2013 Maui Challenger being seeded no.2 and reached the semifinals as his partner was Alex Bogomolov, Jr. Johnson played singles and doubles in the 2013 Sarasota Open. In singles, he lost in the quarter-finals to the eventual champion, Alex Kuznetsov,2–6,6–3,1–6. In doubles, he partnered with Bradley Klahn, and they won three matches to reach the finals but lost 7–6(5),6–7(3),9–11. Johnson played three more clay challengers before the French Open and lost in the first round in each. After a successful French Open, Johnson won his second career challenger at the Aegon Nottingham Challenge defeating Ruben Bemelmans in the finals. Winning this tournament, helped grant him a wild-card into Wimbledon. Johnson did not finish the year strong on the Challenger Tour as he went 1-5 to finish the season. In his second challenger event of the season, Johnson won the 2014 Challenger of Dallas only dropping one set throughout the tournament. He defeated fellow American Ryan Harrison along the way, and he defeated Tunisian Malek Jaziri in the finals. After the match, he stated,"I was struggling with confidence a little before the start to this year and to come out and win the tournament here makes it more special." One month later in the 2014 Irving Tennis Classic, Johnson beat three top-100 players along the way to reach the finals, where he lost to Lukáš Rosol. A win at the 2014 Open Guadeloupe Challenger Tour tournament boosted Johnson's singles ranking to a career-high 69, and gave him his fourth career challenger title. After taking a month off from competing in tournaments, Johnson's next challenger tournament was the BNP Paribas Primrose Bordeaux where he was the number two seed. He lost in the finals to number one seed Julien Benneteau. Johnson kicked off his grass court season as the number two seed in the 2014 Aegon Trophy where fell in the quarterfinals to Gilles Müller.
Johnson started the year in Indian Wells where he lost in the first round of qualifying in three tight sets to Frank Dancevic. Shortly after his college season, Johnson received a wild card into the 2011 Farmers Classic where he lost in the first round to Gilles Müller in three sets. Johnson then competed in qualifying of the 2011 Western & Southern Open. After scoring his first win over a top 100 player in the first round, Jérémy Chardy, he lost in the following round to Édouard Roger-Vasselin. Winning the 2011 individual NCAA championships, Johnson received a wild card to the main draw of the 2011 US Open. He played his first career grand slam match against Alex Bogomolov, Jr. and lost in five tight sets where he had a two sets to love lead.
In the 2012 Campbell's Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, Johnson partnered with Denis Kudla, but they lost in the first round. Competing in the 2012 BB&T Atlanta Open, Johnson partnered with fellow American Jack Sock, but they lost in a super tie-breaker in the first round. In the 2012 Farmers Classic, Johnson partnered up with Sam Querrey, and they reached the semifinals. Next, in the 2012 Citi Open, Johnson reached the semifinals once again, partnered with Drew Courtney. In the 2012 US Open, Johnson received a wild card to the main draw and partnered with Jack Sock. In the first round they defeated the no. 1 doubles team of Mirnyi/Nestor, 1–6, 7–6(4), 6–2. However they lost in the second round to František Čermák and Michal Mertiňák, 4–6, 5–7.
In the 2013 Australian Open, Johnson won three qualifying matches to reach the main draw. In the first round of the main draw, he took tenth seed Nicolás Almagro the distance, but lost 5–7, 7–6(4), 2–6, 7–6(6), 2–6. Next, in the 2013 SAP Open, Johnson received a wild card to the main draw. In the first round, he defeated former top-20 player Ivo Karlović, 6–7(2), 6–4, 7–6(6). In the second round, Johnson defeated Tim Smyczek, reaching his first quarterfinal. However, in the quarterfinals, Johnson lost to eventual finalist Tommy Haas, 4–6, 2–6. Overall, Johnson compiled a 5–13 record in singles. In doubles, Johnson attained a career-high ranking of no. 126.
Johnson went to the 2013 French Open, qualifying for the first time and made it through to the main draw before losing in the first round to Albert Montañés, who had just won Nice the previous week. Receiving a wildcard into the maindraw of Wimbledon, Johnson lost a tight first round match to fellow American Bobby Reynolds 6–1, 6–7(4), 3–6, 7–6(4), 4–6. In the 2013 Citi Open, Johnson lost in the first round to Radek Štěpánek in straight sets. In the 2013 Winston-Salem Open, Johnson won three qualifying matches to reach the main draw and have a rematch with Bobby Reynolds. In the 2013 US Open, Johnson lost in the first round to German Tobias Kamke, failing to reach the third round as he had the previous year. Johnson and fellow American Michael Russell received a wild card in doubles, but fell in the first round.
Steve kicked off the 2014 season with a bang as he reached the main draw of the 2014 Heineken Open as a lucky loser and beat former Australian Open runner up Marcos Baghdatis, and he also defeated #4 seed Kevin Anderson to reach his second quarterfinals on tour. By winning the Australian Open Wildcard Playoffs a few weeks back, Johnson received a wildcard into the main draw of 2014 Australian Open. However, he lost in the first round to Frenchman Adrian Mannarino in five sets. In the 2014 Delray Beach International Tennis Championships Johnson qualified to the main draw and beat Mikhail Kukushkin, #1 seed Tommy Haas in a third-set tie-breaker, and #6 seed Feliciano López to reach his first semi-finals. After his won over Haas, Johnson said that “Tommy is unbelievable player and this is a win I won’t forget.” Haas later said, "I hate to lose, but I'm happy for him. He served well and competed hard." South-African Kevin Anderson got revenge on Johnson in the semi-finals as he beat him in straight sets to reach the finals. Johnson received a wildcard into the maindraw of the 2014 BNP Paribas Open, but fell to the red-hot Spaniard Roberto Bautista-Agut in straight sets, who knocked out #4 seed Tomáš Berdych in the next round. Johnson got a rematch with Agut just a couple weeks later in the 2014 Sony Open Tennis, this time falling in three sets. In his first clay court tournament of the year, Johnson received a wild card into the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships where he reached the second round and lost to eventual champion Fernando Verdasco. Johnson then competed in the Open de Nice Côte d'Azur where he fell in the first round to youngster Dominic Thiem. Johnson lost in three sets, while failing to convert a match point as he was trying to serve out the match at 6-5 in the second set. Johnson next competed in the 2014 French Open where he won his first ever ATP match on clay, and advanced to the second round. In his first round match against Frenchman Laurent Lokoli, Johnson came back from a two sets to love deficit, and saved two match points along the way for a dramatic five set victory. In his second round match, Johnson lost in straight sets to fellow American Jack Sock. Johnson registered his first grass court ATP win at the 2014 Gerry Weber Open when he defeated Frenchman Albano Olivetti. Johnson's second round opponent withdrew giving Johnson a walkover to the quarterfinals where he lost to the number four seed Kei Nishikori. The following week, Johnson competed in the 2014 Topshelf Open and reached the second round before falling to the number seven seed Nicolas Mahut. Johnson then competed in the 2014 Wimbledon Championships. Unfortunately, Johnson fell in the first round in four sets to twenty-seventh seed Roberto Bautista Agut. Returning back to the U.S., Johnson competed in the 2014 Hall of Fame Tennis Championships where he lost in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Lleyton Hewitt. As the sixth seed in this tournament, this was Johnson's first ATP tournament where he was seeded. Johnson then kicked off his US Open Series in Atlanta where he lost in the first round to his good friend and countryman Sam Querrey.
Steve Johnson was selected fifth overall in the Mylan World TeamTennis Roster Draft by the Orange County Breakers. Johnson was joined by his father, who was an assistant coach on the team. Despite ultimately placing third in the Western Conference, Johnson was the No. 2 men’s singles player in the league, amassing a 62–47 record for the season. He was equally successful in men’s doubles, pairing with doubles specialist Treat Huey to go 64–53. In the middle of the season, Johnson helped lead the Breakers to four consecutive victories. During the season, Johnson had victories over Andy Roddick in singles and doubles, as well as doubles victories over the Bryan brothers, and tennis legend John McEnroe. On July 20, Johnson landed himself as the #4 spot on the top plays of SportsCenter that evening against Alex Bogomolov, Jr. of the Texas Wild with an amazing rally that ended with Johnson slipping and sliding for a volley winner. Steve made a successful debut with the Breakers in his first season leading him to be named the Mylan WTT Male Rookie of the Year.