The 2017 French Open is one of the most emotional tennis events ever, especially to Steve Johnson. The American player is still grieving over the sudden death of his father, so get to know all about him as he advances in the tournament.
He’s playing in the French Open after losing his father. For Steve Johnson, the victory over Borna Coric, 20, in the second round of the 2017 French Open on May 7 resulted in the 27-year-old breaking down in tears. However, Steve wasn’t weeping just in joy, as the Orange, California native had just lost his father. Steve Johnson Sr., a tennis coach for 35 years, passed away unexpectedly in his sleep on May 11, according to the Washington Post. The match with Borna was an exhausting marathon, a four set game that lasted nearly four hours. Ultimately, Steve won, 6-2, 7-6 (8), 3-6 and 7-6(6)
“I just knew he was looking down on me on that last point and gave me the strength to finish it off,” Steve said after winning, as he wiped the tears away. “Physically, I’m okay. Emotionally, I’m a mess. He always wanted me to be a fighter and a competitor so that’s what I’m going to do, day in and day out. That’s the only thing I can do.”
Steve credits his success to his late father. “Tennis was his life and his passion, so much more than mine in different ways,” Steve said, when speaking about his late father following his French Open win, per CNN. “He loved tennis and loved to talk about it. I’ll admit it got a little old for me because, sometimes, I like to get away from tennis. … He meant a lot to me, but you don’t necessarily realize what he was able to do and who he was able to touch beyond his family’s life.”
This is his best showing at a tennis major. As a singles player, the farthest Steve has ever gotten is the third round of a Grand Slam Tournament. He made it to the third round of the 2015 French Open, the 2012 US Open and both in the 2015 and 2016 Australian Open. Standing in his way to his best showing at a Major is the tournament’s No. 6 seed (and No. 7 ranked player in the world) Dominic Thiem, 23.
— Tennis Channel (@TennisChannel) May 31, 2017
Steve is a medal-winning Olympian. While Steve has never won a major – Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon or US Open – he has won a handful of titles. He won the Nottingham Open in 2016, defeating Pablo Cuevas, 31, for the title. He also won the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships, beating Thomaz Bellucci, 29 in April 2017. Along with partner Sam Querrey, 29, Steve won the Geneva Open as a doubles player. Most impressive might be the bronze medal he won at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
He’s not alone at the French Open. “My mom and sister and my fiancee are here, so it makes it easier and harder all at the same time to see them,” Steve said after his victory over Borna. “Just the pain and just trying to get through it. You know, it’s hard.” Steve is engaged to Kendall Bateman, a former volleyball player who set a USC Trojan record for career assists. When Steve’s tennis career is over, he hopes to return to USC to finish his degree in human performance.
Do you want Steve to win the French Open, HollywoodLifers?