Ohio State Buckeye Cannon Kingsley Making Challenger Strides
When J.J. Wolf turned pro in 2019 following a standout career at Ohio State University, American Cannon Kingsley was just settling into college life in Columbus.
Fast forward to this season, Kingsley is now a three-time ITA All-American entering his fifth year at OSU, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in sport industry this spring. The 22-year-old is hoping to follow in the footsteps of World No. 51 Wolf.
“I’ve known J.J. for about four or five years now. He’s still based out of Columbus so he trains with some of the guys when he’s home playing. I’ve trained with him a decent amount,” Kingsley told ATPTour.com at this year’s NCAA Championships.
“It’s great having a guy like that who came out of the programme. It’s an inspiration for guys like me who are trying to transition into pro tennis after school, so getting to see him and how he works and how he trains is a pretty cool thing. The fact that he was a Buckeye is awesome.”
Through the ATP/ITA Accelerator Programme, Kingsley will receive up to eight qualifying spots at select ATP Challenger Tour events in the next year. “That’s a huge opportunity. It’s a good motivator for me,” he stated. The Northport, New York native is one of 21 students to benefit from the new programme, which aims to increase the development pathway for top players in the American collegiate system.
Kingsley puts great value on his time in Columbus, where under the tutelage of longtime coach Ty Tucker, he has been named to the Big Ten’s All-Conference team the past four seasons (2020-23). His freshman year, Kingsley made a dream start to his college career, becoming the first player in programme history to be named ITA Rookie of the Year.
“There’s just so much that you learn when you’re in college. Physically, I’ve grown so much. I think I’ve gotten stronger. I’ve gotten mentally tougher as well,” Kingsley said. “I think just playing for something bigger than yourself is another factor that people don’t really learn who just go straight into pro tennis. And I think playing for a bigger purpose is something that really motivates me on the court.”
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Kingsley was given a wild card into last month’s Lexington Challenger, his first tournament of the season at the level. Though he was not using an Accelerator spot, he reached the semi-finals.
In action this week at the Columbus Challenger, Kingsley will feel right at home on the scarlet and grey indoor courts of Ohio State. After reaching the semi-finals last September in Columbus, Kingsley will aim for another deep run behind his first-strike firepower.
“I have a big serve, kind of a one-two punch with that,” said Kingsley, who is No. 449 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. “First ball, looking for forehands. I think that that is probably my game, aggressive baseliner.”