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Tuesday, March 6, 2018 - Mackenzie McDonald plays Alexander Sarkissian in the 1st Round of Qualifying of the BNP Paribas Open in Stadium 4 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California. (Michael Cummo/BNP Paribas Open)

The Mackie McDonald Project: From NCAA Champion to ATP Tour Top 100

Oracle Challenger Series
Jan 11, 2019

23-year-old American Mackenzie McDonald is a process guy. It’s simple. Control what you can control, put in the hard work and success will come. That’s been the mantra for the Piedmont, CA native since turning professional in 2016. And that will be the mantra as McDonald prepares to compete at the Oracle Challenger Series in Newport Beach January 21-27, 2019.

McDonald got his start in the game early, when he began hitting at age three with his father, Michael. Throughout his early years McDonald was shown the ropes by coach Rosie Bareis and at age eleven, former ATP Top 10 player Wayne Ferreira. The focus was on building “Mackie” as a complete player to combat his smaller, compact frame.

Training and polishing his game at the USTA National Campus, McDonald began competing in junior tournaments and saw success early – he was a semifinalist at the 2012 Boy’s Junior Australian Open and eventually climbed to as high as No. 12 in the ITF World Tour Junior Rankings.

Staying true to his roots, McDonald went on to attend and play tennis at UCLA in the Fall of 2013. During his Freshman year, McDonald impressed and earned Singles All-American honors and Pac-12 Freshman of the Year en route to a 33-9 season. After playing as the Bruins No. 1 player for much of 2015 and 2016, McDonald scored his biggest college breakthrough by winning the 2016 NCAA Men’s Singles Championship. McDonald would add the Men’s Doubles Championship to his resume in 2016 as well, becoming the first college player since 2001 to win both championships in the same season.

In 2017, McDonald got his professional career off the ground when he received the Oracle US Tennis Award at the BNP Paribas Open – a $100,000 grant aimed to assist one male and one female player as they transition from collegiate tennis to the professional level.

Fast forward one year to January 2018. Battling through intense heat at the Australian Open, McDonald put his name on the radar of those in the tennis world by advancing through three rounds of qualifying and defeating Elias Ymer in the first round. He would go on to push then World No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov to the brink in a five-set epic, before falling valiantly in the second round. Titles at the RBC Tennis Championships and the Seoul Challenger in June propelled McDonald to his career-high ATP Tour ranking at the time, No. 101.

McDonald continued his ascent in 2018 with a fantastic run at Wimbledon, which included wins over Ričardas Bernakis, Nicolás Jarry and Guido Pella before falling to Milos Raonic in the fourth round. The run into the second week of The Championships catapulted McDonald into the ATP Tour Top 100, where he currently sits at World No. 78.

Expectations are high for the former UCLA Bruin and many in the game today believe McDonald is primed for a breakthrough year in 2019. Be sure to catch Mackie compete on the Road to Indian Wells in his first Oracle Challenger Series event at Newport Beach Tennis Club, January 21-27, 2019.

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