In 2019, while J.J. Wolf turned pro after shining at Ohio State University (OSU), Cannon Kingsley was just starting his college journey in Columbus. Now, after being named an ITA All-American three times, Kingsley is in his fifth year at OSU. He recently earned his Bachelor’s degree in Sports and hopes to follow in the steps of Wolf, who’s now ranked 51st in the world.
“I’ve known J.J. for about four or five years. He still lives in Columbus and sometimes trains with us. It’s cool to have someone like him come from our program. Seeing his success is motivating for students like me who want to turn pro,” Kingsley said during this year’s NCAA championships.
Thanks to the ATP/ITA Accelerator Program, Kingsley will get chances to play in up to eight selected ATP Challenger Tour events next year. “It’s a big opportunity and pushes me a lot,” Kingsley said. He’s one of 21 students benefiting from this new program that aims to help top college players in the US move to pro tennis.
Kingsley values his time in Columbus. Under his coach, Ty Tucker, he earned many awards in four seasons (2020-2023). In his first year, he set a record by being named the ITA Rookie of the Year.
“I learned so much at college. I grew physically and got mentally stronger. Playing for something bigger than just yourself is special. It’s something you might not feel if you jump straight into pro tennis,” Kingsley explained.
He recently played at the Challenger in Lexington using a wildcard and made it to the semi-finals without using the Accelerator Program.
The ATP-ITA program is part of a big plan to boost young talents in pro tennis. Players in the program, including NCAA singles champion Ethan Quinn and 20 others, get direct spots in ATP Challenger Tour events. This program by ATP and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) helps college players in the US move up in tennis.
Besides Kingsley, players like Eliot Spizzirri, Ethan Quinn, Arthur Fery, and many more are part of the Accelerator Program. This gives them special chances as they go from college tennis to pro tennis.