Our first full year with three divisions has come to a close, and, boy, was it an exciting one! We’ll cover great accomplishments from each sport below, but first, we’ll cover events and other ventures.
A growing events landscape
In 2019, Alex Guthrie joined our team to manage events and player servicing. Alex represents an important step in the growth of our company as we continue to expand our event capabilities.
With Alex’s help, our first ATP Challenger Tour event, the Cleveland Open, enjoyed a successful first year. It will return in February 2020 bigger and better, with a number of sponsorships already committed. Learn more about the event and reserve your seats at at cle-open.com!
Before that, however, we’ll be hosting our first Oracle Pro Series event in Ann Arbor in January 2020. It’s slated to be the first of many events in partnership with Oracle as we begin our advance westward. Stay tuned for future announcements and learn more at oracleproseries.com.
Finally, Topnotch Tennis Tours’ Fantasy Camp in Maui was a load of fun and a great success—again. The camp provided attendees plenty of time on and off court with a fan-favorite, TNM’s own Steve Johnson. Tracy Austin, Jan-Michael Gambill, and Marc Lucero completed our lineup of pros. Learn more at fantasytenniscamps.com.
The Clubhouse CLE’s inaugural year
Cleveland’s leading indoor golf facility, The Clubhouse CLE, opened its doors early this year. The Clubhouse CLE features 4 TrackMan simulators housed in spacious hitting bays, a 1,00 square foot putting green, and lounge area. The Clubhouse specializes in indoor golf, leagues, club fitting, lessons, and private events.
Our athletes are, of course, the core of our business. Read on to hear more about their successes in the decade’s final year!
Tennis: breakthrough years
Reilly Opelka was one of the brightest stars of Topnotch Management this year. He started off the year by notching his first Grand Slam win (against a top 10 player no less) at the Australian Open. Not long after, he hit 43 aces en route to winning his first ATP 250 tournament, the New York Open. He kept up the pace by qualifying for and reaching the third round at the Miami Open (a Masters 1000 event) and getting to the semifinals of the Atlanta Open (ATP 250). At Wimbledon, he defeated three-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka to reach the third round. Further, he defeated World No. 11 Fognini for his main draw debut at the US Open, and reached the Tokyo Open and Basel semifinals (ATP 500). All of this tallies up to a career-high ranking of 31 (after breaking into the top 50 for the first time). Reilly also became only the second tennis player to be sponsored by Red Bull, a brand he has long been a fan of.
Alison Riske-Amritraj (who got married this year, congrats!) also had a career-best year. After reaching the doubles semifinals at the Australian Open with Jennifer Brady, Ali reached the final in Shenzhen and stormed through the grass season. She started with a comeback upset to win her second WTA singles title at the Libema Open (on grass), which shot her back into the top 50. Ali went on to take down seeds at Wimbledon and reach her first Slam quarterfinal, defeating Donna Vekic (22), Ivana Jorovic, Belinda Bencic (13), and World No. 1 and French Open champ Ashleigh Barty (1) on the way. She battled for three sets against Serena, but eventually ended the best Slam run in her career against her. Later in the year, Ali recorded her best WTA Premier performance by reaching the final, and qualified for the WTA Elite Trophy for the first time. She ended the year at a career-high No. 18
Veteran John Isner followed up on his career year by reaching the Miami Open final again. (He didn’t drop a set on the way to the final.) Unfortunately, John lost to Federer after suffering a stress fracture that kept him off court for several weeks. Despite all of this, Isner ended his tenth consecutive year in the ATP top 20—a feat accomplished only by him and the Big Three (Federer, Djokovic, and Nadal). John also signed the fist CBD deal in tennis this year, partnering with Defy. Plus, he and his wife had their second child, John Hobbes—congratulations, John & Madison!
Topnotch Management also signed several promising young players.
JJ Wolf had an outstanding career at Ohio State University before turning pro this summer. JJ has an ATP ranking of No. 188 while only having had the opportunity to play a very limited pro schedule. Wolf has already captured his two ATP Challenger titles, at Columbus and Champaign, and has won multiple matches at ATP 1000 series events.
Zachary Svajda was the youngest player in the Main Draw of the US Open since 2005 after winning the the 2019 USTA Boys 18 Nationals in Kalamazoo. (He took veteran Paolo Lorenzi to five sets in a four-hour, twenty-minute battle.) Through his matches in the International Tennis Federation's (ITF) Futures circuit, Svajda became one of the youngest Americans to earn a point on the ATP Tour before his 16th birthday. This year, he also won his first Challenger main draw match. As a rising Junior player, Svajda has focused his attention on developing for the game at the pro level. He has hit and trained with several pros, including Roger Federer, John Isner, and other pros who are based at the USTA National Campus in Lake Nona.
Katrina Scott is widely regarded as one of the top global prospect from the 2004 women's class. In 2019, Scott earned semifinals results at ITF G1 events in both Charleroi-Marcinelle (clay) and Nottingham (grass), and reached the Round of 16 at Wimbledon Juniors (grass) and the quarterfinals of the US Open Juniors (hard) this summer. In her first event after turning pro, she kept the momentum going by reaching the semifinals of the Oracle Pro Series Malibu W25 event.
Other notable accomplishments include: Zhang Shuai winning the 2019 Australian Open doubles title with Sam Stosur and reaching the quarterfinals of Wimbledon in singles; Caroline Garcia’s Fed Cup Championship and title at Nottingham; Ekaterina Alexandrova becoming Russian No. 1 after winning a second-straight Limoges title and reaching one semifinal, two quarterfinals, the third round at the BNP Paribas Open and the Rogers Cup, and the second round of the US Open; Yoshihito Nishioka’s defeat of fellow countryman and his hero, Kei Nishikori, at the Western & Southern Open on his way to the quarterfinals; Shelby Rogers’ comeback from injury at her home tournament; Cameron Norrie reaching a career-high ranking of No. 41; and Tennys Sandgren winning the ASB Classic (ATP 250; Cameron Norrie was the other finalist).
Overall, it was a thrilling and highly successful year for Topnotch in tennis. Congratulations to all of our athletes—we can’t wait to start another year!
Golf: great accomplishments
Aaron Cockerill earned full European Tour status after finishing well inside the top-25 cutoff (T5) at the Final Stage of Q School. He notched three top-7 finishes on the Challenge Tour this year, and will be the only Canadian on the European Tour in 2020.
Fred Wedel earned Korn Ferry Tour status after advancing through 3 rounds of Q School. This year on PGA Tour China he had two top-10 and eight top-25 finishes, lifting him to 34th on the PGA Tour China Order of Merit.
In November, Cole Miller Monday qualified for the RSM Classic, a PGA Tour event. This was Cole’s second official PGA TOUR event to go along with the 2018 US Open.
Lakareber Abe, whom we signed this year, locked up Symetra Tour status and competed in her first Ladies European Tour event finishing T16 at the Magical Kenya Ladies Open.
Jason Birnbaum was named one of the top teachers in the state of NY by Golf Digest...again!
Topnotch Management also signed Will Register, Alex Scott, and Kyler Tate. Other notable accomplishments: Martin Simonsen notched three Top 3 finishes on the Challenge Tour and Armando Favela got married—congrats!
Soccer: successful inaugural seasons
Mark Lowry created a phenomenon by leading El Paso Locomotive FC to the Western Conference Final in their inaugural season. The hype around the team was real, and despite the disappointing loss, we’re sure soccer will be alive and well in El Paso for years to come due to Mark and his team’s energy.
Jordan Brown, Nathan Mavila, and Malyk Hamilton won the 2019 CPL regular season as part of Calgary’s Cavalry FC. 2019 was also the first Canadian Premier League season.
The soccer division also signed one of the top MLS draft prospects, Phillip Goodrum. Phillip played for University of North Carolina, Wilmington; he’s one of two players in UNCW men’s soccer history to earn First-Team All-CAA honors three times in his career. Phillip is projected to go early first round in the upcoming 2020 MLS SuperDraft.
We also reached an agreement with Rhone, a clothing brand, to supply a gift basket to any first round draft picks in the upcoming MLS draft that sign with Topnotch.
Overall, we have a lot to look forward to in 2020. We can’t wait to see what the new decade will bring!
Congratulations, everyone, and keep up the good work! #BeTopnotch
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