Hard work really does pay off—just ask Tommy Paul, who has earned his ranking points the hard way, almost exclusively on the ATP Challenger circuit. After struggling with long-term elbow and knee injuries, his ranking plummeted from No. 149 in January 2018 to No. 392 just seven months later.

On Thursday, the 21-year-old American secured first place in the USTA’s Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge with his performance at the ATP Challenger event in Savannah, GA. He has been on a tear since losing in the first round of qualifying at the US Men’s Clay Court Championship in Houston last month, winning nine consecutive matches, including wins over Paolo Lorenzi, Mitchell Krueger, Gastao Elias and Tennys Sandgren.

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Tommy Paul gets hot, wins 2019 USTA Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge

Tommy Paul gets hot, wins 2019 USTA Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge

Needless to say, Paul was excited to make his first ever French Open main draw.

“I’m really, really pumped up right now," says Paul. "I’m pumped to play some matches against the best players. I can play really well on clay, I grew up playing on this surface.”

He credits his coach Diego Moyano, who never stopped believing in him.

“Diego is the man, having him in my corner has been unbelievable. That guy works harder than I do. Even when I am injured, he never stops believing. I hit with him every single day. The guy is a machine.”

Paul will play his quarterfinal match in Savannah today against Aleksandar Vukic of Australia. His ATP Challenger record in April is a sizzling 12-1, and he currently sits at a career-high ranking of No. 133.

“My ranking was at a low point, but I knew I could still play at a high level,” Paul said. “It just sucked because I couldn’t play, I just had to sit and watch my ranking drop.”

Look out for the young American in Paris, as he is ready to do some damage on the dirt.

Tommy Paul gets hot, wins 2019 USTA Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge

Tommy Paul gets hot, wins 2019 USTA Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge