As we reveal this year's edition of The 21 & Under Club, we'd like to call your attention to Team Luke Hope for Minds, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports families with children who have suffered an acquired brain injury. Headed by former Texas Tech tennis coach Tim Siegel—whose son, Luke, suffered severe head and chest trauma from a golf cart accident which resulted in an anoxic brain injury—Team Luke Hope for Minds has lost numerous fundraising opportunities throughout 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
To learn more about the organization, and for information on how to donate, go to teamlukehopeforminds.org
ATP Rank: No. 114
UTR Rank: No. 72
What he's done since last summer: Captured his first ATP singles title at Santiago in February 2020; was ranked No. 373 the week of August 12, 2019
Thiago Seyboth Wild, the expressive Brazilian who took up tennis at 4 as his dad managed tennis academies, will never forget this spring.
He won his first-ever ATP title in Santiago, Chile, in early March. He turned 20 years old nine days later. He then became the first tennis player reported to have contracted the coronavirus after the tour shut down on March 8 at Indian Wells.
While it was unquestionably a scary time for the Rio resident, it also proved to be a moment where he realized what was most important to him.
“I definitely felt the love from the tennis community,” says Seyboth Wild, who kept fans updated on Instagram while recovering. “It’s nice to see how people can band together and support each other during difficult times.
“Family means everything to me. I’d never be where I am today without them…(we) have a really special bond.”
Seyboth Wild topped fellow 2020 21 & Under Club addition Casper Ruud in the Santiago final. (Getty Images)
If Seyboth Wild’s play before the stoppage was any indication, he’ll be sharing plenty of success with a growing fanbase. In just over a year, he rose from No. 447 in the rankings to No. 114, and has become one of the tour’s must-watch NextGen players.
“Hard work, plain and simple,” says Seyboth Wild about his quick ascent. “And having a good team around me. It’s easy to get stuck obsessing over a bad match, and I’m definitely guilty of that from time to time. My team members motivate me to move on and focus on ways to improve.”
Seyboth Wild won the US Open junior title in 2018, and less than 18 months later became the youngest tournament champion from Brazil in ATP tour history. While he calls Rafael Nadal his hero, he’d like to revitalize tennis in a nation home to another French Open legend, Gustavo Kuerten. Seyboth Wild met Kuerten when he was 6; since then the former No. 1 has been a mentor and friend.
“If I can inspire young kids to pick up a racquet, I’ll be happy,” he says. “I also hope I can get fans in Brazil excited about the future of tennis.”
While Seyboth Wild says he’s not paying much attention to what his fellow ATP up-and-comers are achieving, the taste of early success he experienced in Santiago could prove addicting.
“I felt a great deal of accomplishment when holding that trophy,” he says. “It’s a feeling that you want to keep chasing, you immediately look to the next match, the next week, the next title.”
The Class of 2020 is now on TENNIS.com and Baseline.
Monday, July 27: Sofia Kenin | Monday, July 27: Elena Rybakina | Monday, July 27: Alex de Minaur, Dayana Yastremska, Casper Ruud | Tuesday, July 28: Stefanos Tsitsipas | Tuesday, July 28: Thiago Seyboth Wild | Wednesday, July 29: Amanda Anisimova | Wednesday, July 29: Brandon Nakashima | Thursday, July 30: Coco Gauff | Thursday, July 30: Caty McNally | Thursday, July 30: Jannik Sinner, Iga Swiatek | Friday, July 31: Felix Auger-Aliassime | Friday, July 31: Carlos Alcaraz | Saturday, August 1: Denis Shapovalov | Saturday, August 1: J.J. Wolf | Sunday, August 2: Bianca Andreescu | Sunday, August 2: Leylah Fernandez | Sunday, August 2: Marketa Vondrousova, Miomir Kecmanovic