Liv Hovde, 16, is the best female junior tennis player in all of McKinney. And also the country. In July, she won the Wimbledon girls’ championship, becoming only the second American in 30 years to do so. She was rewarded with a pretty cool trophy, a dinner with Novak Djokovic, and the No. 4 ranking in the world. Next up was the US Open, which she lost in qualifiers to Chinese player Wang Qiang. It won’t be the last you see of her. (The interview below happened prior to the tournament.)
Unless I’m mistaken, there’s not a single grass court in North Texas. How did you prepare for that Wimbledon surface and the sliding and everything?I played a tournament in Roehampton [in London], which was the warmup tournament. That was my first time playing on grass. I just tried to practice as much as possible and figure out the movements. It gets better every match, but it’s still a very difficult surface.
I’m talking to you on a day when it is 102 degrees. Were you outside on a court or do you get to do all your training inside? I was outside in the morning, and I train indoors in the afternoon because it’s way too hot. I train about three and a half hours per day.
That trophy you won at Wimbledon, it’s like a silver chalice. Did you take it out to the bars and drink a bunch of Pimm’s out of it? [laughs] I just took it to my hotel room and just was always looking at it because it is very pretty, and it’s just crazy. I got to go to the Wimbledon Champions Ball. Every winner—men’s, women’s, doubles—they all get dressed up fancy and go to the dinner. Novak Djokovic gave a speech and it was a really fun, great experience.
What did they serve? Some kind of fish.
The city of McKinney has declared July 19 Liv Hovde Day. What’s the best way to celebrate Hovde Day in 2023? This year, I had a bunch of treats. I got Crumbl Cookies and donuts, and then I went out to dinner that night. Next year, people should just play tennis and enjoy it, have fun.
Skirt, shorts, or skorts? Um, probably skirt.
Adidas or Nike? I’m with Yonex. I’ve been with them since I was 10 years old.
How big is too big for a tennis racket bag? When it’s bigger than you are. But it’s crazy how big they get.
Could I beat you at pickleball? For sure. I’ve never played. Well, actually, I played once, and I’m not that good.
Who would you rather have lunch with? Billie Jean, Serena, or Naomi? Billie Jean. She has so much knowledge, and I really look up to her as a person, that she really speaks her mind. I’ve always admired her. And she said congratulations to me on Twitter, which was such an honor. That was pretty cool.
What’s your Rotten Tomatoes score for King Richard? I have not seen it. I don’t watch a lot of movies, unfortunately.
What?! You have got to see King Richard, given what it is you do. I just gave you an assignment.
I feel bad about that. I know. I’ll get to it.
Billie Jean said congratulations to me on Twitter, which was such an honor.
When you’re rich and famous and you’re on the pro tour, are you going to settle down in Florida like the Williams sisters or Las Vegas like Steffi Graf, or are you going to stick around North Texas like John Isner? I want to go to Los Angeles. I just love the weather and the beach, the whole vibe.
Last one then. I’m going to give you some advice. When you go to the U.S. Open in New York in September, consider playing left-handed. Oh.
Think about it. All your opponents will have been preparing to play a right-hander. You go in there with the racket in the other hand. Huge advantage. Yeah. I’ll think about it.