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Ernesto Escobedo has had many memorable matches on the ATP World Tour, but one in particular stands out most.

ATP Firsts: #NextGenATP American Escobedo

The rising star reveals his first pet and how his first tournament went

Next Gen ATP American Ernesto Escobedo cracked the Top 100 in the Emirates ATP Rankings for the first time this month, jumping well over 200 spots since April 2016. The 20-year-old California native talks about the best gift he ever received, the first professional tennis match he ever watched and when he knew he loved the sport.

First moment I realised I loved tennis
When I was about eight years old and started to play in tennis tournaments. I loved being on the court being myself or competing with someone else. I played basketball and soccer, but tennis was always in my heart.

First tournament I played
It was five minutes from my house in West Covina at a club called Pacific Palms. I was eight years old. I played Deiton Baughman and it was the first match I ever played. He won 10-8 in the third-set tie-break and it was just a crazy match.

First coach and most important lesson he/she taught me
My first coach was Fernando Chavez. He taught me how to hit the ball and also just have fun on the court. I found it very stressful to be on the court by myself as a kid and he taught me how to just enjoy the game.

First pinch-me moment on the ATP World Tour
When I won my first-round match last year at the US Open. I couldn’t believe it. It was my first Grand Slam main draw and to get the win there was really special. I had about 15 friends and relatives there cheering me on, so it was just a great moment.

First professional tennis match I ever watched
The first match I ever watched was when Andy Roddick won the US Open in 2003. I watched it from the first point to the last and it gave me so much inspiration to play tennis. Thanks, Andy! [Smiles].

First celebrity crush
I know this one… she was on iCarly, Drake & Josh (Miranda Cosgrove).

First pet
My first pet was a dog we got about five years ago. I had always wanted a dog and my sister just brought him home, without permission. [Laughs]. It was probably one of the best presents ever.

First time I flew business class
It was this year flying back from the Australian Open. It was really fun to be in business class, flying in such a big plane. Just a great experience.