The teen is sixth in the PIF ATP Live Race to Jeddah

#NextGenATP Joao Fonseca captured the attention of tennis fans at last month’s Rio Open presented by Claro, where the 17-year-old became the second youngest ATP 500 quarter-finalist since the series began.

Crushing fierce forehands and flashing his shotmaking ability, Fonseca was living out his dream week 10 minutes from home. “This is where I belong,” he said in an interview after upsetting Arthur Fils in the first round.

The Brazilian, who won the 2023 US Open boys’ singles title, has since turned pro and is launching his career via the same path that every professional takes: working his way up the ATP Challenger Tour, which prides itself in being the springboard of tomorrow’s stars.

In action this week at the Paraguay Open Dove Men+Care in Asuncion, Fonseca is soaking in every moment of his rapid rise.

“I think last year, everything happened too fast. This year it's happening the same,” Fonseca told “I started the year around 600 and now I'm 341, I won two rounds of ATP in Rio. It means a lot. I think the visibility of my name is growing a lot. [I’m] trying to stay with the routines, stay with my team, that's what I want to grow as fast as possible. I'm developing, the evolution is still going.”

Just 15 months ago, Fonseca made his mark at the ATP Challenger Tour level when he became the first player born in 2006 to win a match at that level. Then ranked No. 1,363 in the PIF ATP Rankings, Fonseca surged into the last eight as a wild card in his Challenger debut in Sao Leopoldo. The unwavering home support that week was unmistakable.

“Jo-ao Fon-seca!” “Jo-ao Fon-seca!” “Jo-ao Fon-seca!” echoed through the Brazilian crowd as the country’s up-and-coming star was unfolding before their very eyes.

Now, the teen is sixth in the PIF ATP Live Race to Jeddah and is quickly garnering attention across the world as he aims for his maiden trip to the 20-and-under Next Gen ATP Finals.

Hailing from the beach neighbourhood Ipanema, located in south Rio, Fonseca first started playing tennis aged four and enjoyed a ‘normal childhood’, with activities ranging from football, climbing, cycling, volleyball and playing video games.

At age 12, Fonseca met coach Guilherme Teixeira, who is still with him today, at the Rio de Janeiro Country Club.

“I say he's like my second father, one of my best friends,” Fonseca said. “I talk a lot with him not only related to tennis, but also things related to life. It's very nice to have this relationship with your coach. It's very easy to work with him.”

Fonseca was originally committed to play for the University of Virginia this year, but his standout run in Rio partly influenced his February decision to instead turn pro.

“I think the Rio Open was so much of a jump that I couldn't say no to the pro tour. My family and I were thinking about it for a long time. It was a very difficult decision,” said Fonseca, who is at a career-high No. 341 in the PIF ATP Rankings “My parents are amazing, they always support me. I had no pressure at all to decide anything related to university. They just supported my decision.”

It may only be a matter of time before Fonseca is a household name on the ATP Tour, but there are no shortcuts to bypass the journey it takes. Fans can first catch the #NextGenATP star in a more intimate setting on the ATP Challenger Tour, where Fonseca will continue to lay the foundation for a long-term pro career.

“I think the ATP Challenger Tour is one of the most important parts for the development of a player,” Fonseca said. “The guys from 500 to 100, they play Challengers and they have a very high level. I think it's very important for me not just to play the high tournaments like the ATP Tour, but also the Challengers for my development.”