Oliver Crawford

Young and gifted? Yes. Brummie? Debatable, but we’re claiming the tennis star, Oliver Crawford, as one of our own and we’ll hear no more of it

The 24-year-old may have been born in South Carolina, but both of his parents are proud Brummies, so when Oliver switched his nationality from American to British earlier in the year, we jumped at the chance to interview him. We caught up with him on the back of his first ever Grand Slam win and looking forward to the grass court season.

Oliver is still in the early stages of his career but has achieved much already. He was a top 10 ranked junior at Wimbledon, Roland Garros and the US Open. He has a career-high ATP ranking of 190 and has reached the final of two ATP Challengers as well as winning eight ITF tournaments. He played the qualifying tournament of the Australian Open this year as well as the US Open in 2021.

He says: “Every step up is a challenge and my next goal is to break into the top 100. That will require some ATP Challenger tournament wins and a consistent performance over the next several months. I am ready for the challenge and excited to get there.” Oliver is beginning to build a team around him – a coach, trainer, physio and an agent as well as sponsors. He says: “Together we create wins and opportunity and deal with setbacks and losses.”


Oliver has played tournaments in more than 30 countries across six continents. Thankfully he loves travelling and getting to experience new countries and cultures, so for him jetting around the world is not a chore although he accepts it can be arduous and lonely for some. Oliver views it as a privilege but explains that with limited funds and few resources and largely travelling on your own, it can be tough.

In the beginning, with no team around, a player is responsible for every aspect of organising travel, training, finding hitting partners, staying healthy physically and mentally which entails dealing with defeat, overcoming boredom, managing expectations and trying to stay balanced and focused. It’s a big ask for a young person. Oliver says: “It is not a glamorous lifestyle and the majority of professional tennis players do not make it through this stage.” Oliver was always committed to pursuing his dream of being a professional player which helped him in the early days – he also credits his very supportive family.


Speaking of family, the connection to Birmingham is strong and Oliver has spent many summers and Christmases in the city. Last year his uncle Iain gave him a very personal tour. Oliver recalls: “He took us on a 13-mile walk from Moseley, through Selly Oak, Edgbaston, Five Ways, and into the Jewellery Quarter, stopping off at ‘important’ places along the way like the houses where they grew up, the schools they went to, the pubs they frequented, and notable chip shops and curry houses.”

While in the city Oliver has practised at Edgbaston Priory where several of his family are members. He really rates the facilities saying: “The club is fantastic, the amenities and courts are first class, and the staff very friendly. I have had little experience of grass courts, so I am looking forward to spending some more time on them in Edgbaston. I am hoping that it becomes a bigger part of my summer schedule.”

Pleased with the British set-up, Oliver has found other players, coaches and staff to be ‘incredibly encouraging and welcoming’. He adds: “I am looking forward to getting more involved. Clearly, there are some world-class British players and a strong group of highly talented younger professionals too. I am excited and proud to be representing Britain. If I can get the chance to play on a national team that would be wonderful.”

Oliver loves competing one-to-one, so tennis particularly appeals from that point of view. He says: “Ultimately the performance is down to you. There are few sports which are so individually focused. I also love the physical nature of tennis. It is a gruelling sport, where speed, stamina, skill and power all come into play. Different players have different blends of these attributes and how you combine them determines your style of play, which tournaments offer your ideal conditions, and how to approach a particular opponent.” The variety of surfaces, changeable conditions and even different match format (three or five sets) excites Oliver too.

Oliver says his short-term goal is to break into the top 100 and play in the main draw of all of the Grand Slams. Beyond that, he says: “I am looking to play my best tennis and reach my full potential. Everyone dreams of winning tournaments and being number one, I share the same dreams.”