Skip to main content

Who is Ryan Harrison? Meet the American who beat Milos Raonic at the U.S. Open

Get to know the American qualifier making an impact at the 2016 U.S. Open. 

After three days, Ryan Harrison is the surprise of the 2016 U.S. Open. Ranked No. 120, the American made it through the qualifying draw before beating Adrian Mannarino on Monday and most recently upsetting No. 5 seed Milos Raonic on Wednesday.

Harrison, 24, bested Raonic in four sets after the Canadian struggled with cramping throughout the match, particularly starting in the third set. Even considering Raonic's cramping woes—he also acknowledged stress and nerves played a role—it's indisputably the biggest win of Harrison's career. 

So who is Ryan Harrison? If you're unfamiliar with Harrison's path to the U.S. Open's best underdog story, here are a few interesting facts about him as he looks to continue his surprise run in Flushing Meadows. 

His ranking rose, and then fell steeply

Ryan Harrison isn't exactly a new face on tour. He's only 24, but he turned pro in 2007 and played in his first Grand Slam main draw in 2010. Once considered one of the most promising young American male tennis players, the Louisiana native saw his ranking climb to No. 43 in 2012. But he hasn't cracked the top 100 since January 2014. 

Wozniacki upsets No. 9-seed Kuznetsova, Djokovic gets a walkover on U.S. Open Day 3

He'll play in the third round of a Slam for the first time

In 19 Grand Slam main draw appearances prior to this year's U.S. Open, Harrison had never made the third round. That changed with Wednesday's victory over Raonic. Of those 19 previous attempts, Harrison made the second round six times, including twice in six appearances at the U.S. Open. 

He has two doubles titles

Harrison has never won a singles title, but he's actually a solid doubles player and has won two career doubles titles, both with Matthew Ebden. Those titles came in Newport and Atlanta in 2011 and 2012, respectively. 

Harrison is ranked No. 239 in doubles. 

Harrison's younger brother is also a professional


Christian Harrison, two years younger than Ryan, also played in this year's U.S. Open, falling to Paul-Henri Mathieu in straight sets in the first round. Ranked No. 694, the younger Harrison continues to play professionally despite having undergone seven surgical operations before his 22nd birthday

Last week, the Harrison brothers became the first brothers in the Open Era to reach the U.S. Open main draw through qualifying. 

“You can’t imagine how proud I am of him, just everything he’s been through,” Ryan told The New York Times. “Seven surgeries, having the dream of being a professional athlete and knowing that I’m out there playing, doing what he wants to be doing. I’ll let you imagine how many phone calls I’ve had with him at 11:30 at night — him calling me because he’s not able to sleep, he’s wondering, Am I ever going to be able to play again, you know?”

U.S. Open Day 3: Monfils still wows but shows maturity in straight-sets win

Harrison is engaged to Christina McHale's older sister

Earlier this year, Ryan Harrison announced his engagement to Lauren McHale, the older sister of WTA pro Christina McHale. 

Christina isn't satisfied with just a new brother-in-law, though. 

Fun fact: He once wanted to "deck" Thanasi Kokkinakis

This occurred during a tense qualifier in Cincinnati, which was just one episode in a string of strange incidents involving Australian tennis last summer—including, yes, the Stan Wawrinka–Nick Kyrgios dustup.Sports Illustrated's Scott Price detailed the entire Australian saga in a story last September. 

Harrison's U.S. Open will potentially double his 2016 prize money

Entering the tournament, Harrison had made $179,550 in singles prize money this year. He'll bring home $140,000 for reaching the U.S. Open third round, and if he beats Marcos Baghdatis he'll increase that tournament total to $235,000.