After 11 years of trying, Sam Querrey of the United States finds himself in a spot he’s never been in: a semifinal singles match at a Grand Slam tournament.
Querrey got that far by stunning Andy Murray, the No. 1-ranked player in the world, in the quarterfinal round of the 2017 Wimbledon tennis tournament.
Now, his attention turns to Marin Cilic of Croatia, who he faces with a chance to reach the final on the line.
Querrey, 29, is from San Francisco, California and lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. He’s won a shade over $8 million on the tour since he turned professional straight out of high school in 2006. His tennis talent was encouraged by his parents at a young age, and his continuous ability to win big matches has got him to where he is today.
Here’s what you need to know about his family:
1. Sam’s Been Dating Abby Dixon For 2 Years
Querry, 29, was on the reality TV show “Millionaire Matchmaker” in 2015, where he was on a hunt to find love. During the show, Querrey often spoke about the type of girls he was looking to start a relationship with: Someone who would love to join him around the world and witness him play tennis.
“And I want to find someone who’s excited to spend the rest of their life with me, and to get married, and to start a family,” he said during the show.
The show ended without him finding love. Since the show’s run, however, he found his match: model Abby Dixon. They’ve been together for two years, and her Instagram account is flooded with pictures of the happy couple together.
Dixon has modeled for New Version Models, The Lab Milan, Genetic LA and MP Meda Miami and has appeared in numerous international fashion magazines over the years.
According to her profile, she is 5’9″. A number of Dixon’s Instagram photos show her modeling swimwear, and traveling to a handful of different countries.
2. Sam’s Sister Played Collegiate Volleyball
Sam isn’t the only person in his family who has athletic talent. His sister Ellen, his lone sibling, had a solid career playing volleyball.
Ellen played high school volleyball at Thousand Oaks High School before taking her talents to the University of Arizona. She was on the team as a walk-on outside hitter and would often speak about how it feels being the sister of a professional tennis player.
“He’s a humble guy, no matter how much success he has,” she told the Ventura County Star in 2008. “We’ve always been close, so he’s definitely had an influence on me. He’s really a good person.”
No matter where she is at the time, she always tries to make it to a TV or one of his matches to watch him play.
“A lot of times when I call him, I try to be the one person who doesn’t always ask about tennis,” Ellen said in an article posted to Tuscon.com in 2010. “So, I ask, ‘I know you’re mad, but what are you doing next?'”
3. Sam’s Father Was the One Who Encouraged Him to Skip College
Athletic ability runs in Sam and Ellen’s genes, as their father is a former baseball player for the University of Arizona. He played baseball at the school on a scholarship and was once drafted by the Detroit Tigers prior to deciding to go to college in 1981.
As surprising as it may be, when Sam’s talent in tennis was evident, it was Mike who pushed him to pass up a scholarship to go to college and instead turn professional.
“He was a very good athlete but didn’t want to risk a free college education because at that time it was pretty important to him,” Chris Querrey said of her husband’s decision to skip a chance to play in the MLB to Tennis View Magazine in 2016. “It did influence Sam, I’m sure, and my husband was key in saying, ‘Sam, you can always go to college. Playing a sport, that’s limited. That’s finite.’”
Sam passed up a full-ride scholarship to play tennis at the University of Southern California before he opted to turn pro in June 2006.
Nowadays, Mike works as a mortgage banker and is often seen with his wife, Chris, at Sam’s tennis matches.
4. Sam’s Mother, Chris, Introduced Him to Tennis
When he was growing up, it was his mother, Chris, who planted the seed for interest in his tennis career. When he was just 4-years old, Sam had a tennis racket in his hand and started training himself to become an elite player on the court.
At the time, Chris worked at La Cantera, a tennis club, and Sam would often come there and face off against children a lot older than him. He attended a tennis camp at the club, where the minimum age was 8 He was just 6-years old, but they allowed him to play and for his tennis talent to show.
According to an article by the Press Democrat, Sam would “spend all day hitting balls fired from a machine.”
Before he knew it, he was the star of his high school tennis team and his aspirations were sky-high.
5. Sam’s 2016 Wimbledon Victory Against Novak Djokovic Was a ‘Point of Pride’ for his Family
In 2016, when Querrey, the 28th-ranked player at the time, defeated top-seeded Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon, his family was understandably ecstatic.
When the decision in the match was complete, Ellen called her brother to tell her how proud she was of him.
“It was incredible,” Ellen told the Ventura County Star. “I called Sam after and told him, ‘I don’t want to live vicariously through you, but this is seriously the most exciting day of my life. I am so psyched and happy for him. He was amazing.”
The improbable victory was big for his friends, too. Sam’s best friend and former roommate Dan Farrugia told the newspaper that watching him play and win at Wimbledon was incredible.
“I had about 100 text messages when I landed back here around noon or 1 telling me Sam was up two sets on Novak,” Farrugia said to the publication. “It killed me to have to come back. I knew Sam had a great chance to win, and I was really hoping the rain delay wouldn’t hurt his momentum.”
When Sam turned professional right out of high school, Farrugia was the leader of Sam’s fan club, called “Samurai.” At a few matches, Farrugia and his friends showed up in the crowd with the letters S-A-M-U-R-A-I written on their chests, he told the newspaper.