Multi-talented actor Austin Nichols effectively straddled industry films and smaller, low-budget independent productions when he debuted onscreen in the early 2000s. With a fresh-faced, clean-cut look that spoke to his heightened versatility in many roles, Nichols landed his first major feature assignment in Richard Loncraine's quirky romantic comedy Wimbledon (2004) -- with a memorable turn as a snotty, obnoxious American tennis player trying desperately to seduce Kirsten Dunst. Following small roles in the disaster film The Day After Tomorrow (2004) and Jerry Bruckheimer's period basketball saga Glory Road (2006), Nichols "went indie" with a part in the low-budget drama Lenexa, 1 Mile. He also landed a plum role on the HBO series John From Cincinnati, as a mystically powered surfer, but that program failed to connect with an audience and received a cancellation after only one season. Off-camera, Nichols was a champion athlete who ranked third in the international pantheon of water skiers and won the 1997 Pan American championship in that sport; he also demonstrated great prowess in equestrianism, golf, and tennis, which more than prepared him for the Wimbledon role.