Life on Tour: Players Share Their First Professional Tennis Memories
The WTA Insider’s Life on Tour series provides fans with a behind-the-scenes look of life on tour for professional tennis players. To kick off this series, we caught up with a variety of players to hear about their first experiences in professional tennis. Below, we explore the initial memories of some former and current WTA stars.
Ons Jabeur: Back in 2011, Ons Jabeur made history by becoming the first African or Arab to win a junior Grand Slam title since 1964 at the French Open. A year later, she made her WTA Tour main-draw debut at the 2012 Doha, receiving a wild card and taking the opportunity to face Virginie Razanno. Recalling her early days on the tour, Jabeur expressed her awe and admiration for players like Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, and Venus Williams, emphasizing how surreal it was for her to share the court with them.
Jessica Pegula: Jessica Pegula’s debut at the 2012 Indian Wells marked a turning point in her career. Despite initial feelings of being overwhelmed, Pegula reflects on how she underestimated her own abilities when she entered the professional tennis circuit, highlighting the steep learning curve and the significance of such experiences for her development as an athlete.
Marta Kostyuk: Marta Kostyuk’s entry into the WTA Tour at just 15 years old was both remarkable and challenging. Her rapid rise to success, followed by a period of depression due to immense pressure, speaks to the complex nature of competing at such a high level at a young age. Her journey represents the constant pursuit of finding balance within the sport.
Tatjana Maria: Tatjana Maria cherished the unique experience of playing on the WTA Tour, given the contrast to her junior and ITF Tour days. Her excitement and love for the game have remained constant throughout her career, reminiscing on the incredible opportunities provided by competing at the highest level.
Wang Xinyu: Wang Xinyu’s transition from junior tennis to the professional stage was nothing short of incredible. With her wild card debut at the 2018 Australian Open and subsequent experiences, Wang emphasizes the emotional significance of facing her childhood idols and the bittersweet nature of being unable to finish her matches due to injury.
Magda Linette: Magda Linette recalls her WTA debut as a significant milestone in her career, highlighting the challenges of facing her personal rivals and the complexity of emotions that came with her early success.
Yulia Putintseva: Yulia Putintseva’s fearless mindset drove her to compete against more experienced players from the get-go, proving her unwavering belief in her own abilities. Her initial challenges on tour set the stage for her resilient and determined approach to the sport.
Mirra Andreeva: Mirra Andreeva’s tour-level debut in Madrid marked the beginning of a memorable season for the budding tennis star. Her remarkable wins over top-ranked players and her surprising encounter with Andy Murray illustrate the whirlwind nature of her rise to prominence within the tennis world.
By embracing these distinct experiences and memories, players like Jabeur, Pegula, Kostyuk, Maria, Xinyu, Linette, Putintseva, and Andreeva have each honed a unique appreciation for life on the WTA Tour. Their collective and individual stories of growth and transformation in the face of immense pressure and challenges are a testament to the intricate journey that defines their ongoing careers as professional athletes.
Jessica Roberts serves up the latest in the world of tennis. With a love for the racket sport, she reports on tennis matches, player rankings, and Grand Slam events, ensuring readers stay informed about the tennis world.