TAYLOR TOWNSEND is an 18 year old phenom as was evidenced by her terrific performance at the French Open, making it to the third round in her very first Grand Slam. Her success is no surprise to those who have been following her career. In 2012, she was the first American to hold the year-end No. 1 junior ranking since 1982. That year she also won the girls’ singles and doubles titles at the Australian Open; the doubles title at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open; and the singles title at the prestigious Easter Bowl. She turned pro at the end of the year at 16.
It was not easy for her Taylor to get to play in the French Open. While the U.S. and France have a reciprocal wild-card agreement, the USTA has instituted a playoff format with the winner getting the American berth. Taylor won it by winning back-to-back ITF titles (the first two her career) in Charlottesville, Va., and Indian Harbour Beach, Fla., this spring. In the latter event, she won her singles semifinal and final, and doubles semifinal and final, in the same day.
The USTA was her nemesis at another critical time in her career. In 2012 the USTA tried to stop her from playing in the girls’ U.S. Open because they felt she wasn’t physically fit to play. They even refused to pay her travel expenses to attend the tournament. Undaunted, and riding on her status of being the top-ranked junior at the time, she paid her own way and made it to the quarterfinals.
The experience has not only made her stronger, it has taught her to love her body and quiet her critics by her performance. She is destined for greatness!