Jessica Pegula: The daughter of an American billionaire who could be America’s next Grand Slam champion


For a lot of, the brand new yr offers a chance to attempt to be higher—at work, in relationships, or to make one’s desires come true.

It seems to be like America’s top-ranked tennis participant Jessica Pegula obtained the memo.

The 28-year-old is off to a terrific begin in 2023, claiming her first profession victory Iga ŚwiatekThey beat world No. 1 6-2 6-2 within the opening match of the Fed Cup semi-final in Sydney earlier this month.

And with the Australian Open Championship Afoot, extra success may very well be on his method for the American, who has reached the quarter-finals of the match for the previous two years. On Friday, Pegula simply gained her third spherical match in opposition to Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk 6-0, 6-2.

Eurosport skilled Barbara Chet informed CNN Sport: “Jess positively has an opportunity to win her first Grand Slam title.

“I watched her play in opposition to Iga Światek And it actually shocked me. I actually knocked Iga off the sphere. If she will repeat this degree, she will win the Australian Open.”

Ranked third on the planet, the Pegula is descended from an athletic breed of a unique variety. Her father, billionaire Terry Pegula, and her mom, Kim, sit on the helm of a sports activities empire, co-owning the NFL. Buffalo payments The Buffalo Sabers of the Nationwide Hockey League.

Her father, with a internet price of about $6.7 billion, based on Forbes journal estimatesHe made his fortune in oil and fuel by East Assets. After promoting the corporate’s belongings, her dad and mom purchased the Sabers for $189 million in 2010 and the Payments for $1.4 billion in 2014.

Iga Schwiatek shakes hands with Pegula after the women's singles quarter-finals at Roland Garros 2022 in Paris.

“She actually serves as a workhorse that I feel challenges plenty of the stereotypes and expectations you might need with somebody from her background,” stated Ben Rothenberg, senior editor at Raquet journal. CNN Sports activities.

Tennis star Pegula is a large fan of the Payments, usually juggling tennis obligations to make time to look at matches.

Outdoors of tennis, she owns her personal skincare model, Ready24. She additionally has a smooth spot for furry mates and based A Lending Paw, a charity that connects individuals with rescued and educated service animals, together with her husband, Taylor Gahagen.

Pegula obtained her begin in tennis on the age of seven, enjoying as a result of her older sister, Laura, was additionally concerned within the sport.

“I performed junior and faculty tennis, so I used to be all the time across the tennis courts, watching their matches, watching their practices. I keep in mind pondering to myself, ‘Oh my God, I’ll by no means have the ability to hit as onerous or be pretty much as good as them,’” based on Forbes.

“However I caught with it, began taking classes after faculty three, 4 days per week, and performing some tennis boot camp. That is actually the way it obtained began.”

Pegula is famous for being a

Her journey hasn’t all the time been clean, and accidents have derailed her profession. A knee harm in 2014 saved her off the tour for a yr and a half, whereas hip surgical procedure in 2017 was “the toughest to return again from”, to reporters.

I did not even know if I needed to return. I admit that this can be very troublesome. However then, “I feel I simply obtained over it. I used to be like, ‘No matter it’s, I’ll battle by it once more. ‘”

After her accidents and due to her distinctive household background, it was straightforward to imagine she would “step again from court docket,” based on Rotenberg.

“In contrast to plenty of gamers, she wasn’t enjoying to assist her dad and mom and household,” he defined. “However she actually confirmed unimaginable dedication, dedication and fervour for tennis, overcame all of the completely different accidents she had, devoted herself and performed utterly to this point.”

Along with being quantity three in singles, she is likely one of the busiest gamers on tour and “usually performs a really skilled double function,” he added.

Pegula’s breakthrough lastly got here in 2021, as she – after beginning the yr ranked No. 62 – completed the season within the prime 20 after 5 quarterfinals, a pair of semifinals and 7 top-10 finishes.

“She’s only a down-to-earth, hard-working particular person,” her coach, David Witt, stated in 2021, based on the USTA. “It is really easy to get together with. We’ve got enjoyable whereas we work onerous. And we simply clicked.” added.

Australian Ashleigh Barty defeated Pegula in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open last year.

Rothenberg agrees. “It’s been a few years in a row now, individuals actually assume she’s been type of oscillating above what individuals in all probability assume is her ceiling. She continues to defy the bars that have been set for her, that are the bounds that forecasters have set within the sport.

“You guess on it at your personal danger, even when it comes off from more and more sturdy locations. And it began out fairly sturdy,” he stated.

He stated that is proven by the reliability of her sport.

He defined, “Pegula has been extremely constant in taking down the blokes she was alleged to beat in main occasions, she has lived as much as her score, she hasn’t been upset – that is actually uncommon and actually spectacular”.

In three of final yr’s Grand Slams, Pegula misplaced within the quarter-finals to the eventual champion, who was crushed by the now-retired. Ash get together on the Australian Open and Wiatek on the French Open and the US Open. She joked that attending to this stage within the match turned her “MO”.

Last year at the Guadalajara Open, Pegula had her biggest win and her first trophy.

“My purpose all yr was to start out profitable extra championships, to maintain going all yr lengthy, and in the end it was extra rewarding on the finish of the yr,” Pegula stated. summed up in 2022. It got here in Guadalajara, the place she had her largest win and trophy.

Now comes the Australian Open.

Eurosport skilled Laura Robson, a former British No. 1 and Olympic silver medalist, informed CNN Sports activities that Pegula is “positively” one of many principal contenders for the ladies’s title.

“She’s all the time been an unimaginable striker of the ball however has improved her stability and motion so much over the previous yr,” stated Robson.

“She hits the ball higher than ever and beating Swiatek within the Nations Cup will give her a substantial amount of confidence to imagine she will lastly make that huge slam breakthrough.”

“If the circumstances in Melbourne are the identical as they have been in Sydney, I feel that basically fits her sport. Enjoying low, flat and quick is strictly what she likes, what fits her putting,” stated Rothenberg, however added that her success can depend upon who she will get them within the lottery.

“There are plenty of sturdy gamers on the market, for certain. However her fortitude is her finest weapon in some ways.”

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