By: Krystle Crossman
18 year old Taylor Townsend is a formidable tennis player. She has just made history as the youngest person ever to advance to the third round of the French Open. She was ranked 205th when she beat Alize Cornet who was ranked 21st. This record would not have happened if the U.S. Tennis Association had gotten their way. They said that they were considering not letting her continue in the competition and would not support her efforts until she lost weight. This was two years ago when she was just 16 years old.
Townsend persevered and went to the tournament. She did not have the support of the USTA which meant that she had to pay all of her own travel expenses out of pocket. But it was all worth it once she had played. She won the junior doubles title. She advanced to the quarterfinals for singles. She also won the Junior Australian Open in the singles and doubles category as well as the junior doubles title at Wimbledon. She is a force to be reckoned with and will not let anyone take her down because of her weight. The USTA states that they are not supportive of her because they are thinking about her long-term health and her development as a player over time. They feel that her weight would hinder these two things.
Serena Williams gives her full support to Townsend. She had once been on the receiving end of criticism about her weight as well. She said that everyone should get to play and that it was harder for women because they are overly scrutinized. Townsend separated from the coaches that she had been training with and is now training with two tennis pros instead. If anything all of the negative feedback and lack of support from the Tennis Association has helped Townsend as she is more determined as ever.
She recently joined forces with the USTA again, they gave her the money back for her travel expenses that they did not pay, and they are supporting her in her journey.