HomeSportsJessica Pegula is inspired by her mother's healing. He is mutual. ...

Jessica Pegula is inspired by her mother’s healing. He is mutual. – UnlistedNews

It was already Tuesday in Sydney, Australia, but Jessica Pegula was watching “Monday Night Football” on her phone on January 3 as she waited to take the pitch at the United Cup. She suddenly, she felt the same sick fear that many soccer fans had that day, but perhaps with more resonance.

On his little device, he watched Damar Hamlin, a Buffalo Bills safety, collapse on the turf and saw the frantic moments as paramedics tried to revive him and bundled him into an ambulance after his heart stopped beating.

She knew how critical each of those seconds was for Hamlin, who eventually made a remarkable recovery. Her mother, Kim Pegula, the president and owner of the Bills along with her husband, Terry Pegula, went into cardiac arrest in her sleep a little over a year ago. Kim Pegula’s recovery has been a slow and difficult process, made even more challenging by the loss of oxygen when it occurred.

Jessica Pegula was so shaken that she considered not playing in the United Cup, but eventually did. Days later, at the Australian Open, she wore a number 3 patch on her outfit to honor Hamlin. Coincidentally, number 3 was her ranking at the time, an amazing achievement considering all she had been through in the previous six months.

The family sat vigil at Kim Pegula’s hospital bed for several days last June. Jessica left to play Wimbledon with a mixed bag of emotions but also knowing that it was what her mother wanted. Full of worries, exhausted from the previous weeks and plagued by sinusitis, she lost in the third round.

But somehow, while her mother was steadily progressing, Pegula continued to play the best tennis of her career at 28 (she turned 29 in February). He reached a Canadian Open semifinal and, for the first time, a US Open quarterfinal, his third major quarterfinal of the year. He won the Guadalajara event last October and, in January, reached another quarterfinal at the Australian Open. Ranked No. 4 in the world, she is the highest ranked American woman.

On Sunday, she marked one last major quarterfinal appearance when she demolished Lesia Tsurenko, 6-1, 6-3, in the fourth round. She has now reached the quarterfinal stage at each of the four major tournaments, and as the No.4 seed, she has an excellent chance to enter her first Grand Slam tournament semifinal if she can beat Marketa Vondrousova, the world No. 42 player. , on Tuesday.

Still, it’s been hard traveling these past 12 months and being away from her mother, who urges Pegula to keep fighting like she has.

“She wouldn’t want me to do anything else,” Pegula said on Sunday, after beating Tsurenko. “I think she would want me to keep winning and competing and putting myself out there.”

Pegula explained how her mother, who along with Terry Pegula also owns the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, helped shape her tennis career without being overbearing. She said her mother had left tennis for the most part to others, but had helped her come up with ideas to help her improve and navigate the complex and unforgiving world of professional tennis. She was always inspired by her mother’s example of hard work and independent strength. Now, she says, her mother is inspired by her when she sees her on the court.

in a article in The Players’ Tribune In February, Pegula revealed for the first time the events surrounding her mother’s illness and recovery, describing how she was playing for her. On Sunday, after his last win, he talked about the strength and motivation each was drawing from the other.

“She wants to see me on TV,” Jessica Pegula said Sunday. “I think that also inspires her in her recovery, seeing me still out there playing.”

And playing well. Now healthy after injuries halted her progression through the ranks, Pegula has cashed in on a healthy consistency, her current ranking of No. 4 placing her just behind the newly crowned Big Three of No. 1 Iga Swiatek, No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka and No. .3 Elena Rybakina.

Pegula doesn’t express any outward resentment at not being included in their ranks, but makes it clear that she’s striving to change the perception that the top of the women’s tour is a triad.

“I would definitely love to crash the Big Three party, if possible,” he said. “That would definitely be a goal. I mean, those girls have been playing really well.”

All those women are at least four years younger than Pegula. She was asked if her experience had led to her recent success, but she insisted that health had been more important. Her career has been stalled by a knee injury and hip surgery, and being in the gym rehabbing is a different experience from playing games on the pitch.

He also said that his consistency was not an accident. When she reached her first major quarterfinal, at the Australian Open in 2021, she was determined not to let it all go to waste at the subsequent tournament in Doha, Qatar. She was ranked 44th at the time and had to win three qualifying rounds to enter that event, and she ended up capturing six straight matches before falling in the final to No. 4 Petra Kvitova.

“I don’t want to be that person who makes it to the quarterfinals of a major and then loses the first round,” he said, adding: “I took a lot of confidence from that.”

She has now reached the quarterfinals in five of the last seven Grand Slam events and is only the fifth American to reach the quarterfinals at all four majors in the past 25 years, joining Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Sloane Stephens. and Madison Keys, who reached the quarterfinals Monday by beating 16-year-old Russian phenom Mirra Andreeva in three sets.

For Pegula, each time her tournament ends, it will be an opportunity to return to the United States and, if time permits, see her mother. But soon after, with the hard-court season underway, he’ll be back on the court with Kim Pegula watching. Jessica Pegula said that her mother did not like to be pampered or coddled.

“She’s like, ‘Go do your thing,’” he said.


Sara Marcus
Sara Marcus
Meet Sara Marcus, our newest addition to the Unlisted News team! Sara is a talented author and cultural critic, whose work has appeared in a variety of publications. Sara's writing style is characterized by its incisiveness and thought-provoking nature, and her insightful commentary on music, politics, and social justice is sure to captivate our readers. We are thrilled to have her join our team and look forward to sharing her work with our readers.


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