Getting To Know... Taylor Townsend
Published May 28, 2014 12:14
Eleven months later she became the first American since 1982 to finish as year-end junior No.1, at which point she decided to chance her hand in the senior ranks. And while the transition has not been entirely seamless, there have certainly been encouraging signs of late.
The 18-year-old sat down with wtatennis.com for a long-overdue Getting To Know...
How did you start playing tennis?
TT: My mom played in college and she was friends with Donald and Alona Young. So we would go to the park and watch her play and one day I just picked up the racquet and started playing, and then fell in love with the game. I actually started as a right-handed player for two years and then something was wrong - my balance was off, I would always fall. And then I switched to lefty and I was so upset because I was really bad, but then it worked out well. Looking back on it, it didn't take too long to adjust to it because I'm naturally left-handed. I just had to adjust because I was used to playing right-handed. It was different, but once I got it, it was easier.
Can you tell us a little about your family?
TT: My dad, Gary, and my mom, Sheila, are both administrators in the school system, and my sister, Symone, is 20 and a junior in college at Florida A&M. I also have a new dog named Sochi - she's a pikapoo. And I have a cat named Gilligan. Occasionally, my family travels with me. My mom comes more often than my dad and sister because they're busy with school and stuff like that.
What's your current coaching situation?
TT: I started working with Zina Garrison and Kamau Murray in September. I used to work with Donald and Alona Young when I was younger and Billie Jean King has helped me a lot, which has been great.
How would you describe your playing style?
TT: I would say I'm an aggressive all-court player - I can do everything. My strengths are my forehand, net game and slice. And I'm getting mentally stronger, too.
Who was your tennis idol when you were younger?
TT: My tennis idol growing up was Martina Navratilova. I have met her, and I was really nervous at first, but it was awesome. She offered to help any time she could. That was really nice of her.
What's the best memory of your career so far?
TT: My best tennis memory so far is being at 2014 Roland Garros and winning two tournaments to get there - including winning four matches in one day.
Who has been your most difficult opponent?
TT: The toughest opponent I've ever had to face was Ana Ivanovic last year in Indian Wells. The match was a lot closer than the score, but at the beginning I was really nervous, so I was hitting balls to the fence. I could definitely understand why she got to No.1 in the world.
Do you have any short or long-term goals?
TT: Short term, I'm just trying to move up in the ranks. Long term, I want to be Top 10, Top 5 and win all the Slams several times.
What's your favorite tournament?
TT: I love the Slams, but this one (Roland Garros) is my first one in main draw, and I'm getting all the main draw perks. Once I see all of them as main draw and as a pro, then I can get back to you on which is my favorite!
How far did you go in your education?
TT: I'm finishing my senior year of high school right now online. I expect to graduate at the end of the year. I want to take college classes, just to see what I like. Maybe take a light load of classes so I can focus on my tennis.
How do you relax when you're away from the court?
TT: I love music. I listen to music all the time. I love to dance. I don't have any favorite artists and I love all genres. I played the violin for two years. I like to hang out with friends when I can, and I'm starting to shop more.
If you could describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
TT: One word to describe me? Bubbly.
If you could meet one person in the world, who would it be?
What would you be doing now if you weren't a tennis player?
TT: I couldn't tell you what I would be if I weren't a tennis player because I like too many things. It would take me a year just to narrow it down.
Can you tell us an interesting fact about yourself?
TT: I get manicures and pedicures before every tournament. I try to do it myself, but I mess it up so I get it professionally done.