World No.5 Jessica Pegula has been included in Forbes' "30 Under 30" for 2024. The magazine annually singles out go-getters and innovators spanning 20 industries, showcasing who will lead the way in the next generation of talent.
The 29-year-old American is highlighted as one of the up-and-coming luminaries in the sporting field, alongside other young stars like NFL quarterback Lamar Jackson and world champion sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson.
Pegula has experienced a significant rise over the past few years, after struggling with injuries earlier in her career. She rose from year-end No.62 in 2020 to No.18 in 2021 and has finished the past two seasons inside the Top 5 of the WTA Rankings.
"I just look at is as a part of my career and my job to help grow the game."#ForbesUnder30 lister Jessica Pegula spoke about rising through the ranks of tennis players and making an impact. https://t.co/DqCCxpOZdn pic.twitter.com/Z0YkVFxmfX— Forbes (@Forbes) November 28, 2023
"I always thought that I would make it happen," Pegula said in her interview with Forbes, "but at the same time, putting in all the work and making it happen four years later, about where my mindset was, I don't know if I really truly believed it. I did, but I didn't. It's just been a very long journey."
Pegula picked up multiple Hologic WTA Tour singles titles in 2023, winning her third and fourth career singles titles at Montreal and Seoul respectively.
Pegula also reached the championship match at this year's season-ending WTA Finals, and she is the 2023 leader in hard-court match-wins on tour, with 43. She has also reached the quarterfinals at all four Grand Slams after her run to the elite eight at 2023 Wimbledon.
In addition to her accomplishments on the court, Buffalo, New York native Pegula also wants to make an impact outside the lines. She has been a member of the WTA Players Council, as well as an entrepreneur.
"I would love to just know that I helped the game," Pegula said. "Helped kids, especially. I love tennis, and I think it's created so many opportunities. Even just sitting here today, the opportunities it's created for me, it's insane.
"Hopefully [I'll] leave a mark, not just results-wise. Whether it's just helping us get to equal pay or helping more kids get racquets in their hands, I think any of those things would be amazing, and I want to give back to the sport as much as I can."