It was already Tuesday in Sydney, Australia, but Jessica Pegula was watching ‘Monday Night Football’ on her mobile phone on January 3rd as she waited to take to court for the United Cup. Suddenly, she felt the same nauseating fear that many football fans had that day, but perhaps with more resonance.
With a small device, she witnesses Buffalo Bills safety Dahmer Hamlin collapse on the lawn, a desperate moment as paramedics try to resuscitate him after his heart stops and put him in an ambulance. witnessed
She understands how important every second is to Hamlin, who ultimately made a remarkable recovery. Her mother, Kim Pegula, president and owner of Bills, suffered cardiac arrest in her sleep a little over a year ago, along with her husband Terry Pegula. Kim Pegula’s recovery has been a slow and difficult process, made even more difficult by her loss of oxygen.
Jessica Pegula was very upset and considered not playing in the United Cup, but in the end she did. A few days later, at the Australian Open, he wore the number 3 patch on his jersey in honor of Hamlin. She happened to be number 3 on her singles ranking at the time, which was an amazing achievement for her considering what she’s been through in the last six months.
The family watched Kim Pegula’s hospital bedside for days last June. Jessica left to play at Wimbledon with mixed feelings and knowing it was what her mother wanted. Overwhelmed by her worries, exhausted for weeks and suffering from sinus infections, she lost in the third round.
But somehow, as her mother made steady progress, Pegula continued to play the best tennis of her career at age 28 (she turned 29 in February). She reached the semifinals at the Canadian Open, reached her first quarterfinal at the US Open, and her third major quarterfinal of the year. She won in Guadalajara, Mexico last October, and she reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open in January. Ranked 4th in the world, she ranks among the top American women.
On Sunday, she defeated Lesia Tsurenko in straight sets to clinch her place in the quarterfinals again. She is currently in the quarter-finals of each of the four Grand Slam tournaments. But for the sixth time in six tries, she was prevented from reaching her first Grand Slam semifinal. Marketa Bondrosova was two games behind Tuesday as she came back from a 1-4 deficit to beat Pegula 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 in the third set.
Pegula was so close to reaching the major semifinals, which was shocking considering how close she was. But it was just tennis, and she later said how different she felt at Wimbledon compared to last year’s Wimbledon, which she visited just weeks after her mother fell ill. I looked back and was comforted.
“When I came here a year ago, I didn’t do any warm-ups,” she said. “Her mother almost died. She spent a year making quarters and making sure she could watch my games was a huge success for myself and her family. I think that’s how it was.”
Still, it’s been hard to be away from her mother, who has traveled for the past 12 months and encouraged Pegula to keep fighting the way she always has.
Pegula explained how her mother, who along with Terry Pegula owns the NHL’s Buffalo Sabers, shaped her tennis career without being arrogant. Her mother left most of the tennis to others, but she said she helped her brainstorm ideas to improve and survive in the complex and demanding world of professional tennis. rice field. She was always inspired by her mother’s hard work and her example of independent strength. Now, she says her mother is inspired by what she looks like on the court.
and Players Tribune article In February, Pegula opened up for the first time about the events surrounding her mother’s illness and recovery, outlining how she has continued to play for her. After winning their fourth-round match on Sunday, she spoke about the strength and motivation they draw from each other.
“She wants to see me on TV,” Jessica Pegula said on Sunday. “Seeing me still playing will encourage her to recover.”
And despite Tuesday’s loss, they played well. Injury prevented him from moving up the order, but now in good health, Pegula has regained his sense of stability and is currently ranked 4th by the newly crowned Big 3 (1st Iga Swiatek, 2nd Alina Sabalenka, 3rd). ) is located immediately behind the Elena Rybakina.
Pegula has not expressed any external resentment that she was not included in the ranks, but has made it clear that she is trying to dispel the perception that the top of the women’s tour is a three-way street.
“I definitely want to kill the three major parties if possible,” she said. “It’s definitely going to be a goal. I mean, they’ve played really well.”
All of these women are at least four years younger than Pegula. When asked if her experience led to her recent success, she insisted her health was more important. Her career has been stalled by her knee injury and hip surgery, making her rehab in the gym a different experience than on the court.
She also said her consistency is no accident. When she reached her first major quarterfinal at the 2021 Australian Open, she was determined not to waste everything at her next tournament in Doha, Qatar. Ranked 44th at the time, she needed three wins in the qualifying rounds to qualify for the tournament, but she ended up winning six in a row and losing to fourth-placed Petra Kvitova in the finals. rice field.
“I don’t want to be the kind of person who makes it to the quarter-finals and then loses in the first round,” she said, adding, “It gave me a lot of confidence.”
She has now reached the quarterfinals in five of her last seven Grand Slam tournaments, joining Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Sloane Stevens and Madison Keys in four in the last 25 years. He became the fifth American player to reach the quarterfinals in all. She defeated 16-year-old Russian phenomenon Mira Andreeva in three sets in Monday’s quarterfinals. Keys is scheduled to face Sabalenka on Wednesday.
But the semi-final stage remained elusive for Pegula, and she couldn’t tell her why.
“I was one game away from today,” she said. “I really don’t know what the answer is. I keep putting myself in a good position. But I don’t think that’s enough.”
Hours after losing to Bondrosova, Pegula lost again in the doubles match. She and Coco Gauff lost out to Laura Sigmund and Vera Zvonareva after an absolutely disastrous day. However, she plans to return to the United States and see her mother when her time permits. With the hard-court season just around the corner and Kim Pegula watching from her home, she’ll be playing again, and it’s a great win.
“She doesn’t want me to do anything else,” Pegula said of her mother. “She thinks she wants me to keep winning, keep competing, and she want me to keep putting myself out there.”