Jessica Pegula: ‘I get the feeling that people don’t want to root for me’

Jessica Pegula celebrates Credit: Alamy
Jessica Pegula celebrates Credit: Alamy

American No 1 Jessica Pegula understands why she isn’t the most relatable player on the WTA Tour but feels that she has put a lot of work into her career.

Pegula is the daughter of Gas Baron Terry Pegula, who is also the owner of NFL franchise the Buffalo Bills.

She feels that her background has allowed the perception that she hasn’t earned her place on the WTA Tour to arise.

“There are so many stories of people coming up and having to earn their way.

“I think I know, and other people know, in the tennis world that, of course, you can’t be successful without working really hard and putting in the work and the hours,” Pegula told Eurosport.

“But I think also to that kind of extent there’s so many people that don’t know about tennis that are kind of like, ‘Oh, she probably had everything given to her, she probably had the best coaches and the best stuff’.

“I definitely know from personal experience, just because you can afford so-called the best coach in the world, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to work.

Pegula added: “I think that is a misconception, not just in tennis, but maybe sports, that it doesn’t matter who it is, sometimes it’s the fit, or the personality fit, the way you handle your career as tennis it’s just so different.

“So I think sometimes I definitely get the feeling that people don’t want to root for me because it’s not more of like the fairytale, Cinderella story, which is fine, and I’m okay with that.

“But I think at the same time, everyone that I know in the tennis world and all the players and all the team, definitely see that I put in the work. I think having that respect amongst my peers is more important because I know what they see and it doesn’t really matter what anyone else doesn’t see.

“Because it’s all the work I put in that people don’t see. And I think it was really nice for Maria Sakkari to say like, ‘You’re very humble and hardworking, you totally deserve it’. I thought that was really sweet and really genuine for her to say something like that because it was just kind of solidifying what I already knew and the work that I put in and trying to be respectful to everyone.”

Pegula exited the WTA Finals at the group stage after suffering three losses.

She will turn out for the United States in the Billie Jean King Cup next week.

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