Tennis star Taylor Townsend is now the youngest U.S. woman to advance to the third round at the French Open since 2003.
The 18-year-old Chicago native who beat Alize Cornet in the French Open Wednesday was knocked out of the competition today; but not without a fight.
“It’s the most fun I’ve had, I couldn’t have asked for anything better,” Townsend told the Chicago Tribune. “I really learned a lot this week. I’m so happy and fortunate I had this opportunity.”
The opportunity didn’t come without its fair share of obstacles. Two years ago, the U.S. Tennis Association told Townsend, then the top-ranked junior player in the world, that they would fund her or pay for travel costs until she lost weight.
Following that controversy Townsend said, “It helped me believe in myself more.”
Competing in the French Open this week also helped her figure out a few more things about herself. ”I realized that I do like big stages, I like big courts, I like playing in front of a lot of people,“ she said.
”It means the world for me to be here, and to have this opportunity and capitalize on it, and I’m looking forward to it continuing in the future, and hopefully I can keep this going.“
Townsend entered this year’s competition as a wild card. She is coached by tennis champion, Zina Garrison.