Jessica Pegula enters the US Open carrying high expectations. She also arrives at Flushing Meadows carrying the label of ‘world’s richest tennis player’ thanks to her family background.
Pegula is the daughter of Terry and Kim Pegula, who own NFL franchise the Buffalo Bills and NHL team the Buffalo Sabres and are worth an estimated £5.3billion. Growing up in a life of luxury, Pegula’s background has long been the subject of interest.
Inevitably, she has faced critics claiming her background and the opportunities it has afforded her has been a driving force behind her success. However, she has now addressed dealing with the scrutiny.
In an interview with Vogue, she said: “I know what haters say: ‘The only reason she’s good is because she has money.’ But for the most part, I think people have found that it’s an interesting story. It’s made me think, Okay – I’m not going to hide from this.
“It’s also fun to see this kind of crossover with Bills fans – even if I am far away, like in Qatar, I see people in the stands wearing Bills jerseys.”
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Pegula has climbed to a career-high No.3 in the world rankings. However, she is still yet to progress beyond the quarter-finals in a Grand Slam and has high hopes of taking the next step towards major glory on home soil.
She reached the last eight at Wimbledon earlier this summer. After a notable win in London, she addressed being known as the ‘world’s richest tennis player’ and the pressure that brings.
She said: “Yeah, I mean, people say that. I personally don’t have that money. It’s probably my dad or my parents. I don’t know why that kind of stuck. I mean, I understand, though. My family obviously is pretty well-known back in America.
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“Yeah, I mean, it is what it is… It doesn’t really bother me. It would be nice if people didn’t say that. But do I really care? I mean, not really. It is what is. But, yeah… I don’t really think it matters how much money you have._
“Yeah, it would be great to win Wimbledon ’cause then I would also have a lot of money from winning Wimbledon (smiling). I think I would trade, yes. I think that would be, yeah, probably better.”
Pegula was recently knocked out in the Round of 16 at the Cincinnati Masters. She will lead American hopes alongside Coco Gauff, who has been a long-standing doubles partner with the pair enjoying plenty of success.
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