Tennis Prose



Kayla Day Perseverance Inspires

One of the best stories of the 2023 French Open is the reemergence of Kayla Day after six years of struggles.

Back in 2016 Day was a teen phenom and the top ranked ITF junior in the world after winning the US Open girls title. At that US Open main draw, as a 16 year old wildcard for winning the national 18s, the Californian beat top 50 player Madison Brengle before falling to Madison Keys. At 2017 Indian Wells, the then seventeen year old Day defeated 32 seed Mirjana Lucic-Baroni before losing in third round to Garbine Muguruza. Day lost first round at 2017 AO and US Open and dropped out of WTA relevance for six years, plagued by injuries and illness (hips, mono, foot fracture, quad tear).

Day persevered through six years primarily on the ITF circuit, losing to the likes of Ipek Oz, Kateryna Baindl, Vivian Ovrootsky, Katerina Stewart, Maya Pitts, Jessica Pieri, etc.

Now in 2023 at age 23, playing her first Grand Slam main draw since 2017 US Open, lefthander Day is showing again she is an extraordinary talent and more than capable of knocking off just about anyone in the WTA. This week she’s beaten Kiki Mladenovic 75 61 and Madison Keys 62 46 64 (her first top 20 win). She has an 18-6 match record on clay this year. In the third round Day will face Czech Republic veteran Anna Schmiedlova.

Day credits a former Wimbledon champion’s technical coaching for contributing to her recent successes. “Pat Cash, who’s here with me, he’s just completely changed my idea on movement and the way I move,” Day told the Roland Garros web site. “We did a lot of work before the clay season started together. So he’s made probably the biggest difference in my movement, especially on my backhand side. Before I couldn’t even really hit an open-stance backhand, so he helped me through that.”

Winning so much breeds and builds confidence and Day is eager to enter the prime of her professional career. “I’ve definitely learned that I’m a lot tougher than I thought I was, to just grind my way back like I have,” she said. “That’s something I’ll carry with me through the rest of my career because a lot of people, I think, counted me out or didn’t believe in me anymore or whatever, and I just worked super hard and trusted myself. And, yeah, now I’m back here.”

Day is currently ranked 138, close to her career high ranking of 122 in 2017. By winning at least two matches at Roland Garros, Day is almost a certainty to crack the WTA top 100 for the first time later this month.

· · · ·

Comments are closed.



Find it!

Copyright 2010
To top