Taylor Townsend is a 16-year-old rising tennis star that thrust herself into the spotlight by winning the Australian Open as a 14th seed earlier this year. She also won the doubles tournament at the event with her partner Gabrielle Andrews. Partnering with Eugenie Bouchard, she won the 2012 Wimbledon Championships as well. Townsend began her professional career in 2010 and so far looks to be a young promising tennis star.
However, her dreams of competing in the recent U.S. Open Junior Tournament were crushed when the U.S. Tennis Association decided not to fund her travel to compete in the tournament. Reps for Townsend requested for her to participate as a wild card in the main draw at Flushing Meadows. The request was turned down.
Patrick McEnroe, general manager of the U.S. Tennis Association sought to quell the controversy in an interview with ESPN. “It has nothing to do with weight, nothing to do with body type,” McEnroe stated. “It has to do with overall fitness, overall what her game is.” He also said the association’s top concern is Townsend’s “health and long-term development.” The U.S. Tennis Association has been criticized before for choosing female players based on “model type” looks instead of athletic ability.
Regardless of the controversial decision leveled against her, Taylor seems to maintain a positive attitude. In her own interview with ESPN, she stated, “I’m not going to sit here and say that I couldn’t have gotten in better shape or that I couldn’t get in better shape,” she said. “I’m not going to sit here and say that I’m the fastest person, the most agile, because I’m not. There’s definitely room for improvement, but it’s a personal opinion.” A line Taylor should live by is that what does not kill you makes you stronger.