Taylor Townsend, an 18-year-old on track to be the next great American tennis player, just pulled off a huge upset over 20th seed Alize Cornet of France in three sets to reach the third round of the French Open.
Townsend, a former no. 1 ranked junior, is playing in her first Grand Slam event. She won the 2012 Australian Open junior tournament and was a finalist at the 2013 Wimbledon junior.
Here is the match-winning point.
But while Townsend is a rising star, she was once benched by the United States Tennis Association because of her weight.
In 2012, despite being the top-ranked junior in the world and a member of the USTA’s development program, the USTA refused to enter the then 16-year-old Townsend in the U.S. Open’s junior tournament.
At the time, Patrick McEnroe, the general manager of the USTA’s development program said “[the organisation’s] concern is her long-term health, number one, and her long-term development as a player.”
Taylor, who says she models her game after Martina Navratilova, eventually paid for her own way into the tournament, losing in the quarterfinals.
In a time when childhood obesity is an epidemic and many overweight children are too embarrassed to be more active, young athletes like Townsend should be celebrated, not hidden from public view.
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