Sachia Vickery – The American to watch at Wimbledon

America has long had a tradition of producing world class tennis players. Whether it be the likes of Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, or the Williams sisters, the U.S has always been at the forefront of professional tennis. Of course with such a proud and successful sporting nation comes great expectation. Human nature will dictate that some will thrive under such pressure and strive to be the best at what they do whilst others will end up a lost talent who find the expectation just a little too much to handle.

The United States currently boast 12 players ranked in the WTA top 100. There are veterans such as Serena Williams and the new breed such as Madison Keys who the U.S public will no doubt have extremely high hopes for. Slightly younger than any of these 12 though is Sachia Vickery, the U.S number 14 and World #112.

Now it may seem strange to come across an article talking about the next generation of U.S tennis that is not focussed on the likes of Keys, Stephens, or Davis, but the rise of Sachia Vickery in 2015 has been so encouraging that this is someone who deserves credit, recognition, and attention.

Hailing from Florida, Vickery turned 20 last month (May 2015) and began 2015 ranked 195 in the world which was, disappointingly, five places worse than where she started the 2014 season. It is safe to say that 2014 was a little disappointing for Vickery, especially later in the year where she struggled to pick up significant ranking points. Having said that, a quarterfinal place at WTA Stanford in July 2014 was a sign of what she is capable of. She beat three players ranked higher than her there, including Monica Puig and Shuai Zhang.

Despite a successful tournament at Stanford, that form was not continued and ultimately her ranking suffered. But then came a change. With the new year came a new Sachia Vickery. She began 2015 by winning two ITF singles titles in January in her home country before reaching the second round of Indian Wells. Her good form continued as she reached the last 32 of WTA Bogota, before unfortunately losing in the first qualifying round of the French Open. Then came the grass season.

Vickery was disappointing on grass in 2014, picking up just three ranking points after losing in the first qualifying rounds at both WTA Birmingham and Wimbledon. Of course this means that with her encouraging start to 2015 she has very few ranking points to defend. After coming through qualifying at WTA Nottingham, she went on to reach the quarterfinals, beating 2nd seed Zarina Diyas on the way, before losing to eventual tournament winner, Ana Konjuh. This highly satisfying result gained her 78 ranking points, smashing her 2014 performance after just one grass tournament. She then opted to play the ITF Ilkley tournament, losing in the second round, which when compared to Nottingham was a disappointing result, yet it still bagged her eight ranking points, taking her 2015 grass season total to 86 points with Wimbledon still to come.

Seeded 4th at the 2015 Wimbledon qualifying event, Vickery, perhaps for the first time in her career, went into a Grand Slam tournament with expectation around her. Her ranking and seeding would dictate that qualification would be the minimum requirement, but Wimbledon is a Grand Slam and every player in the qualifying field is a threat, as they all have the same dream. The minimum expectation was indeed met. Vickery came through three qualifying matches, dropping just one set in the process and guaranteeing herself another 40 ranking points no matter what happens in the first round proper, which will almost certainly increase her ranking as she fights to become eligible for direct entry to the U.S Open.

Apart from the 125 points she picked up at WTA Stanford in 2014, Vickery doesn’t have too many more ranking points to defend for the remainder of 2015. If she can stay injury free and continue the form that she has shown at numerous events this year, there is no reason why Sachia Vickery cannot be a top 100 player by the end of the year. That could make her the youngest American woman in the WTA top 100 and would almost certainly give her the confidence to progress even further in 2016. This is a player who has improved her ranking by 83 places since the start of the year and had the best grass season of her career and for those reasons, not only U.S tennis fans, but the whole world of tennis, should stand up and take notice of this undeniable talent.

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