The 2021 Australian has seen the rise of some relatively unknown stars along with its host of returning names. One of the players on the women’s side that many might not know is Jessica Pegula.
Who is Jessica Pegula?
- She will be 27 on February 26th
- She was born in Buffalo, New York
- Her parents are Terry and Kim Pegula
- She has been a professional tennis player since 2009
- She lives in Charleston, South Carolina
Pegula has been on Tour for 11 years, but has never seen the success that she has found so far this Australian Open. Coming into the tournament, she had achieved a career high ranking of #55, in 2019. Even if she loses in the quarterfinals, she will rise to a career high ranking and crack the Top 50 for the first time.
Over her 11 years on tour, Pegula had not quite cracked a million dollars in prize money. That will change after this tournament, as she will receive 525,000 USD for a quarterfinal loss, and at least 850,000 USD if she reaches the semifinals. In fact, coming into this tournament she had never won a Grand Slam match outside the US Open–and she won her first US Open matches just last year.
Pegula didn’t play college tennis, and her first few years as a professional didn’t see too much success. After a few years of wild cards into bigger tournaments that didn’t pan out, Pegula worked her way up through ITF and Challenger-level tournaments until a real breakthrough on the main tour in 2019.
From a sports family
Pegula is the daughter of Terry and Kim Pegula. The Pegulas own the Buffalo Bills and the Buffalo Sabers. Terry Pegula is worth about $5.1 billion; most of his money was made with his oil and gas company, East Resources. In 2014, he and his wife bought the Buffalo Bills for $1.4 billion. He had to outbid both Jon Bon Jovi and Donald Trump for the team. Terry Pegula has also owned the Buffalo Sabers of the NHL since 2010.
Kim Pegula has been called the most powerful woman in sports. She is the president of both the Buffalo Bills and the Buffalo Sabers. Kim Pegula was adopted at five from Korea where she was abandoned. She spent the first five years of her life in an orphanage. She met Terry Pegula by chance in New York and they have been married since 1993. Kim Pegula attended Houghton College and graduated in 1991. The Bills, that she is the president and co-owner, of are worth $1.9 billion.
Under the Pegulas, the Buffalo Sabers have been dreadful, but the Buffalo Bills have really turned their franchise around.
Jessica Pegula has a very pragmatic approach to her parents success.
“When I was younger, it was more like I wanted to make a name for myself and then I realized as I got older, I should embrace the whole family aspect of it instead. It was almost hurting me in a way because it wasn’t going to go away and I learned to embrace that, kind of have fun with it,” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”she said.
More sports in her personal life
Jessica Pegula is engaged to Taylor Gahagen. Gahagen works for the Pegulas’ sports management team. He currently works in marketing for the Buffalo Sabers.
Who is Jessica Pegula’s Coach?
Pegula has been a professional tennis player since 2009. Currently her coach is David Witt. Witt has long been the coach of Venus Williams but they parted ways in 2018. He joined up with Pegula in 2019. Two weeks later she went on to win her first singles title at the Washington Open. Because of the pandemic, she was unable to defend her title as the tournament was canceled in 2020. She is currently ranked 61st in the world. She has earned $912,000 over the course of her career.
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