Hardcore tennis fans aren’t the only ones flocking to Cancun for the GNP Seguros WTA Finals Cancun thanks to Jessica Pegula.

Daughter of Buffalo Bills and Sabres owner Terry Pegula, the world No. 5 opened up about the multi-sport coalition she has brought through a successful 2023 season.

“It's been really cool,” Pegula said after defeating top seed Aryna Sabalenka in straight sets on Tuesday. “It's cool to see, like, when I get messages or I see fans and they're not really tennis fans but they become tennis fans with as their huge Bills fans or Sabres fans or whatever it is, or they somehow have a connection back to Buffalo where I'm from. And that's really, I mean, it's really cool because we're not a tennis town, and it's not very popular there.”

Pegula has put Buffalo on the tennis map since she began a meteoric rise up the rankings in 2021, when she reached her first of six Grand Slam quarterfinals in Australia. The 29-year-old has gone on to win two WTA 1000 titles in Guadalajara and Montréal, peaking at a career-high rank of No. 3 last October.


The American, who has also forged a winning doubles partnership with countrywoman Coco Gauff, has also endeared fans with her emotional story of her mother Kim’s health struggles, opening up about the Bills and Sabres’ President and co-owner in a stirring essay published in the Players’ Tribune.

“It's cool to see how I've been able to connect that fan base. And even though they don't know, tennis that well, it's cool because they get to watch me and they're learning and it's always nice when you can connect to a city or a fan base like that. And maybe not really, well, I mean, I have a lot in common with them, but as far as tennis-wise, it's not really the common denominator.

“So, it's cool to bridge that gap. And also bridge it with, you know, hockey or football or whatever the sport is, I think when you can cross over like that it's really fun because I, like, you know, I've talked to some of the athletes and it's cool to see their mindset and how they're successful as well. And, you know, vice versa. So I think that's, that's really cool. And yeah, it's just something really special I've been able to have with them, especially this year.”

Pegula’s year isn’t over yet: in her second consecutive WTA Finals appearance, the No. 5 seed guaranteed she would advance out of round robin play after defeating both Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina in straight sets, and will reach the semifinals regardless of what happens in her Thursday encounter with No. 8 seed Maria Sakkari.