And if anybody knows about being dealt a rough hand, it's Allie Kiick. Part of the talent-filled USA women's class born in 1995 that included Madison Keys and Jennifer Brady, Kiick was viewed by many in that same regard, destined for stardom. But in 2015 she was sidelined with stage II skin cancer, and didn't play for nearly two full seasons. In 2020, she lost her father, NFL standout and two-time Super Bowl champion running back Jim Kiick, and has had to deal with heartbreak no person deserves.
Through it all, the one constant ray of sunshine has been tennis. Even when she was away from the game living as a civilian, there was something missing.
"There were definitely moments where I was enjoying normal life," Kiick told Murray. "But ultimately it was like a missing piece in my life when I didn't have tennis."
What unites Konjuh, Chirico and Kiick is something bigger than a sport. It's a feeling of purpose, an enjoyment in one's craft that gives them pleasure and satisfaction in knowing that hard work can—and will—pay off. These three WTA players are still fighting, still grinding, and as this podcast episode reveals, still relishing every moment on the court.