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Tennis Channel Inside-In: Taylor Townsend Is Reclaiming Her Spot In The Game
This American Mom is back with new motivation, and explains why her best tennis is yet to come on an all-new podcast episode.
Published Dec 06, 2022
WATCH: Townsend stopped by for an episode of No Limit during the 2022 US Open.
Taylor Townsend has never been one to back away from a challenge. She was the number one junior in the world, battled adversity on and off the court, and quickly established herself as rising young star in women's tennis. 2021 provided a new set of hurdles to leap over, after she gave birth to a son and had to navigate the arduous intersection of motherhood and professional sports. Could she rebuild herself into a top tennis player again? Was she ready and willing to put in the effort needed to rise back to the upper echelon of arguably the most demanding sport in the world? The road was long, the work was brutal, but the commitment was unwavering.
Taylor Townsend first appeared on the Tennis Channel Inside-In podcast fifteen months ago, at a time when she was unsure of her future place in her profession. She re-joined the show as Grand Slam Doubles finalist, a multi-time ITF champion in 2022, and a working mom committed to both her craft and her family.
The first step in Townsend's comeback was to outline which goals she was hoping to accomplish, and to create a timeline that was equal parts motivating and realistic. The Chicago native mapped out her plans and the destination she hoped to get to, taking a big picture approach right out of the gate.
"It was something I did on my own, but also something I did with my team, so that we were able to be on the same page," Townsend professed. "We were all moving synonymously in the same direction, in that the ultimate goal of me being back was being the best that I could be, and ultimately being better than I was when I left."
Lofty ambitions, but ones that Townsend fully embraced and willed into reality. Her singles ranking shot up from the fringes of the top 500 to #135, and she won a pair of ITF titles in in his first year back on court, soaring over the obstacles in her way.
While singles remains her primary focus, the doubles game is where Townsend made a seismic impact in 2022. She reunited with longtime friend Madison Keys at Roland Garros, and made an improbable run to the semifinals.
"I had played with her briefly in a World Team Tennis all-star thing, and won our match against the team we played against like 5-0," Townsend recalled.
They wanted to keep the partnership going but conflicting schedules derailed a potentially dominant doubles team.
"I've known her for so many years and I just wanted to play with somebody I was comfortable with." As Keys went on to focus on her singles in the summer, Townsend was partner-less until US Billie Jean King Cup captain Kathy Rinaldi played the role of matchmaker.
"She had reached out to me and said, "Hey I don't know if you're looking for anyone, but these people are looking for doubles partners for the US stuff," and I was like oh ok."
One Instagram direct message later, a partnership was formed that would reach the finals of the US Open. Townsend and Caty McNally fit like a glove stylistically, complimenting each other and developing instant chemistry that propelled them to within one set of a major trophy. It brought out the best in McNally, and reinvigorated Townsend.
Townsend's ability to succeed with several different partners shouldn't come as a surprise to those that know her. She lives for being part of a team, which is certainly not the norm in an individual sport.
"I don't know if you guys saw anything at BJK Cup, but I was lit on the sidelines," the 26-year old stated. "I never played team sports, but I always just had such a great time in that regard and in that aspect."
Townsend also enjoyed some lighter moments this past year, which included doing the "Tortilla Slap Challenge" with Coco Gauff ("she legit slapped me!"), and teaching tennis to music superstars Cardi B and Nomani. And she even made a return to the broadcasting world, where she continues to find her stride get more comfortable each day in front of a live microphone.
The Tennis Channel family continues to welcome her with open arms, and Townsend is eager for opportunities in her second career while remaining as committed as ever to her first one.
Having chatted twice with Taylor Townsend on Tennis Channel Inside-In, I've gotten to understand a little bit about who she is and why she has achieved a level of success in virtually everything she's done.
Townsend is just fun to be around, a magnetic personality in a sport filled with hyper-focused talents that often keep things bottled up. I'll never knock an introverted person or one who prefers privacy, but it is refreshing when someone like Townsend comes along and injects energy and radiance into everyone she comes in contact with.
With a re-vitalized tennis game, a support system that now includes a son as her rock, and a budding media career, this young woman is truly built for success. This podcast is just one more glowing example of how Taylor Townsend is re-claiming her rightful place in the game, and why tennis is better off for it.