NEW YORK—Child prodigies are used to the hype, but few have embraced that hype as much as Sofia “Sonya” Kenin. Since age five, she’s had her own website, dedicated to chronicling her budding tennis career. “[It] helped me, I think, for people to see who I am,” Kenin says.
Those who follow the sport closely know Kenin, the No. 1-ranked girl in the 18’s division and the No. 9 junior in the world, through that website—sonyakenin.us—the many articles written about her by journalists, and, of course, her results. For while attention has followed this prodigy since she was in kindergarten, none of it has fazed her, with success coming early and often.
Last December, Kenin won the prestigious Orange Bowl, and this year she added the International Spring Championships to her collection. But this week marked her biggest professional milestone so far. The 16-year-old played in her first Grand Slam main draw with a wild card she received by winning the USTA National Hard Court Championships earlier this summer.
She lost that match to world No. 98 Mariana Duque-Marino, 6-3, 6-1, but Kenin, who will play in the girls’ junior tournament at Flushing Meadows, embraced the opportunity.
“I was having fun out there with fans cheering me on,” Kenin says. “It was such an amazing experience. It’s unfortunate to have lost, but I’ve worked really hard and I knew it was going to be tough.”
The Russian-turned-American emphasized “experience” as the best part of earning her spot amidst the world’s best, as well the privilege of being shuttled around in the tournament’s private cars.