You may have caught the first episode of My Tennis Life titled "Meet CoCo Vandeweghe" but the American is already a household name. The 27-year-old has been in the semifinals of the Australian Open and US Open, and the quarterfinals of Wimbledon. She's played in the final of the year-end championships in Zhuhai, achieved a career-high ranking of No. 10 and carried the United States to its most recent Fed Cup crown.
But that was all in 2017 and the tennis calendar is as relentless as it is never-ending. The 2018 season was less kind to the Californian. Dealing with multiple ankle injuries and setbacks, Vandeweghe sloughed through the season with just two singles highlights—the semifinal of 's-Hertogenbosch and the final of Stuttgart. She won just one match at the Grand Slams and ended the year on a nine-match losing streak.
But she thrived in doubles, winning the Miami Open and US Open, with Ashleigh Barty. She finished the season ranked No. 104 in singles and a career-high of No. 15 in doubles.
"It was very frustrating for me. At the start of 2018, I didn't want to play," Vandeweghe said. "I was mentally burnt out. I was struggling on all aspects of getting going. There was nothing really triggering me to be motivated because personally I was so down in the dumps, which is wild for people to hear when I am coming off the best year of my life."
At Wimbledon, she hurt her right ankle in a three-set loss to Katerina Sinakova. In October, she re-injured her ankle against Donna Vekic in Wuhan and played her last singles event in Beijing nowhere near 100 percent—the WTA's Top 10 List rules are complicated and it's often easier to just enter the bigger events instead of deal with the penalties of withdrawing.
"Who's to say if I did the right thing or not playing inured the rest of the year from July," Vandeweghe said. "I definitely wouldn't have a Grand Slam title next to my name. But from a singles standpoint, it was definitely a bad choice. It was a little bit forced upon me with the Top 10 rules the WTA has—it would have been really detrimental for me not to play."
While getting re-motivated for 2019, Vandeweghe began training and hitting the gym harder than ever. She also signed on to be one of the stars of Season 3 of My Tennis Life, allowing viewers to see inside her day-to-day life—something she's never really shared before.
"I was in a different starting point of my career then normally I am going into a season since I was coming off of an injury and trying to rehab and get better," Vandeweghe said. "I was pumped for everyone to see what it was all about and what I'm all about because I was in a total different mindset than I was when I was playing last year."
Then another setback struck, this time worse than any of her injuries in 2018. Pain in her right foot got so intense that she couldn't walk, and she had to pull out of the Australian Open and consequently push back the start of her season. Her earliest return to the court could be in March where she might play doubles.
"There's not a real set timeline, but I'm looking forward to hopefully being OK enough to play Indian Wells or at least be hitting by that point," Vandeweghe said. "I'm having little improvements day by day. I played injured long enough last year and I'm not going to do that again. That's the standard I'm holding myself too."
My Tennis Life is meant to let fans into the lives of pros for a full season from their warmups to their cool downs, on their good days and their bad days, at home and around the world. In the case of Vandeweghe, at least for now, fans will see another side of the sport: what it takes to make a comeback, both physically and mentally.
"I think it'll be natural which is the best part. On my Twitter and Instagram it's mostly my professional life— sometimes I do show myself with my friends or when I’m on vacation—but My Tennis Life will give more insight into how I’m thinking because that's really what I want to do to: give a mental check-in," Vandeweghe said. "I definitely want to make this personal and true to who I am."