Jessica Pegula on preparing for a Grand Slam in quarantine

By: Nina Pantic & Irina Falconi | January 28, 2021

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The world No. 64 is just days away from her first tournament Down Under, the WTA 500 Yarra Valley Classic, in Melbourne.

While her Buffalo Bills have ended their 2021 season, Jessica Pegula is just starting her campaign Down Under and she's our guest this week on the Podcast. The world No. 64 has been in modified quarantine for two weeks as she prepares for the Yarra Valley Classic WTA 500 in Melbourne. 

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Pegula turned a corner in her career in 2019 when she cracked the Top 100 for the first time and won her first WTA title in Washington, D.C. The 26-year-old started 2020 with a run to the Auckland final, losing to Serena Williams, and during the summer in New York she picked up wins over Jennifer Brady, Amanda Anisimova and Aryna Sabalenka. 

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Pegula has big goals in mind on the court, but she's also got a lot going on off it as she's planning to get married this fall. She explains what went into postponing her wedding from 2020 and how she's kept very zen about it all. 

She's just nine spots shy of her career-high ranking of No. 55 and shares why she's so relieved to be solidly within the Top 100 during the pandemic, as well as gives her perspective on how rankings can affect a player's mindset. 

"You could lose first round, first round, and then you could win the tournament," she says. "I don't think you can really get too caught up in the rankings because things change every week. Obviously, I'm glad I hit that Top 100, a good ranking. before all of this happened." 

Though preparing for a Grand Slam in quarantine isn't ideal, Pegula and her coach David Witt have been making the most of it with five hours of outdoor time per day (72 players weren't so lucky).

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"Honestly for the most part everyone has been fine," she says. "There's a few people that have gone and complained, but at the same time they still have to quarantine, they still have to do it, it's not like anyone can get out of it.

"So I think it was hard the first few days because no one had any idea what was going on, but now it's calmed down a lot and people are like you know what, we've got to deal with it."

Along with her in quarantine is Witt, the former longtime coach of Venus Williams, who she teamed up with just before her title in D.C. She has zoned in on working as hard as possible, and making the most of her time off over the past year as she hopes it pays off in 2021, too. 

"I've been very motivated this past year, and felt good about working out, keeping in shape, practicing," she says. "So that was easy for me. It was fun to see that I still had good results [in New York] considering the crazy year that we had."

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