Photo of Jessica Pegula

JESSICA PEGULA

Nationality:
United States
Height:
170cm
Age:
30
Points:
4550
RANKING
#5

Bio

Jessica Pegula was born in Buffalo on February 24, 1994. In her career she won two WTA singles titles and reached the quarterfinals at the 2021 and 2022 Australian Open and at the Roland Garros 2022. Her best ranking is the third position, achieved on October 24, 2022 and February 20, 2023.

In doubles she has won four WTA titles, including two in the 1000 category paired with Coco Gauff, with whom she also reached the doubles final at the Roland Garros in 2022. Her father is the well-known businessman Terrence Pegula, while mother Kim is a South Korean woman.

Career

In 2011 Jessica Pegula obtained a wildcard to participate in the US Open in the women's doubles together with countrywoman Taylor Townsend. In 2012 she made it through qualifying at the Indian Wells tournament but was knocked out in the first round by Magdalena Rybarikova in three sets.

Pegula starts 2019 in Newport Beach, a WTA 125K category tournament: after the bye at her debut, she reaches the final without losing a set against Kiick, Di Lorenzo, Peterson and Davis. She surrenders in the last act to Bianca Andreescu (6-0 4-6 2-6). In February, she finds the final in the ITF in Midland, where she falls to wild-card Caty McNally. In March, she was offered a wild-card to participate in the Indian Wells Premier Mandatory, in the first round she beat Zarina Diyas with a peremptory 6-1 6-1 while in the second she lost to Lesja Curenko in three sets (6-3 5-7 4-6).

In Miami, she passes the qualifications and then surrenders her debut to Johanna Konta, No. 38 in the world. On clay, she performs well in the Volvo Car Open, where she eliminates Irina Khromacheva (1-6 7-6 (4) 6-1) and Anastasija Sevastova, No. 12 in the world rankings, with scores of 6-4 6- 2. She surrenders to future semifinalist Petra Martic in three sets. The rest of the season on clay doesn't give Pegula any jolts, who reaches at most a second round in Prague. Even on grass she does not collect great results, losing in the first round at Eastbourne, Wimbledon and does not pass the qualifications in Birmingham.

Pegula then decides to go to Washington to inaugurate swing on American hard. After having disposed of Katerina Siniakova, seeded No. 4, in two sets, she comes back from a partial disadvantage to the young Polish Iga Swiatek (5-7 6-4 6-1) to then get the better of Lauren Davis, finalist in the quarterfinals here in 2016 (6-2 7-6(2)). In the semifinals, she beat qualified Anna Kalinskaja 6-3 3-6 6-1, reaching her second career final in an International category tournament.

Unlike what happened in Québec, this time the American manages to bring home the title, clearly beating Camila Giorgi (6-2 6-2). Pegula thus wins the first WTA title of her career, also entering the top 60 in the world (at No. 56). After this success she no longer has significant results, as she always goes out in the first round of all the tournaments she plays in the rest of the season.

Pegula starts 2020 in Auckland: for the third time in her career, she reaches a WTA final in an International, beating Bellis (6-0 6-4), Zidansek (6-2 6-3), Cornet (6-0 3 -2 and retirement) and former world number 1 Caroline Wozniacki (3-6 6-4 6-0). In the final she gives way to compatriot Serena Williams, with a score of 3-6 4-6. She disappoints expectations in Melbourne, where she surrenders her debut to Taylor Townsend in straight sets. Later, she reaches the quarterfinals in the two WTA 125K in Newport Beach and Indian Wells.

Between March and August, the WTA Tour is forced to stop due to the global pandemic of COVID-19, which leads to the cancellation of all the tournaments scheduled in those months (including the Wimbledon slam) and the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo to 2021.

Pegula resumed playing at the Top Seed Open in Lexington, where she lost the scene in the second round against Bellis (3-6 2-6). She plays a big tournament at the Western & Southern Open, part of the Premier 5 category, she passes the qualifiers by beating the two Russians Gracheva and Samsonova. In the main draw, she prevails over compatriots Brady (7-6 (5) 6-4) and Anisimova (7-5 6-2). In the round of 16, she ousted the 5th seed Aryna Sabalenka, with a score of 6-2 2-6 6-3, reaching the first quarterfinals in a tournament of this caliber. In the circumstance, she yields clearly to Elise Mertens (1-6 3-6).

At the 2021 Australian Open, she reached her first quarterfinals in a Grand Slam, defeating Viktoryja Azaranka (7-5 6-4), Samantha Stosur (6-0 6-1), Kristina Mladenovic (6-2 6-1) and taking revenge on world No. 5 Elina Svitolina (6-4 3-6 6-3). Among the last eight, she is defeated by compatriot Jennifer Brady, who will reach the final. Thanks to her excellent result, she breaks into the top 50 in the world, positioning herself in 44th place in the standings.

In March she shows up at the WTA 500 in Doha, where she passes the qualifiers with three victories over Gabriela Dabrowski, Anastasija Potapova and Misaki Doi. In the main draw, she beats Wang Qiang 6-3 6-1 and then Jelena Ostapenko (6-2 7-5), reaching the quarterfinals, where she comes up against the No. 6 in the world, Karolína Plíšková. With an impeccable performance, Pegula prevailed 6-3 6-1, hitting the first semifinal in a WTA 500, in which she lost to another Czech, Petra Kvitová, with a score of 4-6 4-6. 

At the 2021 Australian Open, she reached her first quarterfinals in a Grand Slam, defeating Viktoryja Azaranka (7-5 6-4), Samantha Stosur (6-0 6-1), Kristina Mladenovic (6-2 6-1) and taking revenge on world No. 5 Elina Svitolina (6-4 3-6 6-3). Among the last eight, she is defeated by countrywoman Jennifer Brady, who will reach the final. Thanks to her excellent result, she breaks into the top 50 in the world, positioning herself in 44th place in the standings.

In March she shows up at the WTA 500 in Doha, where she passes the qualifiers with three victories over Gabriela Dabrowski, Anastasija Potapova and Misaki Doi. In the main draw, she beats Wang Qiang 6-3 6-1 and then Jelena Ostapenko (6-2 7-5), reaching the quarterfinals, where she comes up against the No. 6 in the world, Karolína Plískova.

With an impeccable performance, Pegula prevailed 6-3 6-1, hitting the first semifinal in a WTA 500, in which she lost to another Czech, Petra Kvitova, with a score of 4-6 4-6. In Dubai, the American clearly won the first three matches played with Jaroslava Shvedova (6-2 6-1), Mladenovic (6-1 6-2) and again Plískova (6-0 6-2). Her adventure ends in the quarterfinals, defeated by Elise Mertens in a comeback (7-5 5-7 0-6) and not taking advantage of three match points in the second set. 

In 2022, at the Australian Open, she defends the quarterfinals reached in 2021. Jessica beats the Ukrainian Anhelina Kalinina (4-6 7-6(1) 7-5) and then also her compatriot Bernarda Pera (6-4 6-4 ). In the third round, she eliminated Spain's Párrizas Díaz 7-6 (3) 6-2, reaching the round of 16 of the oceanic slam for the second consecutive year. Here she faces Greek Maria Sakkari, seeded No. 5, over whom she prevails 7-6 (0) 6-3, successfully managing to defend the quarterfinals reached last year with the eighth victory in career on a top-10. In her last eight, the American meets world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty who overwhelms her, leaving her with only 2 games. Thanks to the confirmation of her 2021 result in the oceanic slam, she climbs 5 positions in the WTA rankings, settling in 16th position, her new best placement.

In the same season she also reaches the quarterfinals at the Roland Garros, where she competes as the 11th seed. Jessica beats Wang Qiang (6-2 6-4), Anhelina Kalinina (6-1 5-7 6-4), outgoing semifinalist Tamara Zidansek (6-1 7-6(2)) and Irina-Camelia Begu (4 -6 6-2 6-3). She thus arrives in the quarterfinals of a major for the third time in her career, the first away from Australia. Among the last eight, Jessica is eliminated in two partials by world No. 1 Igam Swiatek, who will then win the title.

On October 23, 2022, she won her first WTA 1000 in Guadalajare, Mexico, beating Maria Sakkari 6-2 6-3 in the final.

On February 18, 2023, she reached the final at the WTA in Doha, where she was defeated by Iga Swiatek in straight sets, 3-6 0-6.

Private life

Pegula is the daughter of Terry and Kim Pegula, multi-billionaire owners of the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League and the Buffalo Sabers of the National Hockey League. She is half Korean, as her mother was born in Seoul before being adopted at age 5. She has four siblings: Kelly, Matthew, Michael and Laura.

In 2021, Pegula married Taylor Gahagen, a corporate executive for Pegula Sports and Entertainment and an animal philanthropist.

In August 2016, it was announced that Pegula and her sister Kelly would open a quick service restaurant called Healthy Scratch at LECOM Harborcenter, an ice hockey-themed mixed-use development owned by her parents in Buffalo, New York. In 2017, the Healthy Scratch business was to be expanded to include food truck service. In 2017, Pegula introduced its skincare line called Ready 24.

Net Worth and Endorsement

With a net worth of $6.7 billion, Jessica Pegula is the richest tennis player in the world in 2023. The 28-year-old from Buffalo, New York is worth more than Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal combined.

With a net worth of around $2 billion, Romanian tennis legend Ion Tiriac is the second richest tennis player. After retiring as a tennis player in the 1970s, Tiriac coached and managed top players such as Guillermo Vilas, Marat Safin and Boris Becker.

From her pro tennis career, Pegula earned $5,079,681. As of 2022, she has won 38 matches in a variety of competitions, earning $2,265,941 in prize money.

Pegula is sponsored by Yonex Tennis. Furthermore, she also has an endorsement deal with Adidas. The sportswoman also has her own skincare range called Ready24. Additionally, it is affiliated with the non-profit animal shelter organization, A Lending Paw.

Titles

2022

Guadalajara Open WTA, Guadalajara

2019

Citi Open, Washington

 

 


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