American tennis player Taylor Townsend says her idol while growing up was tennis legend and fellow left hander Martina Navratilova, who retired from full-time competitive tennis in 1994, two years before Townsend was born in 1996.
The 18-time Grand Slam singles champion Navratilova did make a comeback to play doubles for several years more after her 1994 retirement - she won the 2006 US Open with American doubles specialist Bob Bryan when she was 49 years old.
Speaking to Tennis.com, Townsend says, "I wore glasses when I played and she wore glasses when I played, and she was left handed. But as I got older I really liked the way that she carried herself on the court, her competitiveness, she was very spunky and feisty, and that's kind of like how I am."
Townsend adds that although she is left handed, she started playing tennis with her right hand until her coach asked her to try playing tennis left handed. "I naturally am left handed, I eat left handed, I write left handed, but I picked up the racket with my right hand and I just started hitting balls with it.
So my coach thought I was slow. He was like, maybe something's really wrong with her. So we started doing stuff with my left hand. I couldn't make contact with the ball, I couldn't do anything and I was so mad. But they both made me kind of stick with it and then I stopped falling."
The American says her goal was to break into the Top 50 before the US Open and she will pursue the goal once the tour resumes. "I set personal goals. I wanted to hit Top 50 before the US Open. I still have it but it's just the uncertainty of when things will kick off again." Townsend is currently ranked No. 73 in the world rankings.