"..Considering five months ago I wasn't even walking," CoCo Vandeweghe said matter-of-factly about her condition long ago during her ankle injury as compared to her performance now. Vandeweghe's win over Marie Bouzkova in straight sets 6-2, 6-4, in San Jose, her comeback match was a combination of patience, relief, controlled strategies and joy.
It was a welcome for both Vandeweghe and the night crowd to be able to see her play aggressive and put her skills back together again to score wins. Throughout the match there were sprinkles of the old CoCo as she volleyed shots and hit the corners for wins that she used to do before her horrific ankle injury.
"I'm happy to come out. Thank you for the wild card..." she'd said emphasizing to the tournament organizers and directors around. She relaxingly answered questions as beads of perspiration ran down her face and arms.
She didn't mind the heat as she took on so much just trying to get back into professional tennis playing shape. The Californian hasn't been seen on a court playing since her doubles match in Singapore last October.
It was at last year's Wimbledon that she had gotten a right ankle injury, played it off and during the season was agonizing with a right food injury throughout the tour. She had to have intense rehab and treatments to get back to anywhere near what she was before the injury.
'My Tennis Life' segments along with Mackenzie McDonald shows some of the therapies and situations Vandeweghe had to experience. The beginning of the 2109 season had to be a miss for the very aggressive and often times funny pro tennis player as she postponed her tour until her stint at World Team Tennis palying with the San Diego Aviators.
A few years ago she was no. 10, a semifinalist at the Australian and US Open. She also won the US Open doubles with now no. 1 Ashleigh Barty. CoCo Vandeweghe decided she was ready to jump start her tour at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic at San Jose when she was awarded graciously a wild card for the tournament.
The ankle injury caused her ranking to plummet to no. 636 as she enters the event which she was a finalist back in 2012 and 2017. As she walked on court getting a round of applause, at the beginning she seemed like the same Vandeweghe, ankle support straps as usual attire but her mind had to fight off the fact of months of rehab it took her to get to this place now.
This is what her passion is and it was time to show herself and others that she is back. "Just playing my style of tennis and trying to execute it..." she had said probably was her main focus. The Californian appeared to play gingerly at times, but getting her confidence up on her shots was accomplished.
She never stopped blasting cross courts when the opportunity arose. She had good placement and rallies often turned into wins against her struggling opponent Marie Bouzkova. It took Vandeweghe nearly 80 minutes to put the match away and come off the court relieved and smiling again.
It might just be the start of her tour again, but the Californian knows what it takes to 'woman-up' on a passion and livelihood she's had for a long time. She's determined, feisty and strong enough to take on any opponent by storm as she did that pesty ankle injury that no more has her taking a back seat to the sport she loves.