Jessica Pegula explains why Challenger Tour is 'harder' than WTA Tour

Pegula, 29, was competing and grinding on the Challenger Tour until just a few years ago.

by Dzevad Mesic
Jessica Pegula explains why Challenger Tour is 'harder' than WTA Tour
© Getty Images Sport - Matthew Stockman

World No 3 Jessica Pegula thinks the Challenger Tour is "harder" than the WTA Tour and the American tennis star provided a detailed explanation of why she feels that way. Pegula, 29, was competing on the Challenger Tour for a couple of years as she first broke into the top-100 just in 2019 January.

Since then, Pegula has become a regular participant in the WTA Tour events and has also turned into one of the best players in the women's game. But before Pegula became a top-3 player and the highest-ranked American female tennis player, she was grinding on the Challenger Tour and for a really long time trying to make it to the main level.

Pegula on why the Challenger Tour is 'harder' than the WTA Tour

"I honestly think it's harder on the Challenger Tour than when you actually get to the level here. Not that this still isn't hard but to a certain extent when you're on the Challenger Tour, everyone just wants to win so freaking bad, and they're trying to get out of there.

Everything around you seems -- I don't know what it is. Plays into it. It's, like, you're on the back court on a bad court, the umpire sucks, like, you're getting bad calls, there's coaching. There's all these things that, like, don't happen here that I think levels everybody out.

No matter how good you are, it kind of balances everyone to where you're, like, on the same playing field. Because it's like all this random stuff happening. You know, rain delays, there's nowhere to go, you're at a little clubhouse, and the schedule is not out and there's no practice courts and there's no balls.

It's like everything evens everyone out in a way, which makes it really, really hard. Then I feel like when you get here, I don't know, it's -- it's not that girls don't want to play. All it takes is one girl doesn't want to show up that day or she's sick or she's tired or she just came off a good rule result and then someone pulls out and then you win one good match and you're in the third round.

You're like, okay, this isn't as hard as I thought it was. Not saying that happens every time, it could be the opposite. But I don't know, it's just different. I think it's -- I think it's harder being out there," Pegula said.

Jessica Pegula Challenger Tour