Jessica Pegula, 29, bluntly confessed playing "really stupid" is probably the reason why she didn't have much or any success early in her career. Pegula, who is now ranked at No 3 in the world, broke into the top-100 for the first time in 2019 and that was the year when she also captured her first WTA title.
But for someone who is now one of the best players in the game, Pegula relatively late became a regular participant in the main-level event. "When I look back at some of my old matches when I was younger, I'm, like, what was I even thinking.
I don't know what I was doing, because now it's so much different. Honestly, I probably just played really stupid when I was younger. I just didn't play smart at all. I was completely the opposite of what everyone thinks I am now, which is hilarious," Pegula said at the US Open, via the WTA website.
Pegula on her current state
Last year, Pegula achieved a career-high ranking of No 3 in the world and became the top-ranked American female tennis player for the first time in her career.
Although Pegula has just three WTA titles in her collection, her ranking is so high because she has been one of the most consistent players on the WTA Tour since the 2022 season. At the Grand Slam and WTA 1000 levels, Pegula is consistently making deep runs.
"I see people online and they're like, 'How is she No 3?' And I'll see someone reply, 'Because she just wins a crap-ton of matches.' I just don't lose in the first round like other girls. Maybe they win a 1000 or a Slam, but I also made the quarters of the last 10 tournaments.
It gets lost in the mix because people prioritize one thing, but I think it's an achievement that I've been able to be so consistent for a couple of years now," Pegula said.