Jessica Pegula announces plans for big things in 'dirty 30s' after 1st win in 30-club

After celebrating her 30th birthday on Saturday, Pegula won her first match as a 30-year-old in San Diego.

by Dzevad Mesic
Jessica Pegula announces plans for big things in 'dirty 30s' after 1st win in 30-club
© Getty Images Sport - Minas Panagiotakis

Jessica Pegula celebrated her first win as a 30-year-old in San Diego and afterward took to X to announce in a funny way that she is ready to do some major things in her "dirty 30s."

Pegula, the fifth-ranked player on the WTA Tour, turned 30 on Saturday. On Tuesday, Pegula played her first match since celebrating birthday and kicked off her thirties with a doubles win as she and Desirae Krawczyk defeated Shuko Aoyama and Wu Fang-Hsien 4-6 6-3 10-2 in their doubles opener at the San Diego Open. 

Since Pegula is the top-seeded player in San Diego and has a first-round bye in the singles event, that's why she started her doubles campaign with Krawczyk earlier. Pegula is also the top-seeded player with Krawczyk in the doubles event, but unlike the singles event, there was not a first-round bye. 

After the match, a Pegula fan posted about the American entering the new phase of her career with a win. 

Responding to the post, Pegula wrote: "Dirty 30’s here I come (smiling devil emoji)."

How Pegula, Krawczyk defeated Aoyama, Fang-Hsien

Pegula and Kracwzyk got off to a slow start to the match as they lost the opening two games but managed to save three break points in the third game to avoid going down by an early break. After avoiding going down by a double break, Pegula and Krawczyk managed to get the break back in the fourth game but then again lost their serve in the fifth game. 

In the eighth game, Pegula and Krawczyk managed to get the break back and tie the first set to four games apiece but then again dropped her serve in the following game as Aoyama and Fang-Hsien took a 5-4 lead before serving out for the opener in the following game.

After losing the first set, Pegula and Krawczyk also got broken in the first game of the second set. Falling down by a set and a break was seemingly a wake-up call for Pegula and Krawczyk, who then went on to went on to claim three breaks in a row and win the next five games to open a 5-1 lead in the second set. 

Pegula and Krawczyk then experienced some difficulties when attempting to close out the set as they missed out on a set point in the seventh game and another set point in the eighth game as Aoyama and Fang-Hsien managed to get one break back and cut the deficit to 3-5. However, Pegula and Krawczyk stayed calm as they managed to convert their third set point in the ninth game and send the match into a decider.

In the match tie-break, Pegula and Krawczyk started with a 4-0 lead before ultimately opening a 9-1 lead and converting their second match point to complete their comeback win and set up a San Diego quarterfinal against Kayla Day and Claire Liu.

Pegula made a big and 'tough' decision just before her 30th birthday

Following a shock Australian Open second-round loss to Claire Liu and another Grand Slam tournament in which Pegula failed to make her big Slam breakthrough, she decided that she and her long-time coach David Witt needed to go their separate ways. When the news of the split was reported, Witt - who worked with Pegula for nearly five years - admitted he didn't expect to be fired.  

In San Diego, former world No. 3 Pegula highlighted it wasn't an easy decision but also admitted that she wanted something new and different. Although Pegula drastically improved under the guidance of coach Witt, she just wasn't able to make the next step at the Grand Slam level nor reach the world No. 1 ranking. 

“I just felt like I needed something different,” Pegula said in her pre-tournament press conference in San Diego.

“I’ve just turned 30 so I feel like I’m getting to that point where I am maybe more near to the ending of my career phase so I just kind of needed to make some tough decisions to try something different.

“I didn’t want to regret not doing this. I think it was just something that naturally happened.”

Not only that Pegula split with Witt, she also decided to take a different approach when forming a new coaching staff as from now on she plans to work with two coaches - four-time Grand Slam champion in doubles Mark Knowles and former Bahamian tennis player Mark Merklein.

"Right now I’m working in a combination with Mark Merklein and Mark Knowles. Both of them can’t travel full time so I am kind of in the process of trying to figure that out. But one is based in Boca which is really helpful as that is where I live. It’s been nice to have that set up.” Pegula said.

“Mark Knowles is in Dallas so I have just spent a week there. It has been nice. I like having a collaborative setup where I feel like I can talk to multiple people and have different feedback.”

It will be interesting to see if the major move Pegula recently made will bring something positive in the upcoming period.

Jessica Pegula