You may have heard of or seen 16-year-old Taylor Townsend, a tennis star that won the Austrlian Open as a 14th seed and also won the doubles tournament with her partner Gabrielle Andrews earlier this year. Or maybe you heard her name when she won the 2012 Wimbledon Championships. However, now she’s making headlines for more unfortunate news.
Townsend had dreams of competing in the US Open Junior Tournament, but the US Tennis Association chose not to fund her travel, and turned down her request to compete as a wild card in the main draw at Flushing Meadows. Reason: she’s overweight.
Patrick McEnrow, the manager of the USTA player development program, claims the “concern is her long-term health” and that they’d be more than happy to help Townsend “compete for major titles when it’s time.” Townsend told Good Morning America “they just told me that they felt I should focus on my fitness.”
Fellow tennis star Serena Williams spoke out about the controversy:
“If that happened, that’s obviously a tragedy, because everyone deserves to play. She’s so sweet and she works so hard. For a female, particularly, in the United States, in particular, and African-American, to have to deal with that is unnecessary. Women athletes come in all different sizes and shapes and colors and everything. I think you can see that more than anywhere on the tennis tour.”
The association is now saying they will reimburse Townsend for US Open expenses. Since winning the Australian Championship, Townsend has committed to a healthier lifestyle, giving up fast food, and beginning an intense training regimen.
What do you think about this story? Was the USTA justified our way out of bounds on this one?