Candidate Taylor Townsend is pleased with the social media reaction to her weight problems

Candidate Taylor Townsend is pleased with the social media reaction to her weight problems

Candidate Taylor Townsend is pleased with the social media reaction to her weight problems

Taylor Townsend laughs heartily at the idea that she might have been worried about social media trolls.

“No, because I knew I was fat,” she says practically. “You won’t hurt my feelings, I’m very aware of that. But I’m doing something about it. “

Townsend, a 26-year-old American, talks about her journey back to tennis after the birth of her son Adyn 18 months ago.

Female athletes who have mid-career children are becoming more and more common, especially in tennis, but not many are willing to publicly display their bodies after giving birth.

Townsend did just that, posting videos on Instagram of his early workouts and making no attempt to hide how difficult he found it. Considering everything he went through at the beginning of his career, he was extremely brave.

From humble beginnings in southern Chicago, Townsend had become the best junior in the world in 2012, winning the Australian Open women’s title when she was denied a US Open wildcard and asked to skip the junior tournament at because of its body shape.

In an honest piece for The Players’ Tribune last year, Townsend wrote: “They didn’t just alienate me for not fitting into the ‘mold’ of what a tennis player should be, they punished me. They took away from me something I had earned. I was fat and I was black, so they took the dream away from me. Or at least they tried. “

Townsend, a talented southpaw with an audience-pleasing game, still played in the US Open junior, winning the doubles title, but the experience had a profound effect on her.

Ten years later, the journey back to fitness from childbirth hit hard, with Townsend saying, “It was very difficult. For a long time I thought, ‘Oh, I just have to lose 20 pounds,’ and I struggled with that. .

“But then after I got it and I had 80 to lose, I was like, ‘Holy shit. I’ve never had to do this before. ‘ There have been many firsts for me. I just wanted people to know that even though we are here on these fields and stadiums, hitting a fuzzy yellow ball, I struggle.

“I wanted to get in touch with everyone about this because it’s something incredibly real.”

With satisfaction, Townsend found the reaction on social media positive.

“I didn’t know how long it would take, I didn’t know what the course would be like, I didn’t know if everything would go according to plan,” he said.

“But I really didn’t get it (abuse). I think it’s been inspiring for people because not many people perform when they’re down and out in the fight. It was more “We see you”, and that meant more to me.

“That’s why being here in these places makes it so much more useful because I’ve really earned my way back here and every single game I play. I had to work hard and I draw a lot of confidence from it ”.

The United States Tennis Association has been heavily criticized for Townsend’s management and her experiences have highlighted a lack of understanding of cultural differences regarding body shape.

Encouragingly, Townsend feels that things have changed over the past decade and takes pleasure in knowing that others have benefited from the hardships he has experienced.

“I’ve seen things happen that were different since I was coming,” he said. “I’ve had conversations with Coco (Gauff) several times and she would say to me, ‘My parents didn’t do this and that because of what you went through.’

“His saying this means a lot because I know I didn’t fight for no reason. And it’s the same kind of energy I’m trying to draw from Venus and Serena. They didn’t fight for no reason because we’re here, we’re playing, people are cheering and they’re excited to see us here.

“They didn’t realize it when they first came out on the circuit and for years it’s been a lot of pushbacks. If the difficulties I went through and from which I learned a lot personally, which helped me grow as a person, helped other people overcome roadblocks, I think it’s a victory. “

Townsend experienced the early ups and downs in the women’s game, later revealing that she had battled depression, but she made some notable achievements, most notably her run to the fourth round of the US Open in 2019, which included winning over Simona Halep. .

She returned to tour in April having not played since the US Open in 2020 and won her third tournament.

Townsend’s chart is already back in the top 200, and despite losing a close match to Katerina Siniakova in the first round of the single at Flushing Meadows, she and Caty McNally are in the third round of the doubles.

Adyn enjoys racing in the player areas and Townsend is fully confident that the best days of her career await them.

She said: “I have set myself the goal of returning after having my son better than I left, and in more facets and areas, not just in the way I’m playing. I definitely feel like a different player, much clearer, much more confident in what I’m doing ”.

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