Two Outsiders get career boosts at Roland-Garros
Jeanjean had to face many obstacles, financial and otherwise, unique to him. Until her early teens, she was considered one of the most promising junior players in Europe and had the services of a full-time personal trainer by the French Tennis Federation at the age of 12.
She dominated the competition in her age group, drawing comparisons to Martina Hingis, the Swiss prodigy who played both tennis and chess, adjusting her tactics to suit her opponents and rarely trying to master a point where finesse was still an option.
But a serious knee injury halted Jeanjean’s progress, and she eventually chose to study in the United States, playing Division I tennis at Baylor and Arkansas before completing her Division II eligibility at Lynn University, a small private university in Boca Raton, Florida. where she was an outstanding player and obtained her Masters in Business Administration in 2019.
But it’s quite a leap from Division II excellence to Roland Garros, which she hadn’t even visited in 10 years.
“What surprises me is that my game bothers these players so much,” she said on Thursday after bamboozling Pliskova, a former No. 1 who is still returning from injury, with her rhythm changing to win. , 6-2, 6 -2. “I thought I would be overpowered and see winners flying next to me everywhere, but that’s not the case.”
Jeanjean said that for “four or five years” she never thought of playing in a Grand Slam tournament, but fueled by a desire to honor the potential she showed in her youth, she decided to give “a second chance”. She was ranked in the 1000 at the start of 2021, and without sponsors she was relying on government subsistence funds and help from her father, according to L’Equipe, the French sports publication.
Now, after making her way through the minor leagues and earning less than $20,000 in career prize money, she’s in the big time with a chance to get bigger, as she takes on unseeded Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu. , in the third round. Saturday.