By: Valentina Guo
In the height of Covid 2020, Jennifer Brady was in the top 10 of singles in women's tennis. Jennifer Brady trained hard for an upcoming tournament, the 2021 Cincinnati Open. According to The New York Times, “She smacked tennis balls against a mattress that she had propped against a wall and pedaled a stationary bike in the bathroom with the door closed and a hot shower running to try to replicate the tournament’s often steamy conditions.”
When she got on court, she was determined, and won her first match. She was no. 13 in the whole world, and was about to break through. Brady had trained hard for this competition, and when she came to it, while going against Jelena Ostapenko in her second-round match, she heard a pop in her left heel. She limped off the court in a hurry.
The pop in her heel turned out to be a “torn plantar fascia,” according to ESPA. Shortly after, there was a stress fracture in her knee, combined with the torn plantar fascia, resulting in the 28 year old tennis player on a hiatus of playing for almost 2 years.
Brady soon had to undergo surgery, pain, treatment, highs and lows, and hesitation. She describes these times as “a very dark place,” and at times, according to The New York Times, she found herself on the floor, curled into a ball, clutching her left leg and sometimes even wishing she could “just chop it off.”
But after nearly 2 years, she came back. USTA wrote that she posted on her instagram “Big week this week. Playing my first match back, my first tournament back in almost two years ... I'm super thrilled,” “I just want to say, it's about damn time. [The support] really meant a lot, helped me keep going, and got me back to competing again.” The week of July 29, she competed in the International Tennis Federation satellite tournament in Granby, Quebec, and won a round before losing in straight sets to Japanese tennis player Himeno Sakatsume, ranked 223rd at the time.
“It was unbelievable, just being out there,” Brady said in a telephone interview from Granby. “Just engaging and just having a crowd there, and people enjoying good tennis. I definitely missed this. I didn’t think I would be as comfortable as I was. I’m happy I was able to show people that I’m still here.”
Brady no longer has a ranking after her long hiatus, but she at least has a protected ranking. This means that since she’s injured, she will not play on the court for a minimum of 6 months. She plans to use that to get into the U.S. open.
“We are on a better track than we were last year, we will tell you that,” she said. “Definitely on the right track, figuring things out” “we are a on a better place than we were last year, that's for sure.” Jennifer Brady was injured for quite a long time, but she’s having a strong comeback.