After major injury struggles that put her in “a very dark place,” Jennifer Brady is ready to play her first WTA event since 2021 Cincinnati. The former world No.13 American will play this week’s Mubadala Citi DC Open on a protected ranking.
What happened to Jennifer Brady?
Chronic foot and knee injuries that had no recovery timeline put Brady in an extremely difficult situation, both physically, mentally, and financially, as she revealed in an interview with Christopher Clarey. There were times when she had no energy to train, since it was hard to find motivation when there was no comeback in sight. In her darkest moments, she would just lie on the floor and cry. Costly doctor’s visits and lack of income only added to the pressure and mysery. What helped her stay afloat financially were her big checks earned shortly before her injury layoff, when she reached the 2020 US Open semifinals and the 2021 Australian Open final.
Friendship with Mackenzie McDonald
Besides receiving psychological help from the WTA, Brady has also leaned on her long-time friend Mackenzie McDonald, an ATP player that she has known since they were juniors. Brady says that he is like her brother and she’s even lived at his place since selling her house in November, as she found it very hard to be alone all the time.
Brady was supposed to make a comeback at the 2023 French Open, but a new right foot injury forced her to withdraw from the Grand Slam. She then decided to skip the grass-court events and return for the summer hard-court season.
The 28-year-old played her first competitive match on July 18 at an ITF $100,000 tournament in Granby, Canada, where she won one match. Now she’s ready to return to the Hologic WTA Tour, at a new WTA 500 event, the Mubadala Citi DC Open in Washington D.C. In singles, her first opponent will be Anhelina Kalinina, while in doubles she’s teamed up with Madison Keys and they will face Petra Martic and Maria Sakkari in the opening round.
“Lots to improve, and it won’t be easy coming back to where I was when I got injured,” Brady said, realizing that she may never again play pain-free. “But nothing in life is easy, right?” Training smarter and not harder is the approach she has now adopted.