Forbes has included tennis star Jessica Pegula in their prestigious “30 Under 30” list for 2024.
The daughter of the billionaire owners of the Buffalo Bills and Sabres is among the most successful young people in the sporting field, alongside sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson and basketball player Napheesa Collier. After enduring years of injuries and challenges, Pegula, a late bloomer in the tennis realm (having been ranked outside the Top 100 in 2018), persevered with an unwavering passion for the game that fueled her journey through difficult times, ultimately propelling her to the summit of the WTA world:
I always thought that I would make it happen, but at the same time, putting in all the work and then looking back four years later about where my mindset was, I don’t know if I really truly believed it. So, I did, but I didn’t. I don’t know. It’s just been a very long journey, I guess.
“I just look at is as a part of my career and my job to help grow the game.”#ForbesUnder30 lister Jessica Pegula spoke about rising through the ranks of tennis players and making an impact. https://t.co/DqCCxpOZdn pic.twitter.com/Z0YkVFxmfX
— Forbes (@Forbes) November 28, 2023
During the 2023 season, Pegula earned nearly $6 million in prize money through her exceptional performance. Participating in five singles finals, she clinched victory in two, securing her third and fourth career singles titles, on top of being the season’s leader in hard-court match-wins. Her advancement to the quarterfinals of Wimbledon 2023 marked another significant milestone, as Pegula has now achieved a place in the final eight at all four Grand Slam tournaments.
Asked about what she wants her legacy to be, the 29-year-old Pegula responded:
I would love to just know that I helped the game. Helped kids, especially. I love tennis, and I think it’s created so many opportunities. Even just sitting here today, the opportunities it’s created for me, it’s insane.
The American aspires to have a lasting positive impact on tennis, driven by ambitions that extend beyond on-court accomplishments:
Hopefully [I’ll] leave a mark, not just results-wise. Whether it’s just helping us get to equal pay or helping more kids get racquets in their hands, I think any of those things would be amazing, and I want to give back to the sport as much as I can.