Yesterday, 18-year-old Taylor Townsend has made it past the first round of the French Open after being down 1-5 in the first set, but she was almost barred from competing at the 2012 US Open juniors tournament because of her weight.
Officials tried to make this call despite her winning the Australian Open juniors that same year:
But at the United States Open junior tournament later that year, the United States Tennis Association wanted to keep her out of the tournament because it believed her physical conditioning was lacking, even though she was the top-ranked junior girl in the world. She entered the tournament anyway and reached the quarterfinals. Reports of the weight-based dispute quickly drew the ire of many.
Besides proving those USTA naysayers wrong, Townsend coped by reading messages online from fans who said her conduct inspired them, and by hiring coaches who saw past how she looks, like Zina Garrison: "'The biggest thing was just getting her to understand that she's fine,' Garrison said. 'Everybody doesn't have the same shape of our bodies. She's very clear on that now.'"
Today, Townsend, who is ranked 205th, beat the number 20 seed Alize Cornet to advance to Roland Garros's third round. Hell yeah!
Image via Getty.