This Tennis Player Has Defied The Critics Who Once Fat-Shamed Her On Court

And Taylor Townsend, seeded 205th in the world, could be on her way to Wimbledon too


by Sophie Wilkinson |
Published on

Taylor Townsend, an 18-year-old tennis player ranked 205th in the world, beat the world's 20th, Alize Tornet, to reach third round of the French Open this weekend. Though she went on to lose doesn't matter, because her win is a great big 40-luv to her when it comes to the US Tennis Association.

Back in 2012, when she was just 16, the organisation withheld support money from her because of ‘health reasons’ – demanding she lose weight. However, without their money, she’s gone on to show them that she’ll achieve highly because she’s a lot fitter than she looks. ‘They can say whatever they want to say, but no one really understands,' she told CBS news after reaching the third round. 'They're not in my body, they're not here, they're not playing so it's like, whatever they want to say, they can say. But I just try to keep the ball rolling.’

If she can play a good game, it really shouldn’t matter how much she weighs, right? Despite the fact some commentators point to stats showing that both Serena Williams and Lindsay Davenport upped their game when they lost weight, surely Taylor’s fitness and development is totally up to her? And no one should really be telling a 16-year-old to lose weight, even if she is great at sport. Surely it should be more about celebrating those achievements instead of dwelling on the what-ifs.

So what's next for Townsend? Birmingham, in fact, where she will aim to qualify for a place at Wimbledon. That is, if her good performance at the French Open doesn’t automatically qualify her for a starting place in the competition with what’s also known as a ‘wild card’.

‘If I got a wild card into Wimbledon, I would pass out right now,' she's said. 'Honestly, that would make my day. Wow. Wimbledon is my favourite tournament, I swear, I love the grass. I just love the tournament, the atmosphere.’

Taylor, we look forward to welcoming you here!

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

Picture: Getty

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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