(September 1, 2015) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – After all these many years making the commute to Flushing Meadows to watch the US Open with her family, 20-year-old Jamie Loeb made her Grand Slam debut there on Tuesday after recently turning pro.
The Ossining, New York resident, who drove to the tournament on Tuesday morning with her family, came into the US Open as a wildcard, given to her as the reigning NCAA Division I champion out of North Carolina. Loeb was ranked No. 1 in the country as a freshman, and she was named the ACC Women’s Tennis Player of the Year in her second year at UNC.
Despite world No. 4 Caroline Wozniacki demolishing the new pro 6-2, 6-0 in 67 minutes in Arthur Ashe Stadium, Loeb was very upbeat calling her debut “awesome. Stepping on the court and everyone cheering and saying my name. It’s something I’ll never forget. I was dreaming of this first moment on the court.”
“It was a great experience being on Arthur Ashe with all the support out there.”
“I’d always dreamed of playing of playing on Ashe, I was excited I practiced here once five years ago”
“My whole family was in my box.”
One celebrity in attendance was former Yankee shortstop and sure to be Hall of Famer Derek Jeter. “I was aware of it on the changeover,“ Loeb said. I looked up and they were showing him (on the screen).
“I would love to meet him, but that was pretty awesome, cause I’m a Yankees fan and he’s one of the best baseball players ever. For him to be there, that was a lot.”
“She (Wozniacki) played the pressure moments better than I did.”
At the end of the match, Wozniacki spoke to Loeb.
“She congratulated me on turning pro and wished me good luck,” she said. “Very complementary. Hearing her speak afterwards, it meant a lot coming from her. She doesn’t have to say anything. She was very sweet.”
“My success in college dictated how well I would make that decision (to go pro) I basically accomplished as much as I basically can, besides winning a team event in college but, I knew I was ready. Obviously I was kind of thrown into it in my first pro tournament but it’s something I’ll definitely learn from and I’ll watch it to see what I have to work on.
As for goals for the end of this year, Loeb said,” to get my ranking up so I can make qualies at the Australian Open on my own. But I definitely want to be in qualies at next year’s US Open. Main draw would be nice but I have to look over my schedules to see what tournaments I’m playing. Like I said it’s a process. So hoping to be back here in the near future.”
On the day of her pro debut, FILA announced that they are sponsoring Loeb and it has entered into a multi-year endorsement agreement with her. “I’m with FILA now and I will be wearing their tennis shoes shortly.”
“They want my input in their outfits, what I’m comfortable wearing.”
Loeb will continue her training at the John McEnroe Tennis Academy in New York.
“I saw John (McEnroe) the other day and he gave me a hug and wished me good luck and everything. It’s like my second home.”
As for the hard work ahead, Loeb said: “My fall will consist of playing a lot of Challengers, right now.”
Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama at the US Open.