Jessica Pegula Wins Citi Open Trophy for First-Ever Singles Title on the WTA Tour
(August 4, 2019) WASHINGTON, D.C. – Jessica Pegula won her first-ever WTA tour title on Sunday at the Citi Open in Washington, D. C. with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Italy’s Camila Giorgi.
“It’s been extremely gratifying,” said the 25-year-old American in her post-match news conference. “This is, like, what you work for, to win tournaments and to just win, basically.”
“But, you know, the journey — it sounds cliche. The journey makes it all that much sweeter. I’ve worked really hard. So to kind of push through this week and really push myself to the limit to — you know, stronger than I kind of almost thought I was at times, really makes it — it’s amazing, yeah. I’m excited!”
The upstate New York native ranked No. 79, the daughter of the owners of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills and the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, came into the match with a plan against No. 62-ranked Giorgi.
“She plays so fast and quick, I didn’t want to let her dictate the points. So I just tried to, you know, really use my legs, be ready for every single shot to come back fast and hard, but also kind of try to do that to her, as well, almost kind of not give her time to dictate points.
“Because, I mean, I’m aggressive as well. I have no problem with people who are hitting fast and hard at me. So it was definitely part of my game plan not to give her too much time to think out there and not let her get into timing, and also first serve, for sure.”
It’s been a long road back for Pegula who had hip surgery in 2017, she thought this day may never come, where she’d lift a WTA trophy as the winner.
“Well, I had my surgery, and I don’t think I played for about three months,” said Pegula. “And it was just literally going to rehab, like, five times a week. It was pretty boring, pretty — you know, it’s just horrible. You don’t want to do it.
“But I would say I went through with a pretty good mindset, though. Watching a lot of the tennis, seeing girls do well kind of, you know, made me want to get hungry and get back out there, for sure.
“But three months it was just rehab, and then I slowly started back into hitting just maybe like once or twice a week. And then I think it was about six to seven months after my surgery I actually, I think, went to a tournament and competed.
“So it took some time, but I got to, you know, focus on other things for once. And I’ve been out before with a surgery on my knee, so I just knew I had to take advantage of the time. I had to have a little fun. But, you know, I was hungry to get back out there.”
“There was definitely a point where I was thinking about it. I lost in the finals of Newport. I lost in the finals of the 100 this year. I lost in the finals of Quebec last year. It was always — I’ve lost in the finals singles a couple of Challengers when I was younger. So it’s definitely always been in the back of my mind for sure.
“But I don’t know. This week, though, it felt different. This final, I felt like I was just ready. I was like, You know what? You’re going to go out there and you’re going to go win. And I felt confident in that.
“But it’s definitely something that I had to fight through. I would say even after Quebec hurt a lot because I really wanted it to be — like, you know, I was in the finals of a WTA. I was like, Wow, my first title can be a WTA tournament, which would be pretty cool. So it kind of came full circle. I’m really proud of that.
“But it’s just something that you have to fight through mentally and you can’t really overthink it.”
Pegula had her dog named Maddie, a miniature Australian Shepherd, come on to the court during the trophy ceremony, and also had the dog with her during her news conference.
Pegula came into the tournament with new coach David Witt who formerly coached Venus Williams.
“I think we’ve worked on a — not big changes, but a couple little things to focus on the week before we came here and the practices we had here,” Pegula said.
“Yeah, I think he’s helped me with that and just kind of helped me realize, you know, just to compete for every single point and, you know, not really take off any games, take off any points, and just keep that mindset the whole time, which has really helped me get through some tough matches this week. And then, luckily today, it was kind of all working, which was nice.
“But, yeah, I would say just a few little things. There hasn’t been any big changes. It’s been subtle things to focus on. But, you know, in return, focusing on those things helped me play my best tennis today.”
“I think I just have had a really good mindset the last few weeks,” she added. “I was just kind of just trying to work on getting better every single day in practice and every one of these matches.
“I like the hard courts. I like playing here, which also gives you a little bit of extra confidence.
“But I think it’s just I really embraced some of the changes I’ve had to make the last few weeks. I’ve tried to look at it with the most positive mindset. I read a lot of books, and I write in a journal, and I just try to keep the right mindset going forward. I think doing that every single day the last few weeks really helped it all come together today.”
More to follow….