By Erik Gudris | @atntennis | Sunday, May 28, 2023
Jessica Pegula is just fine not being considered part of the new, yet, unofficial “Big 3” in the WTA.
That’s even when, ironically, she’s currently ranked World No. 3.
Pegula enjoyed a relatively straightforward 6-4, 6-2 opening round win over fellow American Danielle Collins as the first evening session drew to a close at Roland Garros.
Later, in her press conference, Pegula was asked about her thoughts and feelings of not being considered part of the new perceived “Big 3” in the women’s game that includes No. 1 seed and defending champion Iga Swiatek, No. 2 seed and Australian Open champion Arnya Sabalenka, and No. 4 seed and reigning Wimbledon Champion Elena Rybakina.
— Jessie Pegula (@JLPegula) May 28, 2023
Pegula took the question in stride and revealed that she really doesn’t dwell on the conversation too much.
“No, I’m not part of it (laughing), but hopefully one day I will be. Hopefully this year,” Pegula said. “They’ve earned that right. They’ve been playing really solid tennis. Iga, we already know from last year. Aryna I felt like broke through in Australia as far as like winning a slam, but I think her results have always been up there. Then Elena at the end of last year as well.
“I mean, to see them being so consistent, I think they’ve earned that right. Obviously ranking-wise I’m still three, but I’m sure that could change. I could go up or down, whatever. It depends on results.
“But, yeah, I think they’ve earned that title, and I think it’s nice to see three girls dominating. Hopefully I can be part of that conversation, but I think either way it’s still great for women’s tennis. Especially because everyone always talks about the inconsistency and all this stuff.
“I just tend to think it’s because we have a lot of really great depth. It’s nice to see them, yeah, playing really, really good tennis, and I feel like it’s good for the sport as well.”
The top American is hoping for a strong Roland Garros after mixed results leading into the second major of the year. After reaching the semis in Charleston and the quarters in Madrid, Pegula bowed out in the opening round of Rome to Taylor Townsend.
“I think Rome was tough. Yeah, I had a little bit of a nagging injury in Madrid and Rome. Then the two-week tournament,” Pegula said. “Then I got food poisoning last week. There’s been a lot of obstacles, I feel like, the last couple of weeks specifically that have been really tough physically and then taking their toll mentally because of that.
Pegula added “Yeah, I’m happy that I was able to kind of shift my perspective at least today and be able to play really great tennis. Hopefully now that I have two days off I can kind of take that into the next match.”
She will next face Italy’s Camila Giorgi in the second round.
Photo Source: Jennifer Pottheiser/USTA