Anne-Liz Jeukeng is currently ranked a career-high No. 533.
Anne-Liz Jeukeng, 15, from Boca Raton, Fla., is one of the promising American stars competing on the USTA Pro Circuit. She turned pro at age 14 and has been battling on tour ever since, defeating top-200 players like American Julia Cohen on her way to her current career-high ranking of No. 533. Most recently, at the $100,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Midland, Mich., she won her opening-round match before losing to No. 1 seed and defending champion Lucie Hradecka (then-world No. 47), 6-2, 7-5. We caught up with her after that match.
USTA.com: How do you think the match against Hradecka went?
Anne-Liz Jeukeng: I think that she was getting a little bit nervous towards the end of the match. I wasn’t able to use the opportunities that were given, and then she jumped all over it from there. This tournament was a step in the right direction, but I’ve learned that there is a lot of work that needs to be done. I’m just going to go home and try to fix all of those things.
USTA.com: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Anne-Liz Jeukeng: I'm originally from Cameroon, which is in Africa, and came to the United States when I was just two years old. We moved to Kansas City, Mo., and I lived there and trained there for nine years. I moved down to Boca Raton, Fla., when I was 11 and have been there ever since with my dad as my coach.
USTA.com: What was the transition like in moving across the country for your tennis?
Anne-Liz Jeukeng: It was really difficult for me. I was leaving home and a lot of friends behind. I had to adjust from regular school to being home schooled, so it was just a lot to sink in.
USTA.com: What’s it like having your father as your coach?
Anne-Liz Jeukeng: It's different, but I know he wants the best for me. He's there for me in both school and tennis, so it's nice to have him there for all that time.
USTA.com: This past year was your first full year competing on the pro circuit. What was that experience like?
Anne-Liz Jeukeng: It's been great seeing different types of players and competing against different people. They have accomplished so much in tennis, so it's an amazing privilege for me.
USTA.com: Do you have a ranking or goal in mind for this year?
Anne-Liz Jeukeng: I've just been practicing every day and improving every part of my game because there's a lot to work on (smiles). So it's really just getting out there and competing every day.
USTA.com: You've beaten top-200 players before, so do you still go in with the attitude that you have nothing to lose, or do you expect to go far at these tournaments?
Anne-Liz Jeukeng: I have nothing to lose. I'm young. I'm playing against older players, but I do want to go out there and give it my best shot on every point. I'm here to try my best.
USTA.com: Have you had any funny or horror stories while traveling on the pro tour this year?
Anne-Liz Jeukeng: Actually, it was coming to this tournament (laughs). I lost my iPod at the airport, so I'm hoping to get that back on the way home.