Black History Month Profile:
Sally Milano | February 6, 2018
In celebration of Black History Month, USTA.com is taking a look at several talented, young African-American players who are following in the footsteps of pioneering players like Althea Gibson, Arthur Ashe and the Williams sisters and seem ready to make their own mark in tennis. Here is a look at Whitney Osuigwe.
Current world No. 1 junior Whitney Osuigwe had a dramatic rise through the ranks of junior tennis last year, with results that included capturing her first Grand Slam junior title, winning the prestigious Orange Bowl Girls’ 18s championship, and compiling an impressive 57-8 record in singles and 34-9 mark in doubles at ITF 18-and-under events. Here’s more on the rising young star.
Residence: Bradenton, Fla.
Current junior rank: 1
- 2017 ITF World Junior Champion Osuigwe (pronounced "oh-see-gway") is the third U.S. ADVERTISEMENT girl and fourth American junior in the last six years to finish as the world's year-end No. 1. She first rose to No. 1 in the junior world rankings last October and has held on to the top spot ever since.
- The 15-year-old burst onto the tennis scene in Paris last year, winning the girls' singles title at the French Open by defeating Claire Liu in the second all-American girls' final ever played at Roland Garros. Osuigwe became only the fourth American girl to win the event and the first since Jennifer Capriati in 1989. She also reached the girls’ doubles final at Wimbledon in 2017.
- Osuigwe led the U.S. Junior Fed Cup team to its fourth Junior Fed Cup title in Budapest, Hungary, last September. It was the third championship for the American girls in the last six years; they also won titles in 2008, 2012 and 2014.
- Osuigwe, who turned pro last year, will be competing at more professional tournaments going forward and has posted impressive results at the two USTA Pro Circuit events she has competed in this year. She kicked off 2018 by reaching her first pro singles final at the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Wesley Chapel, Fla., the week of Jan. 23 and advanced to the doubles semifinals at the $100,000 tournament in Midland, Mich., last week.
- A native of Bradenton, Fla., Osuigwe trains at the IMG Academy, where her father and coach Desmond, originally from Lagos in Nigeria and a former ATP player in the 1990s, is a teaching pro.
- Osuigwe told The New Yorker magazine last year that she idolized Victoria Azarenka growing up. "[I admire] the way she fights," she said. "And her hair."