BLACK HISTORY MONTH:
Ashley Marshall | February 19, 2019
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.
After winning the girls' title at Roland Garros in 2017 as a 15-year-old, talented American teenager Whitney Osuigwe suddenly had little to prove on the junior stage. Now she's hoping her early success will translate into professional wins.
The initial indications are promising for the former junior No. 1. She is one of just two 16-years-olds ranked inside the Top 300 (along with world No. 191 Marta Kostyuk), and the early scouting reports suggest her counterpunch style of play can yield success outside of her favorite red clay courts, where she thrived in the junior ranks.ADVERTISEMENT
Along with Amanda Anisimova and Claire Liu, Osuigwe is the youngest of the three American teens inside the Top 250. It's likely no coincidence that both 17-year-old Anisimova, ranked No. 59, and 18-year-old Liu, ranked No. 141, also won junior Grand Slam girls' titles. Time will tell how quickly Osuigwe can join them in the Top 150.
Residence: Bradenton, Fla.
Current junior rank: 215
- Osuigwe is currently ranked No. 215 in the world, just shy of her career-high of No. 197, achieved on Jan. 28, 2019. The American started 2018 ranked No. 1,120 in the world. The transition to the senior ranks comes on the back of a successful junior campaign that saw her rise to world No. 1 and win a slew of high-profile junior events, including the French Open and the Orange Bowl. She also reached the girls’ doubles final at Wimbledon in consecutive years, partnering fellow American Caty McNally.
- The 16-year-old played several sports in addition to tennis growing up, including basketball and baseball. She also took ballet dancing lessons but soon gravitated back to tennis, which she started playing when she was 7 years old.
- Osuigwe’s father Desmond was born in Lagos, Nigeria, and played on the ITF Futures tour before coming to the U.S. to attend school at Jackson State University. He is currently a teaching pro at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., where Osuigwe also trains.
- While playing the junior circuit, Osuigwe reached the final of the clay-court $25,000 ITF tournament in Wesley Chapel, Fla., and won doubles titles in Jackson, Miss., and Orlando, Fla. The teen made her professional debut at the 2018 Miami Open, where she lost to Claire Liu, whom she defeated in the French Open final the previous spring. After turning pro, Osuigwe won her first singles title at the $80,000 ITF event in Tyler, Texas.
- As a result of winning the USTA Girls’ 18s title, she made her Grand Slam main-draw debut as a wild card at the 2018 US Open, where she fell to Camila Giorgi in the first round, 6-4, 6-1. Last month, Osuigwe made her Australian Open main-draw debut, pushing qualifier Bianca Andreescu of Canada to three sets in a first-round loss.