American Taylor Townsend needed to learn to regulate what she will be able to and never sweat the remaining.
Whether that was motherhood or soul-searching — or the previous bringing on the latter — the brand new, improved Townsend was comfortable in her own skin and placed on a show in Flushing Meadows.
It was a raw, emotional show in a 7-6 (1), 7-5 upset of 18th-seeded Beatriz Haddad Maia on Wednesday that sent Townsend into the third round of the U.S. Open.
“Man, that is what I train for. … I’ve worked really hard to be within the place where I’m [now],” said Townsend, clad in a Yankees cap. “I never take a day without any consideration. … These are the times, and a day like this I’d be proud to share with my son and say, ‘Look, you set within the work, and also you reap the rewards.’
“Motherhood has given me a special perspective towards the sport. I actually have fallen back in love not only with the game but with the method. For the longest time I used to be like, ‘I do know I can. I do know I can.’ But really now I really imagine I’m a top player. … Days like this are truly special to me. It highlights what I’ve been constructing in my mind.”
For Townsend, the victory — in addition to her win over third-ranked Jessica Pegula in Roma earlier this 12 months — was as much in her mind as on the court.
Ranked just 132nd on the earth and the last player to get direct entry into the essential draw, Townsend has now knocked off her second top-20 foe of the season.
She’ll face No. 10 Karolina Muchovain within the third round.
After clinching the win over Haddad Maia before a raucous crowd on Court 17, Townsend thrust her arm skyward then punched down toward the court.
She set free a loud roar, and the gang responded.
Townsend had a protracted hug along with her coach, emotions pouring out. She recently went three months without seeing her aforementioned young son, Adyn Aubrey Johnson, born in 2021.
And having dedicated her season to him, Townsend says he’s the wellspring her newfound belief flows from.
“I assume having a child,” she said, adding, “I do know I’m not here by talent. Yes, I actually have talent, but I’m here because I work my ass off to get here. … For me, the idea has come from putting within the work, putting within the hard yards, not only physically but mentally, breaking down a number of different barriers that I had in my mind.”
Asked what’s been holding her back, Townsend answered simply herself.
Once asked by the USTA to sit down out the 2012 U.S. Open Junior tourney due to her weight, recently she’s done a self-evaluation on herself, not as a player but as an individual.
“I actually needed to dive into my personal self and check out to work out and break down how do you are feeling about yourself, how is it that the experiences you’ve had have affected you with regards to the tennis world? People talking about my weight, people talking about very sensitive subjects, how I look,” Townsend said. “Physical appearance is all the time judged from the time you step out on the court.
“I actually had to interrupt down myself and just understand myself more as an individual. It was so cool because I embraced the environment [Wednesday]. Me showing the emotion and fervour, pumped up, the gang, doing little stuff after I hit certain shots. That is me.
“So finally accepting who I’m and what all which means, letting it come out, letting it show and shine in stages and places like this. Before I all the time feel like I needed to act a certain way or be a certain thing or measure who I used to be. But now I’m identical to, ‘Hey, that is Taylor. Take it, leave it, you prefer it, don’t prefer it, whatever. Can’t make everyone glad.’ It was very deep. It was very personal.”