Ashley Harkleroad

July 16, 2020

“At age 14, I was number one in the nation. At age 15, I turned professional and signed a five-year deal with Nike and signed with CAA. By 16, I was number 3 in the world in juniors. At 17, I made the finals of Junior French Open and won a $50,000 challenger event. By 18, I was number 39 in the world. Then I tore a ligament in my elbow. I decided to avoid surgery and took six months off to heal because I needed a break. I had been treating tennis like a job since age 13. I was burnt out and in a dark place. I developed an eating disorder. I was not handling the pressure of being on tour. My expectations were doubled by those of my family, team and agents. When I took time off, I did not freeze my ranking so it fell from inside the Top 50 to outside the Top 200. Eight months later, I felt mentally and physically strong enough to play again. My Nike contract was over and I had to pick up the pieces. My elbow felt better but never fully healed. At 19, I got married to fellow

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