Jessica Pegula Reveals Mother Is Recovering From A Heart Attack - UBITENNIS
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Jessica Pegula Reveals Mother Is Recovering From A Heart Attack

The American came out and wrote a truly touching story about her mother suffering from cardiac arrest.

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JESSICA PEGULA OF THE UNITED STATES - PHOTO: DIEGO SOUTO / MMO

On Tuesday Jessica Pegula released a story on The Players Tribune, a website for current and retired athletes to tell their stories which was started by ex-New York Yankee Derek Jeter.

She reveals that her mother last year suffered a heart attack while asleep one night. Pegula says her family has been dealing with the medical problem for the past year as she explains how it has affected her life on tour.

The story titled ” I want to talk to you about my mom” was an idea for her to come out and tell the world what actually happened back in January at the Australian Open.

” I texted my husband, Taylor, that the situation with my mom was weighing on me. When can we start talking about it? When can I tell her story, my story, my family’s story? Everyone just keeps asking me. I really need to get it off my chest,” Pegula wrote.

It all started back in June 2022 when Pegula had flown back to Florida after playing two solid weeks of Tennis at the French Open. She explained how a few days later on her mom’s birthday she received a call that ended up having a major impact on her family.

“A few days after I got home, I got a call around midnight (on my mom’s birthday) from my sister Kelly who was staying at my parents’ house,” Pegula recounted. “Something was wrong with our mom, and she was headed to the hospital in an ambulance. My mom was asleep when my dad woke up to her going into cardiac arrest and she was unresponsive for quite a while. My sister gave her CPR until the ambulance arrived. She saved her life. Even though she doesn’t like to take credit for this terrible situation, she absolutely saved her life, followed by the critical job performed by the paramedics who arrived and were able to restore a heartbeat”.

Recently Pegula’s sister Kelly took a CPR certification class for a new job and in a family group chat her mom was quoted as saying “Nice Kells! Now if we have a heart attack you can revive us.”

Luckily for the Pegula family, the doctors at the hospital figured out what was wrong but the issue now was how would the recovery go and if the heart attack had affected her brain.

The Buffalo native explains how the family came together and literally spent two weeks at the hospital taking care of her mother and details how the ordeal took its toll.

” We lived in that hospital for basically two weeks. We took shifts, we brought each other food, we knew all the nurses and doctors, we even knew their schedules,” she said. “We had to force my dad to go home and sleep, but most of the time he didn’t. He would go sit in his car to get away or come to my house. He didn’t want to go back to their house unless my mom was back with him. When they say one day in the hospital equals a week to recover, that is no joke. We were all mentally and physically exhausted”.

The second-week Pegula decided to get back to training because she felt she needed to focus on something else and already decided she would skip the grass season but wanted to play at Wimbledon.

Kim (Pegula’s mom) made gradual improvements and after a week was moved out of the ICU and into an in-patient care facility. Most doctors said it was a miracle she recovered.

Pegula played Wimbledon and ended up getting a sinus infection but she was happy she scored a few good wins and was able to go out and compete at the tournament.

She gave an update on how her mother is doing today and while she is doing way better she still has some ill effects.

” Today, my mom is still in recovery and although it is the same answer every time someone asks me, it is true, she is improving every day. She is dealing with significant expressive aphasia and significant memory issues. She can read, write, and understand pretty well, but she has trouble finding the words to respond to. It is hard to deal with and it takes a lot of patience to communicate with her, but I thank God every day that we can still communicate with her at all. The doctors continue to be blown away by her recovery, considering where she started, and her determination is the driving force of that”.

The Pegula family owns both the Buffalo Sabres and the Buffalo Sabres. Kim before the heart attack was the president and Pegula details how her mom loved her job.

“She loved to work. She did everything and our family constantly told her how she needs to slow down and take time for herself. She was the woman behind my dad’s success and my dad would happily admit that. She jumped into this journey with him and learned many lessons along the way, breaking a lot of barriers. She was the shift in culture, positivity, and the heartbeat of many of the employees. She gave everyone so much of her time and effort. She lived it and loved it, and it was felt by everyone she met. Now we come to the realization that all of that is most likely gone. That she won’t be able to be that person anymore”.

Pegula mentions how her mom wanted her to run the family business and think of a life after tennis but Pegula was always ready to help and take on more responsibility.

” Suddenly, I went from “Let’s celebrate top 10 in the world” to “Do I need to start thinking about my career after tennis a lot sooner than I thought?” “Does my dad and family need help? Maybe I should just go back to school and work for the family. I am 28 and I take pride in being able to handle every situation thrown at me, but this was A LOT”.

In November 2022 Pegula went to Guadalajara, Mexico, and won her first WTA 1000 title and tells the story of how before the final how she was in tears before the match.

” I was uncontrollably crying in the locker room. I am not a big crier, but I cried. It wasn’t even sad tears, it was almost happy because I just had this feeling I was going to win. In my acceptance speech, I dedicated it to my mom. I wanted her to know that even after a terrible six months, I still fought every day because of her.

Then in January, the Buffalo Bills were playing the Cincinnati Bengals when Damar Hamlin a Bills safety suffered a heart attack on the field and the news came back to Pegula and hit her hard.

” My stomach sunk because it felt like the exact same thing all over again. I was sitting on the bench for a tennis event in Sydney, Australia. I wanted to throw up. I was supposed to go on for mixed doubles in 15 minutes and I remember telling one of my teammates, “I am a little freaked out right now, this is too close to home, and I feel like I am going to have a panic attack.” 

Entering the Australian Open Pegula wore a patch with the number 3 ironically being ranked number three in the world at that time and the attention it raised was nothing but a positive outpouring that she appreciated.

A positive Pegula sees with her mom at home resting and recovering is being able to watch her teams play not to mention her daughter’s tennis matches.

” Thankful that she is now home, that she gets to watch the Bills, Sabres, and my tennis matches. She never watched my matches before, because she got too nervous. Now she watches all of them”.

She finished her story by thanking the people of Buffalo for all the love and support she has received not just for her but for her entire family.

” Thank you to the Buffalo community for your patience. I know you have wanted answers and it took us a while to get there but it finally felt like it was time. Thank you to everyone who has respected privacy and shown me and my family tremendous support throughout this ongoing journey”.

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Karolina Pliskova Finding Her Footing With The Help Of New Coach Krajan

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Karolina Pliskova (CZE) playing against Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) in the semi-final of the Ladies' Singles on Centre Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 10 Thursday 08/07/2021. Credit: AELTC/Simon Bruty

Karolina Pliskova’s resurgence on the Tour comes at a time when she has formed a new partnership with a well-known coach. 

After her first round loss at the Australian Open to Elena Rybakina, the Czech won nine consecutive matches on the Tour. In Romania, she claimed her 17th WTA title at the Winners Open before reaching the semi-finals of a WTA 1000 event in Doha. However, she was unable to play her semi-final clash against Iga Swiatek due to a lower back injury. During this period she has improved her ranking from 77th to 36th. 

Pliskova began the season without a coach at her side but is now working with Croatia’s Zeljko Krajan. A partnership she believes is showing promising signs already. 

“Personality-wise, I think he’s kind of similar to me,” Pliskova told WTA Insider. “Not really high or low. Relaxed and very like calm. 
“We didn’t really plan yet anything because now the schedule was difficult. I might be in qualifying in Indian Wells. Maybe I enter San Diego. So I don’t really know what’s gonna be. I’m just living day by day at the moment.” 

Krajan has worked with a series of players on both the WTA and ATP Tour’s. He guided Dinara Safina to three Grand Slam finals between 2008 and 2010. He has also worked with Borna Coric, Laura Robson, Marcos Baghdatis, Jelena Jankovic and Dominika cibulkova.

Pliskova, who is a former world No.1 and two-time Grand Slam finalist, has endured a roller-coaster journey on the Tour in recent months with mixed results. Last season she failed to win back-to-back matches at 11 consecutive tournaments. 

So how has she managed to regain her form on the Tour?

“Motivation was never really a problem for me,” Pliskova said. “If I go on the court no matter how bad or good I feel, I always want to win. I always want to compete. 
“But my game is based on confidence and I need to feel that. Even if I’m not playing well or winning many matches, I just need to find that confidence in that moment or in that game because it’s just so risky. My shots are so flat, so I go for mostly lines. If something is not going well or you start to doubt, then of course you miss a little bit. Everything is about this.”

Unseeded at this week’s Dubai Tennis Championships, Pliskova beat China’s Zhang Shuai in the first round. She will next play Ashlyn Krueger in the second round on Tuesday.

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Elena Rybakina Eases Past Kasatkina To Win Abu Dhabi Open

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Elena Rybakina has captured her second title of the season after beating an erratic Daria Kasatkina in straight sets at the Abu Dhabi Open. 

The world No.5 stormed to a 6-1, 6-4, win over the Russian in just over an hour. It is the third time in Rybakina’s career that she has beaten Kasatkina on the Tour and she now leads their head-to-head 3-2. The triumph comes a month after she won the Brisbane International, which is also a WTA 500 event. 

Rybakina’s latest match saw her capitalise on her opponent’s costly mistakes. Kasatkina struggled with her serve throughout the majority of the final and only managed to hold twice in eight attempts. Opening the door for the former Wimbledon champion who hit 17 winners against 12 unforced errors en route to victory. 

“I want to thank the fans who came this week,” said the new champion. “It has been an amazing atmosphere, especially to see flags from Kazakhstan. It means a lot, thank you so much.”

A one-sided 25-minute opening set saw Rybakina claim four straight games to clinch an early lead. During to the opener, Kasatkina only managed to win 26% of her service points. It was the fourth time in the tournament that the Kazakh had won a set by conceding two or fewer games. 

Fortunately for world No.14 Kasatkina and the crowd, there was more of a battle in the second frame. Twice in a row Rybakina worked her way to a break advantage before losing it in the following game. Then at 4-4, she dealt the decisive blow by hitting a clean forehand winner to break yet against and this time had a chance to serve for the title. With the rain starting to fall, she converted her first championship point with the help of another error from across the net. 

The defeat for Kasatkina comes a day after she came through a marathon three-hour semi-final match before criticising the WTA over their tournament scheduling. She is currently set to play in the Qatar Open with her opening match taking place tomorrow. It is the sixth time in a row she has been beaten by a top-five player on the Tour. 

“Congratulations to Elena, you’ve had a great week,” she said.
“Thanks to my team who has always been next to me. I am really proud of the job we’ve done and how we are doing. Thanks for always believing in me.”

Rybakina also referred to the demanding calendar during the trophy presentation. 

“Tough week (for Kasatkina), especially the last matches. Tomorrow there is already a match in Doha but hopefully, we will both recover and do well there. Maybe also play (against each other) in the final there,” she said. 

Unlike Kasatkina, Rybakina has a first round bye in Doha. She has now won seven WTA trophies so far in her career. 

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Ons Jabeur Hoping For Better Fortunes In Doha Despite Injury Concerns

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Ons Jabeur (TUN) playing against Venus Williams (USA) on No.1 Court at The Championships 2021. Credit: AELTC/Jon Super

Ons Jabeur is optimistic that she will be ready in time to play at her next event in Doha after suffering an emotional exit from Dubai on Friday. 

The two-time Wimbledon finalist was in tears during her straight sets loss to Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia in the quarter-finals. Jabeur later revealed that her emotional reaction was linked to the reoccurrence of a knee injury in recent days which has troubled her in the past. She said the pain can differ at various tournaments but in Dubai, it was causing her significant discomfort. 

“I’m an open book, an emotional person. I like to show myself. One thing I have learned is to accept the emotion, and if I try to hide it, it will not make me feel good,” Jabeur told reporters in Doha at a pre-tournament press conference. 
“So it’s good to let it out and be done with it than to keep it inside and probably will make more problems for you later.”

Despite the setback, the world No.6 intends to play at the Doha Open which gets underway today. She will be the fourth seed in this year’s draw and will be playing in the event for the first time since 2022. Last year she was forced to skip the Middle East swing after having surgery to treat an enlarged nodule which was obstructing her airway and preventing oxygen from reaching her lungs. 

“I’m very happy to be back. I’m obviously happier than last year,” she said. “I’m glad to be united with my fans here, and hopefully it’s going be a great week for me.
“I have been struggling with the knee for a long time, and last week was very, very tough. Hopefully, I can recover in time and then play better here in Doha.”  

This time of the year has always meant a lot to the Tunisian, who has spoken on numerous occasions about her aim to inspire more players from her region to take up tennis. She is the first Arab player to reach a Grand Slam final, crack the top 10 in the WTA rankings and qualify for the season-ending Tour Finals. 

“It is very important to be here to connect with Arabic crowds. I feel so much love here in the region, and obviously, that’s one of the reasons I chose to play Abu Dhabi, Doha, and Dubai, because I feel so good here.” She said.

Declaring she is ‘happy’ with her rhythm on the court, Jabeur will begin her campaign in Doha against either Lesia Tsurenko or Turkish wild card Zeynep Sonmez.

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