Fitness not an issue for Townsend in early Wimbledon exit

Wed Jun 25, 2014 9:43am EDT
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By Michael Roddy

LONDON (Reuters) - Taylor Townsend's hopes of repeating her French Open success at Wimbledon were snuffed out by Klara Koukalova but for her, the first round defeat had nothing to do with the issue that has made her a poster child for heavier-set women.

The 18-year-old Chicago native, who beat 20th-seeded Frenchwoman Alize Cornet at Roland Garros last month before losing to Carla Suarez Navarro in the third round, said she was definitely "not pleased" with her 7-5 6-2 defeat on Tuesday.

"I'm just going to take what I've learned over the past two slams, I'm going to go back home," she told reporters after losing to her Czech opponent. "I'm going to work extremely hard and get ready for the U.S. Open Series."

She disputed claims that have dogged her since the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) asked her to sit out the 2012 U.S. Open junior tournament because of her weight, that extra poundage had anything to do with it.

"I mean, as far as fitness is concerned, I have a great team and staff on my side that have pushed and helped me and helped me understand and realize that my body is a total gift," Townsend added.

Veteran coach Nick Bollettieri, who founded a famous tennis academy in Florida that helped launch the careers of many grand slam winners, said players like Townsend were helping to modify the old tennis rule that you had to be "slim and mean".

"Here's what I think - this rule still applies today but what you have to do is take a look at each student and their body type," Bollettieri told Reuters on Wednesday.


Taylor Townsend of the U.S returns a backhand to Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain during their women's singles match at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris May 30, 2014.  REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier/Files