Shine My Crown Read by Alexa
Taylor Townsend is a name most don’t recognize.
Taylor, an African American tennis player, was once a rising star. In the summer of 2012, she was 16 and the No 1. ranked junior tennis player in the world. At that time, the dominant Black women were Venus and Serena Williams.
But, as she reminded us all in her recent story, Taylor Townsend was there too.
She didn’t have the appearance or background of the traditional tennis star. Taylor was from the South Side of Chicago. She wasn’t white, didn’t hail from a rich family, and didn’t have the traditional tennis body. Townsend wasn’t the traditional tennis kid, yet she was still ranked number 1.
She was a youth who rose to be a tennis star. One who had her dreams snatched away because of her body.
The “Fat” Black Body
At 16, Townsend received a call from the USTA notifying her that she would spend 8-weeks in Florida for “fitness training.” Apparently, some within the tennis world felt Townsend’s body was “too much.” Despite consistently winning in her body, her frame did not conform to the standards set by the tennis world.
She overcame the other characteristics traditionally seen in tennis, but now her body became an issue. No matter how well she played, tennis purists wanted her to genuflect to traditional body norms.