Taylor Townsend is the No. 1 ranked junior women's tennis player in the world but is reportedly at odds with the United States Tennis Association over her weight. The 16-year-old won the 2012 junior Australian Open singles tournament but was advised not to come to New York for the U.S. Open junior tournament, as was first reported by Tom Perrotta in the Wall Street Journal.
With her mother, Sheila, paying her expenses, per The New York Times, Townsend reached the quarterfinals but lost to Anett Konktaveit of Estonia, 6-4, 6-4. She did, however, win her third junior Grand Slam doubles title of the year with teammate Gabrielle Andrews.
"Pretty much all the other federations, if they had a No. 1 junior in the world, they would kind of break their backs to bring them to whatever they needed to go to," Townsend commented to USA Today. "I'm not going to sit here and say I'm the fastest person or the most agile, because I'm not."
Patrick McEnroe, the manager of the USTA player development program, was quoted in the WSJ report, saying that the "concern is her long-term health" and the goal is to have her "competing for major titles when it's time." Tennis.com reported that the USTA recommended Townsend stay home after she was diagnosed with low iron.
"I didn't get any definite answer on why they didn't want me to play they just told me that they felt I should focus on my fitness," Townsend said on "Good Morning America" on Saturday morning.
Courtney Nguyen of Sports Illustrated criticizes the handling of the situation, noting that "the USTA has taken a paternalistic tack" and adding that the decisions are emblematic of "the arrogance of institution built on the belief that there is a tried-and-true formula to build a champion."
After the initial report by Perrotta, McEnroe clarified the stance of the USTA, telling ABC News that Townsend was never banned from the U.S. Open and that the association always planned on reimbursing her expenses.
"I think it will pass," Townsend told ABC about the controversy. "Because I think we all have a common goal here, that I want to do well."
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