Guided by faith, Alycia Parks prepares for a great season in 2023

Alycia Parks was able to wrap up her season and stand up for the offseason in early November. However the 21-year-old Atlanta native merely could not shake the frustration of seeing her rating drop out of the High 150. So she laced up her footwear and hopped on a airplane overseas.

A month later, Parks gained the largest title of her profession eventually week’s WTA 125 on the Crรจdit Andorrร  Open to interrupt into the High 100 for the primary time.

Parks overtakes Peterson to win Andorra and break the High 100

“I set a aim earlier this 12 months to be within the High 100 by the summer time,” Parks advised WTA Insider. “It took me just a little bit longer. I gave Midland an additional push as a result of Midland was alleged to be my final match. I got here very near breaking the High 100 after which I misplaced 89 factors.”

“I used to be like, ‘No, I’ve to return up. Let me go abroad and attempt to give it that additional push.’

“I broke the High 100 the day earlier than the Australian Open primary draw closed.”

Images: High 100 breakthroughs in 2022

Parks’ High 100 debut was a major payoff for his late-season rise, which started in Ostrava. Armed with an amazing serve that excels on indoor onerous courts, her favourite floor, Parks topped the rankings as World No.144 and proceeded to attain back-to-back wins over Karolina Pliskova, beating the previous No.1 within the first set. , and scoring her first High 10 win of hers over Maria Sakkari to achieve her first WTA quarterfinal. She misplaced to eventual champion Barbora Krejcikova, however gained the doubles title with Caty McNally.

Ostrava: Parks tops Sakkari in three units for first High 10 win

Ostrava 2022

It was a wild week for Parks, who got here inside minutes of lacking her flight from Italy.

“Normally when issues begin to get powerful for me, I do know one thing good is about to occur as a result of God is testing me,” Parks mentioned.

“Once I went to Ostrava, I used to be at peace. When I’m at peace, I’ve a transparent thoughts. One thing clicked there for me. I liked the sensation of how Ostrava was enjoying, so I mentioned, I’ve to recollect this second. I took these moments and I introduced them to the opposite tournaments”.

Together with his late-season momentum, 2023 is poised to be Parks’ breakout season. He meets the heavy-serving American, who was as soon as Serena Williams’ physique double and has a backstory that sounds eerily acquainted.

I knew that I wished to be an expert tennis participant from the start.

Parks’ father, Michael, who has additionally coached her all through her profession, is a former skilled basketball participant. Parks is 17 months youthful than her sister Mikayla, and the 2 athletic sisters discovered their manner into tennis via a serendipitous second along with her mom, Erica.

“In elementary faculty, I bought all A’s and each time we bought all A’s my mother and father took us to the toy retailer. It took me an hour to select one thing. My mother was like hurry up or I’ll choose one thing for you.

“He simply seemed down and noticed two tennis rackets and three tennis balls. He knew my sister and I appreciated to play outdoors and we had a tennis court docket in our neighborhood. He took us to the tennis court docket and he was studying her guide and he or she simply heard the ball coming and going, my sister and I stored enjoying. She known as my dad and mentioned, I believe they’re fairly good at tennis.”

Parks performed each sport below the solar rising up, however it was the person nature of tennis that drew her to it. She wins or loses, she needs it on her shoulders.

“I wished to turn into an expert tennis participant on the age of seven. Once I first hit the ball, that is after I knew, okay, I wish to be an expert at this.”

He skipped the junior circuit to maximise his skilled potential.

Parks performed solely eight junior occasions and didn’t play the junior Slams, a choice designed with the long run in thoughts.

“We did not do the junior route as a result of on the time, I used to be rising via the juniors. I at all times had knee issues and my dad wished to forestall accidents. Simply prepare and put together for the professionals. That is what we did and right here I’m now .

“My sister was enjoying too, so we pushed one another. We did not construct on the competitors that was on the market as a result of we have been at all times competing towards one another. When you’ve a sister that you simply at all times wish to beat and vice versa, I believe that places you in a unique ingredient. .

“So after I went on tour and the professionals, [the level] It wasn’t actually a shock.”

He got here to bat with Serena and Venus Williams on the US Open

A pair of athletic sisters, educated by their father, who honed their expertise on the general public courts? Parks is aware of her tennis origin story sounds acquainted.

“Once I noticed king richardthere have been many scenes [that felt familiar]. We additionally did it that manner. It was so bizarre as a result of it was so related.”

As a teen, she was even employed to play Serena Williams’ physique double in a Gatorade business.

“I felt good on the US Open as a result of I used to be capable of hit each. Serena particularly, as a result of I look as much as Serena. She is the GOAT of tennis. What are you able to do apart from look as much as her? She is actually tennis.”

She’s not right here for any brochures.

“I made a remark to my mother at some point: ‘When is it going to be simple?’ She mentioned, ‘Oh, it would by no means be simple. It’s going to by no means be simpler. If you need one thing, you need to work for it.’

“In order that mentioned to me, okay, the pamphlets will not be for you. It’s a must to work for what you need.”

She is a real believer that every part occurs for a cause.

Having began the 12 months ranked 237th, Parks described his 2022 season as “Me vs. Me.” A lot of the season felt like a battle with herself to search out the mindset and elegance of play that might produce constant outcomes. However she by no means misplaced religion.

“I at all times do a hashtag, #WalkByFaith, on Instagram. For instance, final week when the USTA was chasing the complete wild card spot for the Australian Open, Caty gained the wild card, however ended up breaking the High 100 and did not want me. he was two factors behind Taylor Townsend for receiving the wild card.

“One thing advised me to come back to Europe and play the 125. I made the semifinals in Valencia [an ITF W80] after which he got here right here and gained it.

“Possibly that is why God did not let me win Valencia as a result of he in all probability mentioned, okay Alycia, you’ve ITF titles. I understand how a lot you need this, however subsequent week you are going to win your first WTA 125 title.” . one thing you have by no means achieved earlier than. You gained ITF titles, and that is good, however a WTA title is a step up.

“That is how I noticed it. So after I say stroll by religion or have just a little bit of religion, that proves it.”

She has massive objectives for 2023

“If I hold enjoying the best way I really feel proper now, I ought to undergo the attracts fairly freely. I see myself within the High 10 subsequent 12 months, which is fairly excessive, however undoubtedly doable. So I believe High 10 subsequent 12 months It is a aim for me.”

Parks counts one other 21-year-old, No. 1 Iga Swiatek, and one other American, Sloane Stephens, as gamers to encourage her.

“I like the best way Iga performs. I am fairly shut with Sloane Stephens. We at all times have conversations and he or she at all times says one thing optimistic.”

She’s trying ahead to rubbing shoulders with them on subsequent 12 months’s headlining tour.

“I hope I get an opportunity to play in the principle attracts as a result of everybody is aware of it is onerous to get via the qualifiers. I believe that is what excites me probably the most, as a result of after I’m nicely rested, that is when it is onerous to cease.

“So subsequent 12 months it is from right here.”

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