Veröffentlicht am Schreib einen Kommentar

I think she’s one of the most – if not ‘the’ most – athletic players on tour – Coco Gauff on Alycia Parks

Get to know the hard-serving talent that will take on Gauff in the third round at the Australian Open

By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Wednesday January 17, 2024

Alycia Parks sports a golden arm that can generate jaw-dropping power from the service stripe. She used that world-class serve to claim her maiden title in Lyon in 2023, defeating Caroline Garcia in the final, and reached a career-high ranking of No.40 in the world at one point last year.

Now ranked 82, Parks used that power game to earn her biggest win by ranking at a Slam on Day 4, taking out Leylah Fernandez, 7-5, 6-4.

Ahead of her third-round clash with Coco Gauff at the Australian Open, Parks is thought of as a raw talent with significant upside. Here are five things to know about the American before her moment in the spotlight.

1. She struck the fastest serve in US Open women’s singles history

That happened in 2021, when Parks slammed a 129 MPH serve on her US Open main draw debut, tying herself with Venus Williams for the fastest US Open serve on record. As of this week, Parks has tripled her haul of Grand Slam main draw victories, improving her career record at the majors to 3-4.

2. She’s got a new coach

Parks was coached by her father during her formative years, and didn’t play much on the junior circuit. She explained the reasoning behind that in her press conference on Day 4 in Melbourne.

“My dad took me out of the juniors only because I was growing so fast, and he didn’t want me to get injured,” she said. “He wanted me to develop. I always wanted to go pro, and that was the goal ever since I picked up the racquet. So I think it panned out well, and I wouldn’t take any different route.”

Parks started working with Aussie coach Mark Hlawaty just a few days before the Australian Open. Since then she has won two matches to reach the third round at a major for the first time. Not bad at all.

“Mark has been working with me this week,” she said. “It’s kind of new. Well, he’s helping me out for Australian Open and hopefully in the future. I think we’re a good partnership, and we look forward to working together in the future.

“He flew in I think Friday. Thursday night or Friday. Then we had one day to prep. Then, I don’t know, we’re in the third round, so I think we’re doing pretty good together, yeah.”

3. She’s already defeated Gauff – in MIXED

At last year’s US Open, Parks and Denis Kudla defeated Gauff and Jack Sock in mixed doubles in straight sets. Parks has been a good doubles player in general, owns two titles on tour and is currently ranked 31 in the discipline.

4. She watches Serena for inspiration

Parks says that she loves watching Serena’s matches to this day, and even watched one earlier this week. What does she get from watching the GOAT? Tranquility.

“I would say definitely her calmness when she’s in certain situations,” Parks told reporters on Wednesday in Melbourne. “When things are going too fast, she’ll actually slow down and rethink her serve. That’s definitely one of her weapons.

“Just the way she carried herself on the court, she’s very focused. She doesn’t, like, rush. I tend to rush a little bit and then usually that’s when I start to kind of snowball. So I have to slow it down and take it point by point.”

5. Gauff says it’s just a matter of time before Parks breaks out on tour

Speaking of the matchup, Gauff had a lot of praise for the 23-year-old.

“I have known her for a long time, since I was, like, maybe like 9 years old,” Gauff said. “Used to practice with her and her sister. We both lived in Delray Beach, in that area. I know her very well. I always refer her — obviously not for the next match.

“She has a big game, big serve, big shots, very athletic. I think she’s one of the most – if not “the” most – athletic players on tour. Like me, her, Sloane, and Iga are probably up there and Sakkari. And there is more I’m probably missing. Those would be, like, my top 5. She’s like up there. “It’s going to be a tough match. I don’t expect it to be easy. I’ve never played her actually since that age other than the mixed doubles we had at US Open, but I’ve never played her in practice or anything. We’re both going in, you know, not blind because we obviously watched each other, but never hit or anything.

“It’s going to be a tough match. She’s a great player, and I always knew she was going to do well on tour. It was just a matter of when it was all going to align. I think now it’s starting to align.”

Schreibe einen Kommentar

Deine E-Mail-Adresse wird nicht veröffentlicht. Erforderliche Felder sind mit * markiert