feature: chicago teen tennis champion taylor townsend faced body-shaming

June 2, 2014

Chicago teen Taylor Townsend made a lot of noise with her performance at the French Open but WTF is up with the body-shaming she’s been subjected to? The New York Times reports: “at the United States Open junior tournament [in 2012], the United States Tennis Association wanted to keep her out of the tournament because it believed her physical conditioning was lacking, even though she was the top-ranked junior girl in the world. She entered the tournament anyway and reached the quarterfinals. Reports of the weight-based dispute quickly drew the ire of many.
In the tumultuous 20 months that followed, Townsend parted with her U.S.T.A. coaches and began working with Zina Garrison, a former Wimbledon finalist, and Kamau Murray, a tennis coach she has known since she was 6.

“I think she couldn’t have asked for a better script,” Garrison said of the controversy. “It’s made her tougher. She’s very good now at taking that negative and turning it into a positive. You can’t help but grow up in that situation.”

Townsend said that the experience helped her to grow, especially her interaction on social media with strangers who identified with her ordeal.

“It made me stronger as a person, it made me stronger as a tennis player, and it made me stronger in the sense of knowing that what I went through helped other people,” Townsend said.”
Full piece here.