08 Jun 2017

Ostapenko's rapid rise to the top


News Article

Jelena Ostapenko (LAT)

It was a fortnight she, and thousands of others, will never forget - and at the end of it all, Jelena Ostapenko is the 2017 Roland Garros champion.

Ostapenko overcame the stubborn challenge of the world No. 3 Simona Halep to triumph 46 64 63 in just under two hours to claim her first Grand Slam title. It was her first Tour-level title and makes her the first unseeded player to lift the trophy in Paris.

It has been quite a rise to stardom for the young Latvian, who turned 20 on the day she defeated Timea Bacsinszky in the semifinals. Eight years ago she was competing in the 14 & Under Development Championships, and she went on to become Junior Wimbledon champion in 2014.

Ostapenko is the first Latvian player to win a Grand Slam crown. Throughout her young career, she has received considerable support from the Grand Slam® Development Fund (GSDF) as a member of several junior touring teams and as a recipient of GSDF travel grants. 

The Grand Slam Development Fund was originally established in 1986 to encourage and increase competitive opportunities in developing tennis regions. With annual contributions from the four Grand Slam tournaments, the Fund has become an effective means to develop competitive tennis worldwide. The Fund has contributed over $45 million to tennis development since its inception, with over $3.1 million available for distribution in 2017.

The Fund is designed to encourage the establishment of both junior and professional circuits, and to assist players directly, through touring teams or travel grants, to gain international competitive experience. This has helped increase the number of nations represented in Grand Slam tournaments and other international competitions. 

Beaten Roland Garros finalist Halep was also one of the 40 players competing in the main draws of the men's or women's singles to have received support from the Fund.

Here's a quick look at Ostapenko's career so far:

2009  

- Competes in the 14 & Under Development Championships

2010

- Selected for European 14 & Under ITF/GSDF Team to Europe

- Enters first ITF Junior Circuit event in Latvia and wins singles title at age 13

- Competes in the 14 & Under Development Championships

2011

- Selected for European 16 & Under ITF/GSDF Team to Europe

- Awarded a GSDF travel grant to play ITF Junior events in Europe

2012

- Awarded a GSDF travel grant to play ITF Junior events in Australia, reaches quarterfinals in the Australian Open girls’ doubles event

- Selected for International 18 & Under ITF/GSDF Team to Europe, wins Grade 1 event in Belgium

- Awarded a GSDF travel grant to play ITF Junior events in North America

- Wins ITF Pro Circuit singles and doubles event in Sweden

2013  

- Makes her Fed Cup by BNP Paribas debut for Latvia

2014

- Awarded a GSDF travel grant to play ITF Junior events in Europe and an ITF Pro Circuit event in Sweden, reaches the semifinals in the women’s event

- Awarded a GSDF travel grant to play ITF Junior events in Europe, including junior Wimbledon

- Wins Wimbledon girls’ singles title

- Wins girls’ doubles bronze medal at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing

- Reaches No. 2 in the ITF Junior Rankings (8 September)

- Makes WTA Tour main draw debut in Tashkent, advances to the second round

2015

- In Fed Cup by BNP Paribas, wins her singles and doubles matches in relegation play-off tie against Austria to ensure Latvia remains in Europe/Africa Zone Group I

- Competes in the inaugural ITF Junior Masters in Chengdu, China

2016

- Reaches first WTA Premier 5 final at Doha

- Makes the semifinals of the mixed doubles event at Wimbledon

- Plays at Rio 2016 Olympic Tennis Event representing Latvia

2017

- Wins her first Tour-level title at Roland Garros, becoming the first Latvian player to win a Grand Slam



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