Teenage sensation Amanda Anisimova has become the first tennis player – man or woman – born in the 2000s to reach the semis of a grand slam after pulling off a shocking 6-2, 6-4 upset of defending champion Simona Halep in the French Open quarter-finals on Thursday.
‘This is honestly more than I could ever have asked for,’ the 17-year old Anisimova said afterwards. ‘That was one of the best matches I have ever played.’
Although her professional ascent may seem sudden, the New Jersey native has been preparing for this moment since picking up the game at age two when she first noticed older sister Maria playing tennis.
Teenage sensation Amanda Anisimova has become the first tennis player – man or woman – born in the 2000s to reach the semis of a grand slam after pulling off a shocking 6-2, 6-4 upset of defending champion Simona Halep in the French Open quarter-finals on Thursday. If she can win at Roland Garros, Anisimova will become the first American not named Serena Williams to win the French Open since Jennifer Capriati in 2001. Anisimova is already the youngest semi-finalist in Paris since Nicole Vaidisova in 2006 and she has yet to drop a set
Amanda Animisova learned to play tennis by watching her older sister, Maria (right)
‘When I was little she was playing tennis,’ she told the WTA’s website. ‘I always saw her playing, and I wanted to do it too. That’s how I got into it and my parents got into it too.’
Those parents, Olga Anisimova and Konstantin Anisimov, did not play tennis while growing up in Russia, but they would soon become immersed in the sport after Maria picked up a racquet at age 10 when the family still lived near Moscow.
In fact, it was Maria’s desire to develop as a tennis player, as well as Olga’s family, that prompted the Anisomovs to move to New Jersey.
‘My wife had relatives who had lived a long time in the United States,’ Konstantin told The New York Times. ‘They sent us an invitation to come visit this country. We visited it, and we liked it more and more, and we start thinking and taking it seriously.’
Eventually Olga and Konstantin, who both work in finance, became so knowledgeable about tennis that they served as Amanda’s coach at various stages of her development. (She has also worked with former professional player Nick Saviano and another coach, Max Fomine)
They taught Amanda to speak Russian, although as recently as 2017 she had still never been to her parents’ home country.
AMANDA ANISIMOVA, 17, DOES HAVE A LIFE OUTSIDE TENNIS
Anisimova pictured alongside her former mixed doubles partner, Mark Sverdlov
Despite her professional success, 17-year-old tennis sensation Amanda Anisimova is a normal teenager in many respects.
Her social media account primarily feature her tennis travels, but intermittently included are single shots of her and some friends.
She does not profess to have a boyfriend, although she is frequently seen with former American junior tennis player Mark Sverdlov, with whom she played mixed doubles as 10-years-old.
Not only does she have a life outside of tennis, but Anisimova hopes to have a very different career some day.
Although both of her parents and her older sister Maria work in the financial world, Amanda enjoys science and chemistry.
‘I’ve always been curious about it, and I think it’s pretty cool,’ she told the WTA’s website.
In fact, Anisimova wants to become a doctor, and she may not be willing to wait until she’s retired.
‘If I didn’t play tennis, I’d want to be a surgeon,’ she told The New York Times in 2017. ‘Actually what I want to do is go to online college while I’m in my pro career and then go to med school after I finish.’
Although she wasn’t born in Russia, 17-year-old Amanda Anisimova is fluent in the language
Amanda Anisimova is seen at the Piazza Cavour in Rome, where she reached the second round of the Italian Open. The 2019 season has been a breakout year for Anisimova
‘I do plan on going, though,’ she told the New York Times. ‘I really want to visit and see what it’s like and see the culture more.’
As a young child, Anisimova moved with her family to Florida, where many young American tennis players are developed. It was there that she began to pick up momentum as an amateur, earning her first win at 14.
Boasting a rapidly improving serve, Anisimova won two more amateur tournaments as a 15-year-old, and she was a member of the American team that won the 2017 Junior Fed Cup.
She soon began competing in qualifying tournaments at several major events, playing her way into the main draw at Newport Beach and Indian Wells, the latter of which saw Anisimova reach the fourth round.
Although she battled injury problems in 2018, Anisimova finished the year strong, ultimately breaking into the WTA’s top-100 rankings.
Amanda’s mother, Olga Anisimova, has a background in finance, but has also been her coach
With success came more attention, but Anisimova hasn’t been affected by the pressure. In fact, she seems to enjoy the spotlight of being on the sport’s biggest stages.
‘In tennis, you don’t have to depend on anyone,’ she told the
‘It’s not like it’s all about me, but at the end of the day, if I won or lost, I knew what I had to improve, and couldn’t rely on a team.’
Anisimova’s breakout 2019 campaign began in January, when she reached the fourth round of the Australian Open before losing to Petra Kvitova in two sets.
Anisimova’s breakout 2019 campaign began in January, when she reached the fourth round of the Australian Open before losing to Petra Kvitova in two sets
‘When I was playing in Australia, I was thinking about winning it,’ she said. ‘It seems like such a hard thing to do. I didn’t really think that I could.
‘Even getting past Petra, she just killed me in that match. In this tournament, I feel a lot more confident and I’m feeling my game a bit better than I did there.’
Two months later she won her first tournament in Bogota, Colombia, becoming the youngest American to capture a title since Serena Williams won Indian Wells in 1999 at 17.
Now Anisimova is guaranteed to crack the WTA’s top-25 regardless of how she fares over the remainder of the tournament.
If she can win at Roland Garros, Anisimova will become the first American not named Serena Williams to win the French Open since Jennifer Capriati in 2001. Anisimova is already the youngest semi-finalist in Paris since Nicole Vaidisova in 2006 and she has yet to drop a single set.
‘I don’t think it will sink in, at least not for today,’ she said about making it to the semis. ‘It’s crazy. I really can’t believe the result today. And getting the opportunity to play against Simona, that’s amazing, but how it ended is even crazier to me.’
While wearing the same outfit as Romania’s Simona Halep (right), 17-year-old Amanda Anisimova upset the defending French Open champ in two sets at Roland Garros on Thursday