If you follow American tennis, you probably never heard of Anna Tatishvili. That’s because last year, she wasn’t American.
But in the past six months, Georgian born, the Boca Raton resident decided to switch sides and become a United States citizen.
“I was originally from Georgia. I was born there and raised there until I was 13,” Tatishvili said. “I now live with my family in Boca Raton, Florida. Last April, we lived here so long, so it was it was a natural process.”
So today’s first round win over the No. 8 seed Karolina Pliskova, 6-2 6-1, was not just surprising because of its relative ease or that it was her first win over a Top 10 player, but the No. 121 player in the world was cheered by the crowd because she played for the home team.
“The fans cheer for me more because it says USA,” she said. “It’s always great. I qualified, so it’s more like my fourth match, but I beat a Top 10 player. It’s my first top 10 win. I can’t say I won easily, but I did confidently. I didn’t wait for her mistakes. I tried to make my own opportunities, so that’s good.”
It’s been a rough road Tatishvili. Injuries slowed her for the past three years and even this past year, first a shoulder injury kept her out and then right after that healed, she tore ligaments in her ankle working out.
However, everything seems much better now.
Partially because she now has the help of the USTA. As an American, she can use the resources of the organization, which is located in her adopted home town of Boca Raton.
“Since I changed the citizenship, [the USTA] helps with training and coaches,” she said. “My dad helps me and I have another coach who helps me since I was 17. I get help now from the USTA. So everything helps.
“Before the US Open, I get to practice with the girls like Lauren Davis, so it’s better for me.”
It wasn’t always easy. Coming here at 13, she had to learn a new language, although she always had the tennis courts to fall back on. Her supportive family, who moved here for her, were not so lucky.
“It was harder for my sister, because she came to an American high school and had to learn the language and my parents were not as young as me had a harder time,” she said.
Tatishvili now moved onto the second round and a date with fellow American Madison Brengle, who won today over China’s Zheng Saisai, 6-2 5-7 7-5.