By Janelle Griffith
Seventeen-year-old Amanda Anisimova stunned at the French Open semifinals on Thursday, defeating defending champion Simona Halep.
She made history with the achievement: Anisimova is the first player born in the 2000s to reach a Grand Slam semifinal. Even she seemed surprised by her win.
“I can’t believe it,” Anisimova said on court after the win. “I’ve been working so hard, but I didn’t think it would pay off like this. This is honestly more than anything I could ask for.”
Here are a few other facts about Anisimova and her achievements:
She is the daughter of Konstanin and Olga Anisimova, Russian immigrants who moved to the United States in 1998, with their older daughter, Maria, who was 10 at the time.
She was born in Freehold Township, New Jersey, on Aug. 31, 2001.
She speaks Russian and English.
The family later moved to Florida, where many professional tennis players live and train. Anisimova now lives in Aventura, Florida.
Anisimova has said she picked up her first tennis ball and developed an interest in the sport thanks to her older sister, Maria.
“My sister ended up playing for UPenn at college. So when I was little, she was playing tennis,” Anisimova told the Women’s Tennis Association. “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.”
Anisimova made her French Open debut two years ago, earning a wild-card spot at 15.
Although she has Russian roots, she told The New York Times in 2017 that she has never visited her parents’ home country or considered representing it on the court.
“I never considered representing Russia,” Anisimova said. “I do plan on going, though. I really want to visit and see what it’s like and see the culture more.”
She is the youngest woman to reach the French Open semifinals since Nicole Vaidisova, who was also 17 at the time, in 2006.
She won her first Tour title this year in Bogota, becoming the youngest American to win a title since Serena Williams won Indian Wells in 1999, according to Reuters.
At 17 years and 10 months old, Anisimova is also the youngest American to reach a Grand Slam semifinal since Venus Williams did so when she was 17 years and two months at the 1997 U.S. Open.
Should she tire of tennis, Anisimova has said she would like to become a surgeon.
“If I didn’t play tennis, I’d want to be a surgeon,” she said. “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.”