NEW YORK (Reuters) - Qualifier Julie Coin of France could scarcely believe what she had achieved at the U.S. Open on Thursday after ousting top-seeded world number one Ana Ivanovic in the second round.
“I’m just enjoying the moment,” said the 25-year-old Coin, who had never played a match on the WTA Tour or at a grand slam before this week.
“I don’t realise yet that I beat the number one in the world. I don’t realise that I played at the big court. I don’t know how I’m going sleep tonight,” Coin said after her shocking 6-3 4-6 6-3 victory over the Serbian.
“I don’t know when I will realise everything. Maybe at the end the tournament when I’m going to be done with it.”
The 188th-ranked Coin, who honed her tennis skills while earning a mathematics degree at Clemson University in South Carolina, defied the odds by using a powerful forehand and a sizzling serve against the erratic Ivanovic.
“She made a lot of errors from both sides,” said Coin, who usually toils on the ITF satellite tour. “So I got a lot of free points.”
Coin came up the hard way, failing in numerous tries to qualify for grand slams and regular WTA Tour events. In the run-up to the U.S. Open, she even contemplated giving up her tennis dreams.
“At one point I was thinking like to maybe stop at the end of this year,” she said. “In Wimbledon, in quallies my match was just terrible. It was more like nerves. It was awful.”
Coin said life on the ITF circuit was difficult.
“The ITF, it’s really hard,” said Coin, who comes from Amiens, France, about 100 km north of Paris.
“You have to do everything. You have to call for your hotel and you go in some places not really nice sometimes.
“The level is pretty hard too because everyone has to go through the ITF before going on the tour. So it’s not easy to go out and get in the top 100 and be able to play WTA.”
Coin said her boyfriend talked her into leaving France for U.S. college in South Carolina, and she gave her parents credit for encouraging her career.
“They just told me follow your dream,” she said about her parents, who both competed in team handball.
Coin said her unexpected triumph at Flushing Meadows would give her confidence to continue her patient quest in tennis.
“Well, I’ve always been really slow,” said Coin, who in 2005 rose to number two in U.S. college rankings at Clemson.
“Like when I was younger, to beat a girl just one ranking higher than I was, it took me like six months every time because I was like, ‘She’s better ranked than me so she’s better.’
“So I’m taking things slowly I guess. I’m a slow learner or something.”
Editing by Pritha Sarkar