Canadian teenager Kayla Cross did not let the defeat in her maiden National Bank Open dampen her mood on Saturday.
The London native couldn’t get through the first round of qualifiers against WTA veteran Nuria Parrizas Diaz, losing in straight sets.
But playing in her first WTA event in front of a Canadian crowd was a memory she will not forget anytime soon.
“It was amazing just getting the news that I was going to get the wild card, put a huge smile on my face the whole week,” says Cross. “Preparing I was really excited and of course it wasn’t the result I wanted, but it was a great experience having everyone behind me in the crowd.”
Not only playing but being part of a locker room full of tennis stars like Serena Williams who she grew up watching and idolizing is something she will cherish.
Having this tournament as her first WTA event is a great steppingstone to help with the transition from playing juniors and ITF events to playing WTA tournaments.
Along with that experience having the support of Tennis Canada she receives is crucial for her development, she believes.
“I have a big team around me with Tennis Canada, so they set up the schedule and everything so it’s a smooth transition between playing some juniors playing some pros, and just building my game to playing pros,” says the Canadian teenager.
Not only does she have that support but receiving helpful tips from other Canadian tennis stars like Dennis Shapovalov, Felix Auger-Aliassime, and Leylah Annie Fernandez is not something she takes for granted.
“Take it one match at a time, one point at a time. Some people do better when they’re younger, some people do better when they’re older. So I have time and just to keep enjoying it,” Cross said of some tips she received from fellow Canadians.
As to her future after this tournament Cross believes in focusing on development rather than results.
“Goals for me … I’m just more based on my skill set and trying to just sharpen up my mental game.”