CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago tennis star Taylor Townsend was defeated at Wimbledon Tuesday as her fans here watched her every swing. But despite the loss, her journey from the South Side to Grand Slam tournaments is inspiring to young tennis fans.
Young tennis enthusiasts put down their rackets long enough to tune in to the Wimbeldon championships to watch 18-year-old Townsend make her Wimbledon debut.
It's exciting for them because they belong to the same tennis club as Townsend, the XS Tennis and Education Foundation. They've been keeping tabs on what's been a big year for the South Side native, who made a splash at the French Open last month.
"She is really inspiring. Inspires you to follow your dream no matter what it is," said Lily Keiderling.
Buzz about Townsend has been growing since her No. 1 junior ranking in 2012. She got a wild-card invitation to Wimbledon, going against the 31-seed from the Czech Republic. Townsend's friends say she is a great role model for younger kids who are interested in pursuing tennis.
"They see what hard work can do. They see what dedication can do what a dream can really become," said Aaron Mabra, XS Tennis and Education Foundation.
And Townsend stays connected to the community in which she was raised, often coming back to Chicago and sharing what she's learned with up and coming tennis players.
"She tells me to stay on task and never give up," said Brooke Anderson, 9.
Anderson says Townsend has been like a big sister to her, and says Townsend is always a winner, on and off the court.
"Even if she loses I still believe in her," said Anderson.
Even though Taylor lost her first round match in Wimbledon, this won't be the last we see of her. She wants to be a household name like her idol, Martina Navratalova.
Taylor Townsend knocked out of Wimbledon competition
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