Taylor Townsend reflects on French Open, gears up for Wimbledon

CHICAGO (WLS) -- After her standout performance at the French Open, Taylor Townsend is back on Chicago's South Side, the place where she grew up and calls home.

"I think out of all the places that I've been, I have the strongest support system here," she said.

At Chicago Prairie, the oldest black tennis club in the country, Townsend trains with Coach Kamau Murray.

"So when I come back here and hit at Lake Meadows on the cracked courts with the weeds growing out - I was not kidding when I said that at press conferences - you guys think I'm kidding, but you see what I'm talking about. This is where I came from," Townsend said.

But it was on the red-clay courts of Paris that Townsend gained the attention of the world, beating France's highest ranked player to become the youngest to advance to the third round in more than 10 years.

"My world had changed over the course of two days. I'm walking through Roland Garros. Nobody is asking for my autograph. I'm going about my business and whatever. Then all of a sudden, people are stopping me and asking for my autograph," Townsend said. "It was crazy... and something so new for me."

Along the way, Townsend has gained the support and guidance of tennis legend and Chicago native Billie Jean King.

"I love her so much," said Townsend. "We went to dinner with her, and I was dumbfounded. I was like, I'm at dinner with this woman who started the WTA tour. If it wasn't for her, I wouldn't be playing right now."

After being defeated in the third round of the French Open, Townsend learned she's been selected to play in Wimbledon.

"This is a dream come true. I've been dreaming about this my whole life," said Townsend.

She leaves for London Thursday. Townsend said her main focus is to continue growing and getting better.

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