Although American player Rasheeda McAdoo lost her first round match in the US Open junior event, it was a monumental step towards adding on to her family’s athletic legacy.
Her father, Bob McAdoo, enjoyed a 14-year NBA career that included accolades such as Rookie of the Year in 1972 and MVP in 1975, both of which came while playing for the Buffalo Braves. But these days, it’s his daughter who is taking the spotlight on a different kind of court as she looks to forge her own path. McAdoo entered the qualifying draw of the girl’s singles event as a wildcard and came through two rounds of qualifying to advance into the main draw. Although she had her chances in the second set, she ended up falling in a tough 6-4, 6-4 loss to Ching-Wen Hsu of Chinese Taipei. However, she’s also competing in the doubles draw and plays her first round match on Tuesday.
“I felt a little overwhelmed at first, but started to get used to the atmosphere as the match went on,” said McAdoo. “I wish I played a little bit better, but it was a little nervewracking for my first time out there.”
McAdoo was introduced to the sport at a young age by her father, who is a recreational player himself. After noticing his daughter’s natural athletic talent, he became more involved with her tennis and the family moved around Florida in the pursuit of ideal training facilities. These days, she is training with former ATP Tour Martin Blackman in Boca Raton, FL, but also utilizes her father’s athletic background when talking about how to prepare for a match or life as an athlete.
The 17-year-old has also been getting her feet wet on the ITF Junior Circuit, competing in seven tournaments so far this year to reach her current ranking of No. 160. Although she has college aspirations in mind for after high school, she intends on continuing to build up her tennis while competing in major events along the way.
“By this time next year, I want to be in the top 50 for juniors and playing all of the junior Grand Slams,” said McAdoo. “And even though I’m planning on going to college, I really do want to play pro someday”
McAdoo admits there is a lot of work to be done in order to achieve that goal. While she cites her forehand as her best shot, she says that she spends time each day trying to improve upon her serve. In addition, she’s also working hard on the mental aspects of her game.
“My dad is laid-back, but I definitely inherited the feisty Italian side from my mom out there,” said McAdoo with a laugh. “I’m trying to control that.”
McAdoo admitted that she fields a lot of questions about her father from naturally curious fans, but said she wants to acknowledge his career while beginning to create her own.
“It doesn’t bother me when people ask about him a lot,” said McAdoo. “I’m proud to be his daughter and I want him to be proud of me. I just want to step out of his shadow and have my own identity and I think I’m doing that now.”