"My dad didn't want me to play" - Jessica Pegula recalls when her billionaire dad wanted her to skip Wimbledon following mom's cardiac arrest

American tennis star Jessica Pegula shone during the early stages of last year's Wimbledon - but her billionaire father urged her to skip the tournament altogether. The 28-year-old - known for being the richest in her sport in the world - tasted defeat after losing 6-2, 7-6 (5) to Petra Martic of Croatia in the third round.

But Pegula almost did not enter the grass court Grand Slam event at all, owing to some off-the-field matters.

Her mother, Kim, was hospitalized in Florida ahead of the tournament, in what her family described then as "some unexpected health issues". That was shortly after Jessica returned from the French Open, where she reached the quarter-finals in singles plus the final in doubles, alongside fellow American Coco Gauff.

With Wimbledon right around the corner, Pegula had to decide whether to travel to London and play at the All England Club or to stay at home.

That decision was enhanced after her dad, Terry - currently the 434th richest person in the world - wanted her to skip the third Slam of the year entirely.

"I had already decided I was missing most of the grass season, but I still wanted to play Wimbledon if I knew my mom was O.K," revealed Pegula. "My dad didn’t want me to play, but I knew my mom would be upset if I skipped because of her. So, if the timeline worked out, I was going to play.

"Luckily, she made small improvements, she moved out of the ICU after about a week, and into an in-patient care facility. She was aware, talking a little, but a long way from her normal self.

"After a long two weeks, she was in a good set-up to start her recovery which we knew would take a very, very long time."

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WTA Wimbledon Jessica Pegula

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