It’s a classic underdog story.
Before arriving at this year’s Australian Open, American tennis player Danielle Collins had never won a single match in a Grand Slam main draw in five attempts. Today, she will play in the semifinal of the Melbourne event, taking on sixth-ranked Petra Kvitová of the Czech Republic.
The 25-year-old’s stunning run in Australia has turned the tennis world on its head, particularly considering her unusual path to success. She eschewed turning pro when she was younger in favor of heading to college to earn a degree and arming herself with a backup plan in case tennis didn’t work out. After transferring from the University of Florida her freshman year, Collins was a star player at the University of Virginia, nabbing two N.C.A.A. women’s singles titles and finishing as the top-ranked player in the country when she graduated in 2016.
Danielle Collins in action at the 2019 Australian Open.
CREDIT: James Gourley/Shutterstock
Collins cites her college experience as the driving force behind her Australian Open success. “I think not being a superstar at a young age certainly humbled me and made me work harder for things,” she told ESPN this week. “I was talented and athletic, but maybe not to the