RISING tennis star Sachia Vickery arrived in Guyana last evening for a five-day stay – her first visit to the place she calls ‘home’, for the first time since December 2015.
“Even though I wasn’t born in Guyana, I still consider myself Guyanese. I embrace the whole culture and I always love going back, so I do consider myself Guyanese,” said the 22-year-old who was born to Guyanese parents Paula Liverpool and Rawle Vickery, both of whom are from Linden.
Today, Vickery is expected to pay a courtesy call on Minister of Social Cohesion, George Norton, and meet with president Juman-Yassin and other executives of the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) after signalling her intentions to represent Guyana at the Olympics.
“Of course, I’m open to representing Guyana at the Olympics. It’s my home country and that would be something that’s a dream of mine in the future,” Vickery said, speaking exclusively to Chronicle Sport last Thursday. Vickery is also expected to make some contribution to the Guyana Lawn Tennis Association (GLTA).
Vickery is still relishing her well-deserved climb in the latest World Rankings and is on the verge of breaking the WTA’s Top 100 for the first time after she had the best week of her career in Auckland, New Zealand, where she not only reached the first WTA semi-final of her career, but also set a brand new career-high of No. 106 in the world.
Before this year, Vickery’s best showings at the WTA level were four quarterfinals, one per year in the last four years – Stanford in 2014, Nottingham in 2015, Bogota in 2016 and Quebec City in 2017.
But in the very first week of the 2018 season, the 22-year-old Hollywood, Florida native surpassed all of those at the International-level ASB Classic, not dropping a set through three rounds of qualifying and another three rounds in the main draw – including upsets over No. 5 seed Lauren Davis and No. 4 seed Agnieszka Radwanska. She’d fallen to No. 1 seed Caroline Wozniacki in the semi-finals 6-4, 6-4.
Vickery’s win over the No.28-ranked Radwanska was the best victory of her career. Her previous-best win in terms of ranking came against No.30-ranked Zhang Shuai at Stanford back in 2014.
The run pushed Vickery from No.122 to No.106 on the new rankings, leapfrogging her previous career-high of No.108 in the world, which she had originally set the week of July 20, 2015.
Looking ahead, Vickery told Chronicle Sport, “I just want to keep improving my game, improving my strengths on the court and just becoming a better player so I can reach my goal, to be in the top 50. My goals for 2018 are to break into the top 100 and to be the main draw at the grand slams.”
Vickery is on the verge of becoming the 15th American woman in the Top 100 – the 14 that are currently in the Elite are led by Top 10 players Venus Williams (ranked No.5) and CoCo Vandeweghe (ranked No.9).