Richest tennis star Pegula hits back at commitment questions and drops NFL hint
Jessica Pegula has hit back at those who questioned her commitment to tennis because of her billionaire family. The WTA No 5 is the world’s richest tennis player as her parents Terry and Kim own the Buffalo Bills, with her father having a net worth of £5.4 million ($6.8m). But Pegula rubbished the idea that she didn’t work hard for her career and addressed whether she would follow in her parents’ footsteps by taking over their NFL and NHL teams when she eventually retired.
Pegula has cemented herself as one of the world’s best players in recent years. The 29-year-old has peaked at No 3 in singles and sat atop the rankings in doubles, with her success earning her a place in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list for sports in 2024.
Since reaching her first Major quarter-final in 2021, Pegula has made it to five more and lifted two WTA 1000 trophies. While it means that the American’s recent rise has been well documented, her family’s wealth has also been a big talking point. Her mother and father own the NFL team the Buffalo Bills and NHL side the Buffalo Sabres.
Pegula has now addressed those who have questioned whether she had the fire to succeed in her sport given her background, admitting that she couldn’t change the minds of those who don’t like her. “I think that everyone who knows sports or is an athlete, or is highly competitive or made it very far knows that you’re not really going to get there unless you work hard and are talented and are really driven to get there,” the world No 5 told Forbes.
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“It’s really difficult. So to me I think, people say that, but I think everyone who knows, knows it’s not going happen unless someone’s really a hard worker and driven. So I don’t really worry too much about it. I think most people get that.”
The four-time singles title winner knew that some still wouldn’t believe her but she still backed herself, adding: “Maybe some people that just don’t want to like me for whatever reason maybe will always say that. But I can’t really change their minds. But I’ve worked really hard and I definitely wouldn’t have gotten here if it wasn’t for that.”
Given that the Bills and the Sabres are part of her family business, there has often been speculation over whether Pegula would swap tennis for NFL and hockey when she eventually retires by taking over both teams. The 29-year-old has now hinted that she could be tempted, citing her desire to stay involved in sport.