[USOpen.org] The last time Gail Brodksy played at the US Open, she couldn’t wait to get off the court. After a straight-sets loss in the opening round of qualifying for the 2012 event, the Ukraine-born American made the decision to walk away from the professional game, having lost her sense of joy in the sport.
Now, six years, a marriage and two children later, the Brooklyn-raised baseliner has returned to her hometown Slam after being granted a wild card into the qualifying tournament. She won her first qualifying match this week against Irina Bara of Romania 7-5, 6-4.
Brodsky’s professional relationship with the US Open began in 2008, when she competed in the women’s singles main draw as a 17-year-old wild card. She earned her spot by winning the 2018 USTA Girls’ 18s national title, defeating 2017 US Open champ Sloane Stephens and 2017 semifinalist CoCo Vandeweghe on her way to the trophy.
She was a main-draw wild card again in 2009 and later fell in the first round of qualifying in both 2011 and 2012.
“I wasn’t feeling the things that I should have been feeling,” Brodsky said of her mindset at the 2012 event. Despite achieving a career-high WTA ranking of No. 182 earlier in the year, she had little pride in her game. She struggled through her early years on the ITF Circuit, during which she had no sponsors and often traveled alone.
“It was emotionally, physically and financially draining,” she said.
Brodsky won the Braidy Industries $60,000 Women’s Tennis Classic at the Ashland Tennis Center in July. After dropping the first set of the championship match, she rallied for a 4-6, 6-1, 6-0 victory over Maegan Manasse. The tournament was part of the USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge, which allows American women to compete for a spot in the US Open.