(CBS Local)– Caty McNally is a name to watch at this year’s US Open.
The 17-year-old earned a wildcard spot in the main draw and is ranked inside the top 150 players in the world. This is a significant step for McNally after recently turning pro, but the Ohio native is trying to treat the US Open as just another tournament.
“I got the wild card for next week and I’m just going to try to treat it like any other tournament,” said McNally in an interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “I don’t want everything to get to my head. It’ll be the same preparation like any other tournament I play, even though it’s New York and the atmosphere is crazy. I just want to worry about my tennis and focus on that.”
Coco Gauff also earned a wild card spot and that is someone who McNally is very familiar with. The two players have competed against each other for years on the junior circuit and have also played doubles together. McNally was incredibly proud of Gauff’s run into the fourth round at Wimbledon.
“Everyone is super happy for each other and it kind of fuels the fire that you can do the exact same thing,” said McNally. “That was amazing. I was really impressed with how she handled herself going out on Centre Court. I’d be pretty nervous I think. I’m sure she was too and she handled the moment amazingly. I’m super proud of her and I think she’s an awesome girl on and off the court. We get along super well. It shows me I can do the same thing, it’s just a matter of time.”
While McNally has a lot to look forward to in her tennis career, she’s also enjoying the moment. She recently had the opportunity to hit with Venus Williams and looks at both Venus and Serena Williams as inspirations for the type of career she wants to have.
“She’s [Serena] an inspiration to everyone. One thing I admire most is coming back after having a baby. That’s absolutely ridiculous and insane and I respect her a lot for that because she knew she wasn’t ready and she knew she wanted more. She’s still such a good player and she can do so much damage on the tour. She has so much fight and passion in her. I hit with Venus last week in Cincinnati and that was amazing. She was really chill and a super nice woman.”
The US Open starts up August 26 in Queens.