The sports world was left in shock and disbelief as news broke that American tennis star Jessica Pegula had been featured in leading Forbes 30 Under 30 list, causing fans to ask “Why Jessica? Why not Sabalenka?”
Pegula, 27, has had an impressive career on the court, reaching a career-high ranking of World No. 23 and claiming her first WTA title at the Citi Open in 2019. However, she has often been overshadowed by her contemporaries, such as Aryna Sabalenka, a rising star in the tennis world.
The announcement of Pegula’s inclusion in the prestigious Forbes list has sparked outrage among fans, who believe that Sabalenka’s achievements and impact on the sport should have earned her the recognition instead.
One fan, who wished to remain anonymous, expressed their disappointment, stating, “I can’t believe they chose Jessica over Sabalenka. Sabalenka has been dominating the tennis world and her rise to the top has been nothing short of impressive. It’s a shame that she’s being overlooked in favor of someone less deserving.”
Others took to social media to voice their frustration, with the hashtag #JusticeforSabalenka trending on Twitter as fans rallied behind the Belarusian tennis sensation.
In response to the backlash, Forbes released a statement defending their decision to feature Pegula in the esteemed list, highlighting her impact both on and off the court. The publication praised Pegula for using her platform to promote women’s sports and for her philanthropic efforts, including her work with the United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign, which aims to combat malaria in Africa.
Despite the controversy, Pegula has remained gracious in her acceptance of the honor, expressing her gratitude for the recognition and the opportunity to continue making a positive impact through her career.
As the debate rages on, it’s clear that the decision to feature Pegula in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list has ignited a passionate discussion within the sports community. Whether or not Sabalenka’s absence from the list will be rectified in the future remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain – the impact of these athletes on their respective sports can’t be denied.