HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Harrisburg native Jen Brady continues to make the run of a lifetime at the U.S. Open in New York, beating Angelique Kerber in straight sets to advance to the quarterfinal round.
Brady was born in Harrisburg and left the area around the age of ten. She already loved the game by the time she left and learned the game here in the Midstate.
Her father, as well as local trainers, built the foundation. Frank Petre, a longtime local who recently moved to South Carolina, remembers meeting Brady.
“She was probably seven or eight years old [when I met her],” Petre said. “I found her on an outdoor court…[around] the Cumberland Valley School District.”
He met her on the courts and, it may not come as a surprise, but she wasn’t your average youth tennis player.
“She just loved to hit a tennis ball,” he explained. “She was very rhythmic, didn’t mishit a ball. She was very consistent in her contact with the ball.”
After Brady and her family moved to Florida, the contact faded. Petre continued to follow her career through UCLA and eventually to the pro tour.
“I don’t think I have too much to do with her being at the US Open,” he chuckled.
He’s enjoying watching Brady break out in 2020. She won her first WTA title in mid-August in Lexington, Kentucky. The win bumped her WTA ranking up to 40. Her year started with a win over the world’s top-ranked player, Ashleigh Barty, back in January.
While he may not be teaching her along the way, he’s happy he made a contribution to her career.
“I think we gave her some good fundamentals, created an interest in tennis, we gave her challenges,” Petre said. “She always accepted them and worked hard.”
Now, he’s hoping to see one of the world’s hottest players finish the job in her home country.
“I’m not clairvoyant or anything like that, but I think she can win the US Open.”