It’s too early to tell whether they’ll be the next Venus and Serena Williams, but two young racket-swinging sisters from Boca Raton, Fla., are already taking the tennis world by storm.
Fifteen-year-old "Tornado" Alicia Black and 12-year-old Hurricane Tyra Black have unconventional names — Hurricane’s is her legal name; Tornado’s isn’t — and you better get used to them, because the sisters are climbing up the junior tennis ranks.
“They wanted us to be tennis stars so they picked storm names,” Tornado told the New York Post of her parents, Sylvester and Gayal. “I used to hate it because a lot of kids made fun of me, but now I’m getting used to it. I like it now.”
On Wednesday, "Tornado," a wild-card qualifier, upset fourth-seeded Barbora Krejcikova 7-5, 7-5 in the second round of the Junior Girls tournament at the U.S. Open, setting up a third-round matchup with Jasmine Paolini of Italy.
Her coach, Lawrence Carpio, says she has the potential to be a top-five player and a Grand Slam winner, but "Tornado" isn’t looking that far ahead.
“I’m taking it one step at a time, but hopefully I can play at the big courts at the U.S. Open one day,” she told the Post.
Hurricane, however, has even higher expectations as the top-ranked 12-and-under player in the country, according to the Post. But neither of the sisters especially love the comparisons to Venus and Serena — or Sloane Stephens or Madison Keys or Taylor Townsend — that usually come with being up-and-coming black tennis stars.
“I used to hate it, still not liking it now, but I’m getting used to it,” Tornado told the Post. “I just want to be myself and do my own thing and not follow other people’s steps.
“Now some people are like, ‘Oh, are you going to be the next Sloane?’”
It may get annoying, but if you’re a hopeful women’s tennis star, there are certainly worse problems to have than being compared to the best in the world. And with names like Tornado and Hurricane, something tells me they’ll be making their own names soon enough.
Now, for some links:
• The Costa Rican soccer team and its fans are getting some retribution on the U.S. team over the "snow game" earlier this year.