Jessie Pegula inspires young athletes at tennis center she frequents while in WNY

Local News

(WIVB) – The daughter of Bills and Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula is turning heads in the tennis world, and beating some big names.

When she’s in Western New York, Jessie Pegula plays at the Miller Tennis Center in Williamsville- the same spot as the UB men’s tennis team.

Ethan Nittolo is a volunteer assistant for the UB men’s team, and he’s also a tennis pro at the center. He’s hit against Pegula quite a bit.

“She’s definitely really focused when she’s in her practices, super nice though, very polite, doesn’t take anything for granted,” Nittolo said.

Nittolo says the entire UB team is invested in her success right now, and younger players are excited too.

“It’s great inspiration for all of the junior players here,” Nittolo said. “It’s great that they’ve been able to see her on the court practicing before at times, and then they get to see her on TV succeeding, so it’s extra motivation for them to do the same.”

The owner of the center, Todd Miller, says Jessie’s success is bringing him back to the days of Jimmy Arias.

The Grand Island native wowed the tennis world in the 1980s.

“It’s been a lot of years in between, but it’s still sweet to see,” Miller said.

Miller has seen Jessie grow tremendously over the years- she’s been coming here since about 2012.

He thinks the sky is the limit for Pegula, who most recently beat Top 10 player Elina Svitolina to move onto the Australian Open quarterfinals.

“If I had to describe her in a one word form my observation, she is very determined,” Miller said.

Jessie will take on fellow American Jennifer Brady at 7 p.m. local time on Tuesday.

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