View Full Version : Jessica Lehnhoff - Could have made it on the Tour?

Feb 14th, 2002, 09:32 PM
I was reading through Tennis Magazine and there was an article on former child prodigies that never made it big on the tour. One of those, was Jessica Lehnhoff, who I guess scored big as a junior, but chose college over the tour. Anyone ever heard of her, or seen her play? She finished the 1997 Junior year at 9, the year Cara Black dominated the junior field. From what I read, which was just a blurp, is she was a solid baseliner with excellent footspeed. Any thoughts?

Feb 15th, 2002, 12:19 AM
I remember her. I never saw her play, though, just saw her results and was hoping she would get good for the United States, because at that time I thought we really needed someone young coming up. I cheered for Jackie Trail in the juniors around the same time, too. Too bad neither of them ever cracked the top 100, but I'm sure Jackie will sometime!!.

Feb 15th, 2002, 12:39 AM
Thanks for the information. Luckily the United States appears to be sitting in good stead with newcomers Shaughnessy, Melien Tu, Lilia Osterloh, Stevenson, etc. Hopefully we can see a few new Americans rise in the rankings this year! :)

ptkten - Can you tell me a bit about Jackie? What has drawn you to this player? Type of game etc? :) I've seen a bit of her on the Challenger Circuit, but not much else, other than a few US Open's a while back I believe.

Feb 15th, 2002, 12:54 AM
She said she likes hardcourts the best but clay as well. Her game is definitely suited for fast surfaces, though, I think. She, like most Americans, is a baseliner that hits the ball hard of both sides. I would say her weaknesses are that she tends to overhit and she's not the best mover. I saw her in Philadelphia qualies one time, and from then on I really liked her. I cheered for her here on the board and then she emailed me, asking me why I cheered for her and how nice it was having support from people, and we've kept in contact, so I've continued my support.

Feb 15th, 2002, 01:00 AM
Cool! Thanks for the info! :) Best of luck to Jackie, hopefully she can crack the prized top 100! :) Go Jackie! I'll add her to my signature! :) Maybe I can get an email! :)

Rising Sun
Feb 15th, 2002, 08:04 AM
Jessica played a couple of $10K events in Florida last month with decent results.

I wouldn't be surprised if the decided to turn pro after graduating.

Feb 15th, 2002, 04:08 PM
I saw Jessica play at the NCAA tournament in Stone Mountain, Ga., last year. She's a solid all-court player, who did herself a great favor by playing collegiate tennis and getting an education. She had so-so results as a junior, and it would have been a grave mistake had she gone pro at a young age. She's somewhat small in stature, and that will make it tough for her in the pros. However, four years of college probably have matured her quite a bit, and she may be able to carve out some decent results, similarly to those of Dawn Buth. I'd be surprised if she cracked the top 100, but she may have the potential.

Jackie Trail is a great example of how NOT to let your career progress. She came out of nowhere one year to win the U.S. 18 junior title, which gave her a wildcard into the U.S. Open, where she won her first match. She promptly turned pro and has struggled ever since. She should have waited on the pros and tested herself more against junior competition.

Feb 15th, 2002, 04:14 PM
too right Jim

but Jessica has more talent than Jackie ever did.

Feb 15th, 2002, 09:29 PM
Thanks for the added input! Do you guys know of anyone else who was a strong US Junior player, only to not make it big on the tour?

It would be cool to see Jessica come back on to the tour. I do have to agree, it's good that she went to college, it has to be a good feeling to have something to fall back on. She has time if she wants, she's only 22 or so. What do you guys think of Dawn Burth? She seems to do well on the Challengers and pops up occasionally in tier events. How about Brie Rippner? I know she reached the third round at Wimbledon one year, but has been out injured. Best of luck to Jessica, and all those who are trying to make it back up

Feb 15th, 2002, 09:47 PM
Dawn Buth is the size of Meilen Tu but has no power either. She wasn't much of a junior player.

Melissa Middleton (jr top 10 98) is another one struggling around 300 mark

Ashley Harkleroad may be another that really doesn't breakthru as I can see some other US players younger than her moving ahead of her.

US have only had 3 players in last 5 years in top 10 junior ranks
Middleton and now Harkleroad.

Feb 15th, 2002, 10:52 PM
Now that I think about it...where's Holly Parkinson these days?

Feb 16th, 2002, 03:13 AM
Thanks again! :)

Gosh, I hope Melien can really rise up in the rankings, and hopefully match the promise she had as a junior. She too started a bit too early I think.

Good new for Brie Rippner, she has risen from 426 to 324 with some strong challenger results. She reached the finals in Rockford, before falling to 5th seeded Erika DeLone. (Supposidly I've talked to her on AOL, but I doubt it.

How about Sarah Taylor? I'm looking at challenger results, I see she won Fullerton Challenger, with wins over Marissa Irvin, Alison Bradshaw and took out Ansely Cargill in the finals.
Any Americans in the Juniors that could take charge? Does Ashely really have enough power to rise in the rankings? It seems her expectations are quite high, although she hasn't always beaten the top players.

How about the NCAA players? Granville, Cargill, Bradshaw?

Feb 16th, 2002, 03:53 AM
Actually I think there are loads of talent coming out of the USTA. Whitney Deason won the Junior Orange Bowl 16's event. Sunitha Rao made it to the Aussie Junior quarters.

The main problem with many of them is perhaps consistency but many of them have serious potential to make a dent on the pro tour.

Feb 16th, 2002, 03:58 AM
brunof ...... non of them are exactly "spring chickens"

all turned pro a little later.

Bradshaw is gonna find it hard to live up to her mothers past glories.

Sarah is making move in right direction
Brie is always injured sadly for her.
Holly after injuires has slipped badly

Laura Granville has to make a move this yr.
Ansley is starting to.

Sunitha Rao is another tiny girl, but she's got some oooomphh but when it comes to crunch the bigger girls have a little more oooomph.

Randy H
Feb 16th, 2002, 06:37 AM
Jessica's a good player, and I really hope she'll try and go pro after she's done with College. I admire players who care about their education, and I think this choice can be very useful long-term. You never know what's going to happen in tennis, injuries, lack of motivation, etc. so to have education to fall back on is important.

She's also a pretty good doubles player, made last year's US Open 3rd round with Whitney Laiho as a wildcard team. :)

I agree, many of the junior Americans have talent, but in pros don't cut it because they don't seem to have enough of the physical side. Ashley is a consistent hitter, but match her up with a big hitter and she just can't handle a tough 3 setter with them. I think Bethanie Mattek could be a more promising player than Ashley in the long run personally.

King Aaron
Feb 16th, 2002, 07:45 AM
i think Jessica's a great player from what i just read here.... good luck 2 her!

but i hope tht among all the juniors now... ansley cargill would make it big
she seems like a great player...


Feb 17th, 2002, 02:56 AM
Thanks for the replies. It's kinda ironic that the US doesnt have huge hitting juniors coming up in the ranks, provided we have so many big babes ranked higher up. Maybe we will have a player like Meghann Shaughnessy come up out of no where. (Somewhat) Thanks again guys! :)

Jul 23rd, 2002, 08:30 PM
Just to bump up an old subject, to shed new light on and maybe get some more discussion going.

What is Jessica's personality?

Since she began playing at the Challenger level, she has rocketed to 333 in the world, and has already won a low pocketing title.

Here are her 2002 results -

Gainsville, Florida 10K - Tiff Dabek def. Jessica Lehnhoff, 7-5, 1-6, 6-2

Allentown, Penn. 25K - Round one - Jessica Lehnhoff def. Yvonne Doyle, 3-6, 6-1, 6-1

Round 2 - Jessica Lehnhoff def. Maria Fernanda Alves, 1-6, 6-2, 6-4

Quarterfinals - Jessica Hehnhoff def. Katia Afinogenova, 7-6, 6-3

Semifinals - Lindsay Lee Waters def. Jessica Lehnhoff, 1-6, 7-6, 7-5

Dallas, Texas 10K -

Round one - Jessica Lehnhoff def. Michelle Colaninni, 6-0, 6-1
Round 2 - Jessica Lehnhoff def. Neha Uberoi, 6-4, 6-3
Quarterfinals - Jessica Lehnhoff def. Katja Kovac, 7-5, 6-2
Semifinals - Jessica Lehnhoff def. Melissa Torres, 6-4, 6-3
Finals - Jessica Lehnhoff def. Wukirasih Sawondari, 6-2, 6-1

College Park, Mary. - 25K -

Round one - Jessica Lehnhoff def. Alyssa Cohen, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4
Round 2 - Mirjana Lucic def. Jessica Lehnhoff, 1-6, 7-5, 6-0

Oyster Bay, New York - 50K -

Qual 1 - def. Bea Bielik, 6-0, 6-3
Qual 2 - def. Shenay Perry, 6-7, 6-1, 6-2
Qual 3 - def. Renata Kolbovic, 6-3, 6-3
Round 1 - def. Gabriela Lastra, 6-2, 2-6, 6-1
Round 2 - def. Ansley Cargill, 4-6, 6-2, 6-0
Quarterfinals - def. Miho Saeki, 6-4, 6-4
Semifinals - Yoon-Jeong Cho def. Jessica Lehnhoff, 7-6, 7-6

Impressive stuff from the educated young woman! It would be great to see another American come out and do some damage on the tour? Another Meghann Shaughnessy or Lisa Raymond? Gosh, I hope so! :)
Go Jessica!

Jul 23rd, 2002, 10:01 PM
Yeah...she has certainly showed some promise in her first year on tour so far. However, a lot of players have success their first couple of events and then struggle so we'll have to wait and see whether she keeps improving or steadies off. I really hope she does well because we do need some new good young Americans. However, Ashley Harkleroad also is beginning to have some success on the pro tour too. I've never seen Lehnhoff so I don't know much about her personality though

Jul 23rd, 2002, 10:27 PM
Thanks for the info again Ptkten! :)

Yeah, it will be interesting to see who will come up big for the United States when we see our wave of veterans retire eventually. (Lindsay, Monica, Jennifer, Chanda, Amy)

I guess one never knows who will come out from the shadows...

Also, I have heard of Jackie Trail, but don't know alot about her...Do you know her?

Jul 23rd, 2002, 11:56 PM
Yeah, I know Jackie somewhat...we used to correspond by email and she used to post on the board occasionaly. TBE talks to her sometimes too I believe. She's very nice and friendly.

Jul 25th, 2002, 09:02 AM
Well from the results I am seeing above, for a young American player who is playing collegiate tennis, she seem rather impressive on the challenger tour for the handful events she has competed in.

Those matches, combined with her college success, could definitely propell her to the top 100 or so if she stays consistent.

I think she is definitely one to watch out for.

Aug 8th, 2003, 11:40 PM
An updated -

Jessica recently reached the QF or Louisville, taking out Cargill in straight sets. Sadly she fell hard to Shenay Perry. I am rather sad she will not be given a WC for the Open, to defend her Q3 points.

Current Singles Rank - 316

Funny to read this rather old post. Granville made her move. I have no idea how Cargill is in the top 100. Beth Mattek continues to rise.

Our new NCAA champ, Amber Liu - should be interesting to see where she goes.

Aug 9th, 2003, 02:24 AM
I remember Jessica reaching the semis of the Orange Bowl 95' sub 16 in singles and winning the doubles with Kathy Sell :confused:

Anyone remember Stephanie Halsell? She was supposed to be the next best thing coming from the States and won the Orange Bowl 93' sub 16 days after turning 14 beating there Schnitzer, Cocheteux, Pandjerova, Basting, Casoni and Jecmenica and then vanishing before turning pro :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Aug 9th, 2003, 02:42 AM
Jessica returned to college last fall to complete her education, and really did not hit the tour again until the spring. She's had a couple of injuries since then, but seems to be back on the right track. We'll see how far she can climb. She is a superb doubles player and I would expect her doubles ranking to always outpace her singles ranking. She's certainly a top 100 doubles player on the tour.

Sep 15th, 2003, 10:02 PM
Here is an article I found. Thought I would share it with you.

Katia Afinogenova and Jessica Lehnhoff come from two different worlds -- and that has nothing to do with the fact that one was born in Russia, the other in Guatemala.

In the long run, the odds of making a name for herself in major tennis circles are undoubtedly better for Afinogenova, but it was Lehnhoff who prevailed in what for a long time was a test of wills and blistering forehands.

In the second set, after failing to break Afinogenova leading 40- love in the fourth game, Lehnhoff broke the Russian teen-ager on a love game to take a 4-3 lead. That seemed to break Afinogenova's spirit for the final time.

Full Text (804 words)
Copyright Morning Call Jun 15, 2002

Katia Afinogenova and Jessica Lehnhoff come from two different worlds -- and that has nothing to do with the fact that one was born in Russia, the other in Guatemala.

Both eventually found their way to the United States, but for different reasons. And those two worlds met Friday in the quarterfinals of the MECCO Commercial Lending Cup tournament at Westend Racquet Club.

Afinogenova, a precocious and fearless 15-year-old who is on a mission. Lehnhoff, a tenacious 22-year-old who is having the time of her life.

Afinogenova's parents came from Moscow to provide their daughter with a better opportunity to chase the pot of gold at the end of the professional tennis rainbow.

"My family would never sacrifice anything for tennis," Lehnhoff said Friday, explaining that it a job change for her father precipitated the move from Guatemala City.

Afinogenova became a tennis pro at age 14 and has not even had a chance to think about a college education. The direction of her life is obvious.

Lehnhoff chose to spend four years at the University of Florida and is now playing in her first pro tournament. She wouldn't have it any other way -- "I had a great time in college," she said.

Afinogenova has the right sports breeding -- a mother who was a seven-time 800-meter champion of the Soviet Union and a brother who is in his third season as a right winger with the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League.

Lehnhoff's oldest brother had talent but realized he would not survive the cutthroat world of men's pro tennis. Both of her other brothers probably will become doctors.

"I get no pressure from my mom [Anne-Marie] at all," Lehnhoff said. "If I lose, she asks, "When are you coming home?' That's all she cares about. She's happy if I'm doing well, but if I'm not, so what, it's just a game. I'm just out here trying to have fun."

In the long run, the odds of making a name for herself in major tennis circles are undoubtedly better for Afinogenova, but it was Lehnhoff who prevailed in what for a long time was a test of wills and blistering forehands.

"She's a good player, but on the bigger points, I think I planned them better," Lehnhoff said after emerging with a 7-6 (4), 6-3 victory that put her into today's semifinals against Lindsay Lee- Waters. "But she'll learn once she gets a little bit more experience."

The self-assessment couldn't have been more accurate. Lehnhoff fought off a couple of break points at 4-4 in the first set, then rallied from behind in a tiebreak to take the set.

In the second set, after failing to break Afinogenova leading 40- love in the fourth game, Lehnhoff broke the Russian teen-ager on a love game to take a 4-3 lead. That seemed to break Afinogenova's spirit for the final time.

Lehnhoff is battle-tested. Before coming to the Lehigh Valley this week, her last competition was the NCAA Tennis Championships.

There she played 18 matches in 10 days -- with no days off -- finishing second in singles, second in the team competition and losing in the semifinals in doubles.

"I must have slept for like a week after that," she said. "Then I did some light training before coming out here."

Lehnhoff will graduate in December with a degree in Communications-Production, so she knows she has a career to fall back on if the tennis experience doesn't pan out.

But for now, with the help of Gator coaches Roland Thornqvist and Dave Balogh; the USTA, which put her on its traveling team for the summer and some believing friends, she is trying to make a go of the USTA Pro Circuit on her own.

"I just started, so I'm having a great time," she said. "I feel no pressure. There's pressure to play how I know I can play, but no pressure to win.

"It's not the end of the world if I lose. In college, I had a lot of pressure, because I was ranked No. 1 a lot of the year. Everyone asks how I handled that. I had to just focus on other things."

Lehnhoff had 250 match victories in singles and doubles at Florida. Last year, after she and teammate Whitney Laiho won the NCAA doubles title, they also played in the main draw of the U.S. Open. They won two matches before losing to Martina Navratilova and Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario.

Lehnhoff is much more than a tennis player. In addition to being named the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Senior Player of the Year, she also received the Gladys Helman Award as the country's top senior based on athletic achievement, academic standing, sportsmanship and community service.

A seven-time tennis All-American, she is the quintessential All- American girl, too.


Sep 15th, 2003, 10:10 PM
Ashley Harkleroad may be another that really doesn't breakthru as I can see some other US players younger than her moving ahead of her.

Eggy you are not a good fortuneteller ;)

Sep 15th, 2003, 10:33 PM
Yeah, it is amazing how well Ashley has done so far, she really improved her game, and is able to handle the power, and I for one am happy ;)

Sep 15th, 2003, 11:00 PM
As the #1 seed in the '02 college final, Jessica got blasted off the court (1 and 2, I think) by #2 seed Bea Bielik, though she later beat Bea (a disappointment in the WTA) in a Challenger somewhere. Any 22 y.o. stuck in the 10K's isn't going anywhere. Jessica is basically a dubs specialist.

Colin B
Sep 15th, 2003, 11:36 PM
If you go to Aceman's site, www.acemantennis.com you'll see she came through qualifying for the Peachtree $25K.
She lost to No.1 seed Kristina Brandi, 1-6 6-4 2-6 - the only player to take a set off Brandi all week.

Sep 15th, 2003, 11:40 PM
Kristi must be 26 already and certainly isn't going places on the main circuit.

Sep 15th, 2003, 11:55 PM
Kristina Brandi is a former top 50 player who is on her way back into the top 100, so it was a pretty good result for Lehnhoff

Sep 16th, 2003, 01:03 AM
Kristina Brandi is a former top 50 player who is on her way back into the top 100, so it was a pretty good result for Lehnhoff

Kristina Brandi was a former top top 30 player who is another American slowly working her way up into the ranks.

She had an impressive week, and I agree, a set off is an accomplishment of sorts. I haven't seen Jess play, but she is seemingly a good dubs player, but has some notable wins this year and the year before. She may be ranked 421, but that could be in part because she was unable to defend her 3rd round Qualifying points from the Open. (She should have gotten another WC) I hope she continues to pursue tennis, it will be interesting to see where she goes...

Sep 16th, 2003, 01:10 AM
Has Jackie retired? Another example of an American who is struggling to find her form - Lilia Osterloh. Geez, she reached the 4th round of the Open losing a thriller to Dementieva, and hasn't done much since. I also do not understand why she is wasting her time in Europe playing small challengers on clay of all surfaces and losing first round. Add Meilen to the list. :mad: :mad: :mad: :sad: :sad: :sad:

About my last post, it is all but false. Kristina doesn't represent the US! What was I thinking? ;)

She can say she is the top Puerto Rican though :)

Sep 16th, 2003, 01:15 AM
Anyone remember former top 100 Jane Chi? I believe she has retired. I was reading her bio and smiled at this quote:

"Tennis player most admired is Amy Frazier for being the most down-to-earth and caring person for someone as good as she is."

GO AMY! :bounce: :worship:

Sep 16th, 2003, 02:26 AM
just a thought......but i think NCAA is more like a
circuit of whole bunch of 10K's and 25K's,
that's where the mediocre talented US talents,
and where the most talented amatuers appear
to be playing, that is why the transition from NCAA to WTA is such a difficult step,
Amber didnt really do that bad in challengers....
but to play WTA tiers, it's a lot different...
so if Jessica wants to turn pro, fine,
but dont expect any career like the one,
Lisa Raymond had....be content with challengers

Sep 16th, 2003, 02:48 AM
Jackie hasn't retired, she's just slid off since 2001 a little bit, but she's still playing in a lot of 10 Ks.

Colin B
Sep 16th, 2003, 11:24 AM
You guys need to spend more time in the 'challengers' forum. This weeks Columbus $50K features many of the players you mention:
Lilia Osterloh, Meilen Tu, Amy Frazier and Kristina Brandi; not Amber Liu though, she lost in qualifying.
Top seed is Laura Granville and you can also follow exciting new prospects like Gisela Dulko.

Take a look: www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=87447

Nov 23rd, 2003, 10:08 PM
I am hoping Jessica commits to a full schedule in 2004. Her efforts in Australia have been quite nice - she just won 25K, Nuriootpa by taking out Aiko. A strong result especially since most of her matches were tough ones. Well done Jessica!


Nov 24th, 2003, 04:40 AM
Well done Jessica! :yeah:

Nov 24th, 2003, 07:38 AM
where is lilia osterloh, she used to be improving consistently, and then, off the tennis radar.
I hope Jessica does well.

Nov 26th, 2003, 11:38 PM
where is lilia osterloh, she used to be improving consistently, and then, off the tennis radar.
I hope Jessica does well.

Lilia is still out there, but her 2003 year was filled with injuries and poor tournament planning. She is currently ranked 177. In her best event of the year (Pittsburg, PA) she reached the QF before getting injured against Meilen Tu. It is really too bad because she had done really well that week, taking out Janet Lee, Bradshaw, and a struggling Samantha Reeves. After qualifying for Wimbledon she stayed to play some small clay tournaments in Germany and Italy, which in my opinion is rather dumb since her best surface isn't clay. (I think her boyfriend is German) Hopefully she will commit to a full 2004 schedule and manage to stay injury free.