It was a far cry from the red clay of Roland Garros - or even the green clay of the Credit One Charleston Open for that matter.
But Emma Navarro, who has played in some of the most prestigious stadiums in the world, felt right at home at the LTP tennis facility in Mount Pleasant, and for good reason. That’s the venue where she began her journey to tennis stardom. She spent many an hour learning the fine points of the game.
She put on a clinic on the clay courts of the LTP facility from Nov. 6-12 when she competed in the LTP 100K tournament as the No. 1 seed in the ITF event. She added an exclamation point on a damp, windy Sunday with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Panna Uvardy of Hungary to claim her sixth ITF singles title of 2023.
“It’s always nice to play in front of family and friends,” Navarro said. “So yeah, it was nice to play at home, for sure.”
Navarro, one of the greatest athletes to come out of Ashley Hall, has had success at every level. She won an NCAA singles championship her sophomore year at the University of Virginia in 2021. Now, she’s climbing the WTA charts.
She moved up five spots to World No. 33 with the impressive week and is now on the Mount Rushmore of American women’s tennis for 2023, joining Coco Gauff, Jessica Pegula and Madison Keys as the top four ranked Americans on the WTA Tour.
“It feels pretty good,” Navarro said. “It’s hard to believe, honestly. It’s exciting and a testament to the work I’ve put in.”
Navarro was dominant during the week, losing only seven games. Her toughest match just might have been a semifinal victory over No. 4 seed and fellow American Hailey Baptiste. Navarro posted a 6-2, 6-1 victory in that match.
“I think my game has improved a lot for sure,” Navarro said. “I feel more confident in who I am as a player, and I feel more secure in how I play tennis and like to play tennis. I think that has made a big difference. I also have been having a lot of fun on the court and that shows in how I play and the results I’ve had.”