September 18th, 2016

Tennis Profile: Florida’s Danielle Collins Headed to WTA Tour with Bollettieri Support

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By Colette Lewis, USTA Florida contributor

collinsustafloridaDanielle Collins has already played the main draw of the US Open twice, with USTA wild cards she received as the NCAA singles champion in both 2014 and 2016. Although she was not able to pick up a victory either time, the 22-year-old from St. Petersburg knows she will be back in New York in 2017, after winning the American Collegiate Invitational, held at the USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center during the second week of the US Open.

The competition, in its third year, features fields of eight men and eight women who are drawn from the top American players in the Division I college tennis ranks.

The second-seeded Collins, who completed her degree at the University of Virginia this summer, won all three of her matches in the women’s draw in straight sets, beating unseeded Ronit Yurovsky, a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, 6-2, 6-4 in the final.

Collins ran out to a 5-0 start, but Yurovsky recovered late in the first set and made Collins earn the victory, which comes with the guarantee of a US Open women’s qualifying wild card for 2017.

Legendary coach Nick Bollettieri, who served as Collins’ coach at the American Collegiate Invitational, has personally overseen her training regimen at the IMG Academy in Bradenton.

“He’s been working with me since I was in high school and he’s still getting up in the morning at 6 a.m., so we see a lot of each other in the morning, probably more than he would like, because I’m a grumpy person,” Collins said, laughing. “He was here with me at the Open and he really wanted to see my last college matches. It’s great to see him in your corner, still kicking it, and IMG is a great place to train.”

After getting her first WTA Top 100 victory over Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland in the opening round of qualifying of the WTA Connecticut Open last month, Collins is confident she is ready to succeed at the next level.

“I’m very versatile, I can play offense and I can play defense,” said Collins, whose next tournament is a $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Stillwater, Oklahoma at the end of the month.

“I have big weapons from the ground and my serve is also improving a lot. I’m very confident with my game, and emotionally, I think have a perfect personality for playing on tour, because I’m really tough. It’s not for everybody. Some people don’t want to play matches every week, and lose. But I like playing tennis, I love playing tennis, so it’s fun for me. So I’m going to be doing this for a while.”