Alycia Parks, a 22-year-old American tennis player, pulled off a sublime between the legs lob for a winner in her 2-6, 7-6(3), 6-2 victory over fourth-seed Petra Martic to advance to the quarterfinals of the Lyon Open.
Parks’ shot is an early contender for “shot of the year” on the WTA tour. The fast-rising American is looking to become one of the top players in the world and is showing she has the game to get there.
Who Is Tennis Player Alycia Parks?
Tweener. Lob. Winner.
👏 @TheRealAParks 🔥 pic.twitter.com/5kt3RMjoQ4
— wta (@WTA) February 1, 2023
Parks is ranked in the top 100 at No. 76 and a win in Lyon would catapult her inside the top 70.
Parks was born in Atlanta, Georgia, lives and trains in Port St. Lucie, Florida. She’s been coached by her father Michael Parks since she was 7 years old. She graduated high school in 2019 and turned down several scholarship offers and opted to turn professional.
Inspired By Serena & Venus Williams
Like all Black American tennis players, Serena and Venus Williams are role models and idols.
“Definitely Venus and Serena but mostly Serena,” said Parks when asked in Australia this year to name who most inspired her as a younger player before explaining, almost wondrously, that she was in fact unfamiliar with the legendary sisters when she first experienced the sport.
“I think it’s so weird how they compare us, because when I started tennis, I didn’t really know who Venus and Serena were,” she said.
When Parks was born, Serena had won her first Grand Slam (US Open 1999) and Venus had won two (Wimbledon, US Open ’00).
By the time Parks was 7, the sisters had combined for 13 Grand Slam singles titles and were household names.
Parks’ journey to tennis was accidental and only happened as a reward for being a good student.
“I got started in tennis by making all A’s in elementary school. Me and my sister. And my mom took us to the toy store. And my sister picked something out, but I was taking forever in the store,” Parks related.
“My mom was like ‘you need to pick something on leaving the store,’ so she happened to look down and see two rackets and three tennis balls and said ‘here’.”
Alycia and Mikayla Parks Are Natural Talents
Alycia and her sister Mikayla were naturals, and soon tennis became their sport.
Last year Parks qualified for the main draw of her first Grand Slam at the US Open. She ended the year with a victory over then world No. 19 Karolina Pliskova and then-No. 7 Maria Sakkari to reach her first WTA singles quarterfinal.
“I almost didn’t make it to the tournament,” Parks laughed of that memorable week, explaining she was minutes from missing her flight to Europe. “I was mad and I’m like, ‘I can’t do this, I’m going home’ and then I just remember saying, ‘OK, no, Alycia, just go play the tournament’.”
Players outside of the top 25 on the professional tour don’t have it easy. They have to grind week after week, and catch connecting flights all around the world. They don’t fly private like your favorite top-10 and all-time greats. It’s also a lonely life in many ways. It takes a lot of desire along with talent to make it.
“The next short goal is 50, because I’m 75,” Parks said ahead of last month’s Australian Open. “But I definitely see myself as top 10 this year.”
Winning her first WTA singles event at Lyon would go a long way in accomplishing those goals.