It is a privilege to discover one’s life purpose early and begin to work towards achieving it. It is even more gratifying when success finds you early. That is the story of Ashley Harkleroad who is a retired professional tennis player who found success in the court at a very young age. Although some might believe that she didn’t reach the peak of her career before she retired considering all the potentials she projected in her early career, Ashley has stated that she just enjoys playing tennis and stopped playing when there was too much pressure to succeed. The highest point of her career was in 2003 when she became World No. 39.
Ashley is also known as the wife of the former tennis player, Chuck Adams.
1. Where and When was Ashley Harkleroad Born?
Ashley was born in Rossville Georgia on the 2nd of May 1985. Her parents (Danny and Tammy) raised her in Flintstone, Georgia. They were both active sports players in college and this might have influenced Ashley’s inclination towards sports at a young age.
She began to play tennis when she was 4 years old. She gained the nickname ‘Pebbles’ while growing up and she described herself as very defiant and rebellious while growing up.
2. Tennis Career
After an impressive junior result, Ashley’s professional career began in 2000 just after she turned fifteen. She made her debut in the 1999 ITF tournament, Largo, Florida. In 2000, she played at the WTA qualifiers in Miami, Florida and then her first Grand Slam tournament at the US Open. She reached the second round at Hawaii, Bratislava and San Diego in 2002 after winning her first matches. Her first semifinals doubles partner was Maria Emilia Salerni.
Although 2002 ended as a great year for Ashley Harkleroad as she made it to the top 200 in tennis, her breakthrough came in 2003 after she defeated three (Daniela Hantuchova No. 9, Elena Bovina No. 16 and Meghann Shaughnessy No.19) of the top-20 players. After reaching the semifinals, she lost to Justine Henin Hardene. Her performance shot her from No 101 to No 56. She reached the semifinals again at Strasbourg in the same year which moved her into the top 50 at No. 39. This became her highest feat throughout her tennis career and she also made it to the final doubles in the Tokyo Japan Open.
Her professional career spanned 12 years and Ashley took home 8 ITF titles and had a record of 213 – 140 overall in her singles career. She reached the third round in the 2003 French Open and Australian Open 2007. Her coaches were Jay Berger, Jose Luis Clerc and Chuck Adam’s whom she eventually married.
It is believed that Ashley might have had a better chance if she made better choices during the early stage of her career but like several upcoming tennis players with promise, she lacked the skills to deal with a budding tennis career especially in terms of picking the right agent and the right sponsorship.
Notwithstanding, after an eventful career, Ashley bowed out and retired from professional tennis in 2012.
3. What Does Ashley Harkleroad Do Now After Her Retirement?
After her retirement, she began a career as a commentator with the Tennis Channel. Ashley Harkleroad loves to live under the radar and she enjoys the leisure of being a wife and a mom. She also presently owns Malibu Valley Vineyard Wines.
4. The Personal and Family Life of Ashley Harkleroad
In December 2004, Ashley married Alex Bogomolov -ATP pro when she was 19 and Alex 24. She revealed that being from a small town had its disadvantages and she got tired of being accused of living in sin. Their marriage was short lived as it ended in a divorce in October 2006. Ashley became a divorcee at the young age of 21 while her age mates were still in college and figuring out what they want from life. According to her, her early marriage relaxed her and helped her mature.
In 2008, Ashley became the first Tennis player to pose for the Playboy magazine. She was the cover for the August issue. About her cover, she reiterated that she was representing the body of a female athlete who stays fit. She also said she was proud of her body. Some months after the shoot, Ashley gave birth to her first child with her former coach and now husband Chuck Adams.
Ashley got together with Chuck Adams who is 15 years older than her in 2007. They are now married and have two children (Charlie born March 30th 2009 and Loretta Lynn born April 4th 2011).