Those in the tennis world have known about Jamea Jackson ever since she was a youngster excelling on the junior circuit from 1999-2003.
Now, Jackson may not yet be a household name, but her ascent up the WTA world rankings has been a consistent climb that should make Jackson a legitimate contender for at least one or two Grand Slam titles in 2007.
Jackson, who is the daughter of former NFL cornerback, Ernest Jackson, began playing tennis at age 8 and eventually ended up attending the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy Bradenton, Florida.
Jackson, who will turn 20-years-old this September, has won two ITF Women’s Circuit singles titles and is the first tennis player ever to use the instant replay system in a tour level match, challenging a call in her first round win at the 2006 Nasdaq 100 Open in Miami, against compatriot Ashley Harkleroad.
Jackson also led the U.S. to a Fed Cup to a victory over Germany in April of 2006. She won both her matches to notch the win for the U.S. Jackson reached her first WTA Tour final on June 17, 2006 when she beat Maria Sharapova in Birmingham on grass. However, she couldn’t defeat Vera Zvonareva in the final match of the DFS Classic.
Jackson, a diminutive 5-foot, 4-inch right-hander from Bradenton, Fla., turned pro in 2003 and has been going strong ever since. On the USTA Pro Circuit, she won singles titles in Tucson, Ariz., in 2004 and in Dallas in 2003. In WTA action, Jackson had a breakthrough year in 2005, when she made her debut in the top 100 of the rankings at No. 86 and reached a career-high, 73 on Oct. 10.
Jackson also advanced to her first quarterfinal in Memphis in 2005 and reached the third round, as a wild card, at Indian Wells.
This year, Jackson made her main-draw debut at the Australian Open and reached the second round, defeating Tamarine Tanasugarn, 7-6 (5), 6-2, in the opening round before falling to Anastasia Myskina in three sets, 7-6 (4), 0-6, 6-3.
As I stated earlier, Jamea Jackson may not be a name known to most casual tennis observers, however, Jackson could quickly become a household name in 2007 if her level of play continues to progress as it has for the past three seasons.
I mean, hey, it’s not some kind of quantum leap or anything, if anything, Jackson’s steady ascent is more reminiscent of the “turtle” rather than the “hare,” but we all know how that story turned out don’t we?