Calling 2019 a rollercoaster year for Nicole Gibbs would be nothing short of a massive understatement. The 26-year-old American was diagnosed with a rare form of oral cancer earlier this year and underwent successful surgery in May. While most players would be out for an extended period of time recovering from such a life altering event, Nicole Gibbs is not most players.
She sat out for barely over a month before storming back into action in July. Not only did Gibbs get back on court earlier than most thought possible, she proved her mettle with an incredible first round performance in last month’s US Open against World No. 4 Simona Halep. While Gibbs eventually fell in a narrow three-set thriller, she showcased a unique level of grit and resilience for which she’s quickly becoming known.
Gibbs carries her signature style and unwavering confidence into match play this week, as she competes in both singles and doubles action against an impressive New Haven player field. She’s already won her opening round matchups in both draws and looks primed to make a deep run at the inaugural Oracle Challenger Series event of the 2019-2020 season.
At this point Gibbs is an Oracle Challenger Series veteran, having competed in Indian Wells, Newport Beach and Chicago before this week’s tournament. “The more events that Oracle puts on the better they get” remarked Gibbs after Tuesday’s doubles victory alongside partner Heather Watson. “They just keep improving each time I’m here, and I’m always excited to come play at an Oracle event.”
While Gibbs could easily sit back and be satisfied with her competitive return to form, she’s inspired and motivated to go further by the recent success of fellow American compatriots such as Coco Gauff, Taylor Townsend, Kristie Ahn and more. “A lot of them are good friends of mine so it’s special to see them get their moment, and it makes me hungry for my moment too.”
With the off-court battles she’s already won, there’s no doubt her biggest on-court moments are yet to come.