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Stockbridge’s Townsend to turn pro

Associated Press / After an impressive junior tennis career, Stockbridge native Taylor Townsend has decided to turn pro.

Associated Press / After an impressive junior tennis career, Stockbridge native Taylor Townsend has decided to turn pro.

— RIVERDALE — Taylor Townsend, the 16-year-old tennis star from Stockbridge, has officially turned professional.

Townsend, who’s father Gary is the principal at Riverdale’s Drew High School, has joined Lagardere Unlimited and will accompany a list of top tennis players that include World Tennis Association’s No. 1 player Victoria Azarenka and previously top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki.

Townsend, currently the No. 1 junior player in the world, won girls singles and doubles titles in the 2012 Australian Open while also snagging crowns in Wimbledon and US Open Junior doubles. She was also a member of the USA’s winning 2012 Junior Fed Cup team.

After such a successful year, Gary Townsend said Taylor felt like turning pro was the logical next step to further her career.

“I think it’s what she wanted,” he said. “It’s a good time for her. She’s accomplished about everything she possibly could accomplish on the junior level. She’s young, she’s strong and I think it’s a good time. This now gives her opportunity to get paid for what she does.”

Gary Townsend said the decision was a joint effort between Taylor and her family, and that Lagardere Unlimited was the obvious agency choice for Taylor because of its track record representing top women in the sport, but also for the personal interest the firm took with Taylor.

Gary Townsend said that Lagardere’s owner flew in to personally meet with Taylor. He chalks it up to the fruits of his daughter’s hard work.

“It’s just a blessing to see your children reach the goals they set so long ago,” he said. “This has been her dream since she was nine and 10 years old. I’m so proud that she made the sacrifices and now they are starting to pay off.”