American Danielle Collins has taken a wild card into the Oracle Pro Series – Naples, held at the Academia Sanchez-Casal from November 17-24. The World No.31 is the highest-ranked player to enter an Oracle Pro Series event. She is also the recipient of the 2017 Oracle US Tennis Award, which is a $100,000 grant intended to assist young players as they transition from college into the professional ranks.
The St. Petersburg, Florida native reached her first Grand Slam semifinal earlier this year at the Australian Open and achieved her career-high ranking of No.23 shortly thereafter. In the last two years, the two-time NCAA Champion from the University of Virginia has notched wins over Venus Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, Angelique Kerber, Victoria Azarenka and Madison Keys.
The second half of the 2019 was a struggle health-wise for Collins, who revealed a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.
“It’s a huge relief to get a diagnosis because as an athlete, everything is physical for me and now I can plan to attack this disease with a strategic management plan,” said Collins in an Instagram post.
“Everything is physical for me, and I’ve come to appreciate how both mental and physical conditions are aligned – how every muscle and joint in the body is in tuned with one another. My health is the utmost of importance to me and I’m ready to take on the fight of rheumatoid arthritis.”
Having played limited matches in the fall, the Oracle Pro Series – Naples provides the perfect opportunity for the American to regain the form that saw her break through in 2018, winning the Oracle Challenger Series Newport and reaching the round of 16 in Indian Wells and semifinals in Miami to catapult herself to the top of the game.
She opens against a to-be-determined qualifier in a field that also includes a resurgent Patricia Maria Tig, who is storming up the rankings after having her first child and Lucie Hradecka, who is a former Top 50 player and multiple-time doubles Grand Slam Champion.