Homeless twice before the age of 13, the first time was at the age of 8 when her father left her mother with two girls; Alicia and her younger sister Tyra.
Alicia tennis career started by accident, it happened during her second spell of sleeping rough with her mother and sister, she was training with the United States Tennis Association in Boca Raton and was allowed to stay in the dorms of the U.S.T.A Facilities.
Despite the difficult family life, her tennis career experienced a tremendous rise, then the best player in the country at the junior level, played in the final of the Junior US Open in 2013, then 15 years old, and ascended to the position of Junior world number three at the time.
As her career progresses, she was tipped as the future of US tennis, she and her sister were tipped as the next “Williams”.
Then tragedy struck, her career was brought to a standstill with a double lower abdominal tear and hip injury, despite initial surgery to correct them, a reoccurrence meant she is unable to play active tennis, the only thing she knows.
As the main breadwinner for the family, her career tennis earnings of over $40k has been expended on the family and to nurture the career of her tennis playing younger sister, Tyra “Hurricane” Black.
The ailing mother who suffers from skin cancer does not work and Tyra career has not started earning money.
The fear of sending the family back to the street drove Alicia to continue to work through pain to earn money, she picked up a job as a tennis instructor at only 19, at a time, without injury she should already be playing at the senior level competing with the likes of US OPEN winner, Sloane Stephens.
In an Interview with New York Times David Waldstein, she said
“I make the bare amount, It’s tough supporting my sister traveling. I’m trying to save money for the hip surgery, trying to help pay the rent. Sometimes it can get really overwhelming for me. I’m only 19.”
The coaching role that requires standing and movement is potentially causing further damage to the injured hip and expanding hernia, the fear she has now is that failure to treat it on time may result in irreversible damage, which may permanently end her career as she still hopes to return to professional tennis one day, drawing hope from the likes of Venus Williams who is playing competitive tennis into her late 30s.
“I’ve been putting so much pressure on myself to get back on the court, to save up for my surgery, to help out with my family, and sometimes it’s just too much,” she said. “I go out on the court with my students and I just have to fake a smile because sometimes I get so upset.” Alicia Black interview with NYT
The injury requires specialist surgical intervention that is not covered by her insurance and MEDICAID, thus she is soliciting fund through GO FUNDME to the tune of £40,000:00, this would allow her the operation and recuperation without needing to work during recuperation. As at last check, she has just raised past $27,000:00, so still some more to go.
The operation is the only hope she has to return to Tennis and actually to lead a normal pain-free life.
The story of Alicia Black, her struggles and sense of responsibilities certainly deserve the support of well-meaning people.
The world may miss the opportunity to see another Serena Williams. Alicia may be the best Tennis prodigy who never had the opportunity to achieve her potential by circumstances surrounding her.