A U.S. sports broadcaster was left red raced after Australian Open hopeful Jessica Pegula shot down several suggested nicknames for the 26-year-old star.
Pegula, who will face countrywoman Jennifer Brady in the quarterfinals on Tuesday, was interviewed by ESPN tennis reporter Brad Gilbert following her win over fifth-seed Elina Svitolina in the fourth round.
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Gilbert had previously tweeted a brainstorming session for a nickname for Pegula, but when interviewing her after her recent success, he found his ideas of 'Jessie's Girl' (after the 1981 Rick Springfield hit) and 'Pegula Hoop' weren't exactly winning over the world No.61.
It was revealed on Monday that Pegula's parents are the billionaire owners of the NFL's Buffalo Bills, with Gilbert suggesting fans of the team were clamouring for a new nickname for the tennis star.
"I’m the king of nicknames and your Bills mafia is very upset that I haven’t come up with a nickname for you,” Gilbert said.
“They threw out a couple, then it came to me so I’ll throw a couple on you. Old school music song, Jessie’s Girl, or Pegula Hoop (like hula hoop).
“Just thinking about it.”
Unfortunately for Gilbert it was back to the drawing board, with Pegula clearly less than enthused with his suggestions.
“I’m not really feeling any of them to be honest,” she said.
“I’m not. I’m not feeling any of them.”
Jessica Pegula completely shutting down all of Brad Gilbert’s nickname suggestions belongs on SportsCenter Top 10.
— Lindsay Gibbs (@linzsports) February 15, 2021
Brad Gilbert getting shot down for the nicknames by Jessica Pegula was great and awkward to see.
— Christopher Fisher (@Chris_A_Fisher) February 15, 2021
— Nick Caggiano (@YoNickCaggiano) February 15, 2021
Pegula smoothed things over by discussing her former nickname of 'JP', but added 'if that’s too boring for you, you can come up with something else'.
Gilbert's co-host summed up the awkward situation best.
“I like that Brad is absolutely crushed, Jessica, but we’re going to go with JP," they said.
Jessica Pegula's classy move after Australian Open victory
Pegula may be the daughter of American billionaires, but the tennis star has demonstrated a superb sense of grounding with a wonderful gesture for a rival player on Monday.
The giant-killing American continued her extraordinary Australian Open charge with an upset win over fifth seed Elina Svitolina in the fourth round.
The unseeded 26-year-old has been in scintillating form at Melbourne Park and overwhelmed the Ukrainian 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to book her spot in the quarter-finals.
Pegula's parents Terry and Kim Pegula own the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres sport franchises, and have a net worth of more than $5 billion, according to Forbes.
They were both on the American's mind after her stunning fourth round victory against Svitolina, which marked the first time Pegula has beaten a top-10 player in her professional career.
In a moment of class after the momentous victory, Pegula left a message to her parents on the courtside camera, as well as one for compatriot Jennifer Brady, who was playing Croatia's Donna Vekic straight afterwards.
"See you in next round, Jen B," she wrote on the camera alongside a shout-out to her famous folks.
Pegula's touching prediction for her compatriot came true as Brady dispatched Vekic 6-1 7-5 to set up an all-American quarter-final showdown.
Ranked just 61 and playing only her second Australian Open, Pegula took out former world number one and 12th seed Victoria Azarenka in the opening round then dropped just four games in her next two matches.
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