'Doing it for dad': The family tragedy behind Amanda Anisimova's fightback

Amanda Anisimova (pictured left) celebrating with a fist-pump and (pictured right) blowing a kiss to her father.
Amanda Anisimova (pictured) said she was thinking of her father, who died late last year, when she was down in her Second Round match at the US Open. (Images: Getty Images/ Eurosport)

American rising star Amanda Anisimova fought back from a set down to win her Second Round match, but did so with her late father in mind.

An 18-year-old Animisova made a name for herself at Wimbledon and the French Open last year as she burst onto the world stage.

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But tragedy struck after the shock death of her father and long-time coach Konstantin Anisimov, who suffered a heart attack just before the 2019 US Open.

Following her exit at the Australia Open, Anisimova broke down in a post-match media conference when asked how she was managing in her career without her father.

But after the coronavirus pandemic break, the now 19-year-old was facing adversity when an even younger opponent - 16-year-old Katrina Scott - was a set up.

Anisimova was able to fight back and take the match 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.

And she it was the memory of her father that kept her going.

“I am getting a lot of memories from the juniors, when my dad was with me,” she told the reporter at the end of the match.

“And I had a match just like this, and I was down, and he was saying some encouraging words and it really helped me.

“I was just thinking about him the whole time and it was giving me a lot of energy to pump me up and keep myself going and I started playing really well.”

She later said: "I was just thinking of my dad the whole time and I didn't want to lose without putting up a fight.

Anisimova’s rise to tennis superstardom

Anisimova announced herself as a huge contender in 2019, upsetting defending champion and world No.3 Simona Halep in the quarter-finals of the French Open.

She then lost to eventual champion Ashleigh Barty in a dramatic final-four showdown, coming from 0-5 to win the first set before the Australian prevailed in a career-defining win.

Earmarked for a big future, Anisimova signed a mega long-term deal with Nike that was reported to be the largest ever for a teenager and comparable to that of former great Maria Sharapova's eight-year, $102 million deal.