She earned a spot in the U.S. Open main draw this year by winning the U.S.T.A. Wild Card Challenge, which rewards the player who earns the most rankings points over a series of summer tournaments.
“When I’m done, I’m done, but I don’t want to have any regrets,” Ahn said. “I want to make sure that I’m maximizing my potential, that I’m going out there and having fun.”
“The way I look at professional tennis is you have such a unique platform to reach kids, to reach other people,” she added. “People will actually want to listen to you, and they’ll put you on a pedestal. While I’m doing this, I want to make as much of a difference as I can. And when I’m done, I can sell my soul to the corporate world.”
To Don, going corporate beats the uncertainties of professional tennis.
“If you get injured, you’ve got nothing,” he said. “There’s no unemployment compensation. You just get hungry, and without money.”
Don said his daughter would thrive once she entered a corporate environment.
“She’s a natural leader, very smart,” he said. “She knows how to talk to people. She understands other people and what they are thinking, so everybody loves her. That’s the skills corporate America needs. She’s partner material.”
Those skills are already appreciated by many in the tennis world, including the players who serve alongside Ahn on the WTA player council.
“She’s super intelligent,” Johanna Konta, a council member, said. “She’s very engaging. She’s always very good to talk to. I think she’s great on the council. I think she always expresses her opinions very eloquently and confidently.”