Marco Island's Lauren Embree told reporters she was "honored" to lose. After all, the 18-year-old was playing in her first major tennis tournament.
Embree lost in the first round of the French Open on Sunday, falling to No. 11 seed Nadia Petrova of Russia, 6-1, 6-2, in 65 minutes on Court Suzanne Lengel.
"I was very nervous,'' Embree told the New York Times. "But I have lots to learn."
Still, she impressed her opponent, Petrova, who turns 27 in June and is in her 10th year as a professional. Embree, who graduated early from Lely High School, earned a wild card at an elite event in Boca Raton. She will still play in the Junior French Open.
"She fought from beginning to end,'' Petrova told the Times. "She kept a lot of balls in play. And she had a lot of variety in her shots."
Petrova remembers what it was like to be in Embree's situation.
“I went through those feelings as well playing big names,” she said.
Embree served well, getting in 70 percent of her first serves to Petrova's 57, although Petrova had four aces and won 83 percent of her first serve points, compared to just 40 for Embree. Embree also only had eight unforced errors to Petrova's 20. The big difference was in winners, where Petrova had a 27-3 advantage. She also won 32 of 57 receiving points.
Embree, who has signed with the University of Florida, was asked if she thought about taking the $21,000 in prize money, which would have resulted in her losing her amateur status.
"I was definitely tempted,'' she told the Times.
"College is a great thing,'' she added. "I think I should try it and do it."