It’s very rare that a ‘professional interviewer’ is moved to tears during an interview, but that’s exactly what happened when I met Paula Liverpool, and her daughter, now 23-year-old Sachia Vickery at the U.S. Open about 3 years ago.
Sachia, then ranked 130th in the world, was working hard to get through the U.S. Open qualifying rounds. Paula was managing all things Sachia: Coaches, scheduling and traveling needs, practices, media, you name it.
As I interviewed Sachia and Paula, and as I’ve gotten to know the family, their story of sacrifice, support, and unwavering determination is a story that not only inspires, but stands as an example of what perseverance and a mother’s love can accomplish when it comes to helping her child realize her dreams.
The Price We Pay – A Mom Paying It Alone
“We started from absolutely nothing,“ says Liverpool. Me, as a single mom, working 2 jobs, sleeping 5 hours to get my daughter where she needs to be. I worked in the daytime. I bartended at night from about 9:00 PM until I came home at 4:00 AM. That was the only way I could pay for her lessons and save a couple hundred dollars a month if something happened,” says Liverpool.
“It was tough to watch, especially as the oldest child,” says Dominque Mitchell, Sachia’s eldest brother, manager, and only sibling.
“I saw some of the nights where she would have bills scattered on the ground and she was in tears. We would have close to nothing, but she always found a way,” he adds.
Mitchell also found a way to help out by receiving full athletic scholarships to college and grad school, and getting jobs to pay his expenses, so that he would not be a financial burden on his mother.
I worked in the day time, I worked in the night. I knew she had the ability, it was just a matter of time, says Liverpool.
Getting the Job Done
By 2015, Liverpool said their cost of playing tennis was about $150,000 per year, which was a challenge, but they were able to make it work due to her management acumen. In addition, by this time, Sachia had caught the eye of companies such as Nike, Technifiber, and Lagardere Unlimited, which provided her with clothing and equipment.
Times have definitely changed. Sachia’s earnings are over $1.2 mln according to the WTA, and has had a career high ranking of being the 73rd best player in the world. The ways in which she and her mother have learned to embody faith, wealth, and perseverance, have likely charted a course to even higher heights in the tennis world.