THE heiress to a billionaire’s fortune, tennis sensation Jessica Pegula needn’t work for a living.
But the American star, 27, defied all at the Australian Open – making her way to the quarter finals last year, where she eventually lost against Jennifer Brady.
So far she’s earned an impressive £1m in prize money – but that’s just a drop in the ocean to what she stands to inherit.
Because she’s the pretty daughter of Terry Pegula, who made a £3.6billion fortune from natural gas development.
The self-made businessman owns NFL giants Buffalo Bills – who he bought in 2014 after outbidding Donald Trump and Bon Jovi, and various other sport franchises.
And if that’s not enough, Jessica could also take her dad’s £14million superyacht for a spin in her downtime.
Astonishingly, she is richer than the worth of Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova combined.
I NEED TO BE MYSELF
It would’ve been easy for Jessica to retire from the game in the last few years.
Plagued by persistent hip and knee injures, she truly considered it – before defying the odds at this year’s Australian Open.
So far, she’s disposed of Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, former US Open victor Sam Stosur, former world No.10 Kristina Mladenovic and fifth seed Elina Svitolina.
And you wouldn’t bank against her going further. Jessica’s biggest determination is to make a name for herself, and not just be Terry Pegula’s daughter.
She told Wide World of Sport: “When I was younger, it was more like I wanted to make a name for myself and then I realised as I got older, I should embrace the whole family aspect of it instead.
“It was almost hurting me in a way because it wasn’t going to go away and I learned to embrace that, kind of have fun with it.
“Tennis is my thing, it’s my job, it’s my career. It’s very separate and my parents don’t really have any say right now in anything I do on the court.”
HER DAD’S IN SPORT
Terry Pegula first worked at a petroleum engineer for Getty Oil, before setting up his own company called East Resources in 1983 with a £5,400 loan from his family.
He began by searching and drilling for oil, and later moved into natural gas.
In 2010, he sold assets to East Resources to Royal Dutch Shell for a staggering £3.4billion, and four years later the remaining assets were sold for £1.2billion to American Energy Partners, LP.
By that time, his sports group – Pegula Sports and Entertainment – was in business, with Terry’s wife Kim installed as CEO and president.
Their biggest coup came in 2014 when they managed to beat rival bids from former US president Donald Trump and rock star Bon Jovi to buying NFL giants the Buffalo Bills for around £1billion.
PSE have also owned NHL franchise Buffalo Sabres since 2011, after paying £135million for the hockey team.
Aside from their sporting interests, not much is known about how the Pegula family, who keep their lives very private.
They live in a £2.5million gated five bedroom mansion in Boca Raton, Florida.
Terry’s also big on charity. He donated £73million for the building of Pegula Ice Arena at Penn State University.
And he gave Houghton College in New York £9million to fund the Kerr-Pegula Athletic Complex.
However, perhaps his most extravagant purchase was his stunning £14million superyacht called ‘Top Five’.
Built by Christensen Shipyards in 2005, there’s room on board for 12 guests in its six cabins.
Although reports suggested Pegula was looking to sell it and is currently building a new, bigger yacht to replace it.
Perhaps it would make a nice hand-me-down for Jessica, should he fail to attract any buyers?