Why US tennis prodigy Tornado Black has to crowdfund her own operation

    Tornado Alicia Black at the US Open in 2014, when she rose to No. 3 in the world junior rankings.

    Story highlights

    • Black was a US Open junior finalist in 2013
    • Former third-ranked junior sidelined by a hip injury
    • Main breadwinner, Black has started a crowdfunding campaign to pay for an operation

    (CNN)In 2013, Tornado Alicia Black seemed destined for the big time when she reached the finals of the junior US Open.

    An outstanding young player who had twice been homeless before rising to No. 3 in the junior world rankings in 2014, Black's career seemed to be over before it had even begun when a serious hip injury forced her out of the 2015 US Open.
      Two years later, the now 19-year-old Black is working as a tennis coach in Florida to support her ailing mother and tennis-playing younger sister, Hurricane Tyra Black.
      Although Black had surgery in October 2015, her hip blew out again in July 2016. The pain has become so bad it hampers her sleep at night. To help pay for a much-needed yet costly operation, Black decided to start a crowdfunding campaign.
      "I just have Medicaid, that's just state insurance," Black said by phone from Florida. "They cover the basics which I'm lucky to have, but they don't cover for this operation, for what I need. So that's really tough on me."
      "I'm supporting my family right now, my younger sister and my mom, so I can't be spending all that money on insurance every month," she said.


      Black's story was first reported by the New York Times on September 5. Although Black initially rejected the idea of raising funds online, she decided to start a GoFundMe page after an overwhelming response to the article.
      "I'm not the type of person that likes to ask people for money," Black said. "But I was getting so much support from friends and from people I didnt even know, and everyone kept telling me, 'se