Jessica Pegula is not the most well-known player at the 2021 Australian Open, but she might be the richest. Or at least she will be someday. The 26-year-old American advanced to the quarter-finals after upsetting fifth seed Elina Svitolina in three sets. This means Jessica Pegula is one of the last eight women's singles players standing in the annual tournament. This standing comes with a paycheck of at least $525,000. A half million to you and me would be a big deal. For Jessica it's a rounding error on her trust fund. Her parents Terry and Kim Pegula have a combined net worth of $4.6 billion.
Back in 2014, Terry and Kim Pegula bought the Buffalo NFL franchise for a then-record $1.4 billion. The Pegulas became Buffalo's first family with the purchase of the Bills. They are regarded as saving the beloved franchise from the likes of other interested buyers, such as Jon Bon Jovi, Donald Trump, and others who threatened to move the Bills out of western New York. The couple already owned the NHL's Buffalo Sabres, which they bought in 2011 for $189 million.
Terry Pegula is a self-made businessman who founded a small natural gas and oil drilling company called East Resources in the early 1980s. Terry sold the business in 2010 for $4.7 billion.
The sale provided the seed money needed for his second career as a sports tycoon. In addition to the Bills and the Sabres, Pegula Sports & Entertainment owns the Rochester AHL team the Americans, the Buffalo Bandits indoor lacrosse team, a country music label and recording studio, and the HarborCenter complex in Buffalo. HarborCenter includes two hockey arenas, a hotel, and sports bar in downtown Buffalo across the street from the First Niagara Center, where the Sabres and Bandits play.
As soon as Terry and Kim Pegula bought the Bills, Kim was asked to sit on the board of the NFL Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the health and safety of sports, youth football, and community. The committee is chaired by Charlotte Jones, daughter of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
Jessica Pegula is the eldest of three children of Kim and Terry Pegula. She also has two half-siblings from her father's first marriage. She is ranked 61st in the world and turned pro in 2009. She was actually on the verge of retiring recently after enduring several knee and hip injuries. In 2020 she made it to the third round of the U.S. Open. However, it is her performance at this year's Australian Open that has made her the talk of the tennis world. So far Jessica has beaten two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, U.S. Open winner Sam Stosur, and Kristina Mladenovic, the former world No. 10, before beating Svitolina. Jessica will face off against fellow American Jennifer Brady next. A win against Brady would give Pegula her first Grand Slam semi-final. To be clear, her next match is also a big deal — it is her first Grand Slam quarter-final. The whole city of Buffalo is rooting for their hometown gal.
Outside of her tennis career, the 26-year-old and her sister opened a quick-serve restaurant called Healthy Scratch in August 2016. The restaurant is located in the Harbor Center, owned by her parents in Buffalo. The restaurant expanded to include a food truck in 2017. That same year, Jessica also debuted her skincare line called Ready 24.
Jessica's biggest tournament to date came in the 2019 Washington Open when she beat Italy's Camila Giorigi 6-2, 6-2 to claim the victory.