Sachia Vickery, a 17-year-old rising tennis star in the ilk of the Williams sisters and Sloane Stephens, qualified for the U.S. Open in 10 days with indirect aid of the real Rick Ross, a former drug kingpin, who now runs a foundation focusing on literacy among underprivileged youth.
Vickery won the USTA Girls 18s National Championship, easily handling Alexandra Kiick 4-6, 6-2, 6-0 this week. The victory earned her a coveted place at the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., starting on Aug. 26.
Ross, whose name has been adopted by the rapper who was aware of the true Ross’ exploits, said through his Freeway Literacy Foundation, he paid for Vickery’s accommodations while in San Diego for the important tournament.
Playing tennis can be costly, and Ross, who played tennis while in high school in Los Angeles, said he learned of Vickery’s financial troubles and felt the need to assist.
“Me and my partner, Antonio Moore, also are looking to help her with room and board while at the U.S. Open,” Ross told the Atlanta Black Star. “One of my personal goals is to open doors, and help entertainers and athletes see ways to open doors.”
“Freeway” Rick Ross, according to prosecutors, ran a drug enterprise that netted him more than $600 million through purchasing cocaine and distributing it to Ohio, New York and other states. After he was arrested and convicted, he was sentenced to life in prison in 1996, but that stint was reduced to 20 years because of a technicality. He was released from prison in 2009 for good behavior.
The San Jose Mercury News ran a series that said Oscar Danilo Blandon, connected to the CIA-backed Contras, was his primary source of product. According to the newspaper, profits from his sales were allegedly funneled to the Contra militia in its fight against the Cuban-backed Sandinistas in Nicaragua.
Ross has an autobiography that will be released next year written by Cathy Scott, who also authored books on the murders of rappers Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G.
Ross said he has abandoned the drug trade and wants to do some good. Supporting Vickery is a prime example.
Vickery, from Miramar, FL, earned a wild card into the women’s singles main draw for the U.S. Open. “It feels unbelievable,” she said after the match. “It hasn’t sunken in that I’m going to be playing at the U.S. Open. “It’s been my dream since I started playing tennis. I can’t even put it into words how happy I am.”
Ross said he was proud to have played a small role in Vickery’s joy.
“We believe in the positive impact global sports like tennis can have on a inner city child’s exposure,” Ross told ABS. “Through tennis at Dorsey High School, I got to see beyond South Central LA. Literacy is about academic, financial and social language.
“I want her to succeed and work with me and the foundation to do tennis and academic literacy camps across the country. I believe the impact Venus and Serena Williams had was monumental, and they really opened the door for Sachia to push forward with a message of social justice. “
Esquire magazine will publish a significant story on Ross in its October issue that will cover his view of the Los Angeles cocaine trade, the war on drugs and his issue with the rapper using his name.