Jimmy’s blog: Another injury forces Williams to early retirement

Jimmy’s blog: Another injury forces Williams to early retirement

By Jimmy Hyams

Caitlyn Williams was destined for stardom.

She was one of the top junior players ever produced by Knoxville.

Williams, whose parents were star players in college and whose older brother was an All- American at Tennessee, considered turning pro out of high school.

Instead she signed with the Lady Vols. But an injury plagued career kept her from reaching her potential as she suffered two torn rotator cuffs.

Another injury, to her right shoulder/labrum, has forced the 23-year-old into an early retirement.

“I don’t want to have a fifth surgery,’’ Williams told me this morning. “It’s disappointing to end my pro career this way.’’

Williams was hurt recently when she fell while practicing on clay courts in Italy with her older brother, Rhyne.

Williams was getting therapy Monday morning at the Tennessee Sports Medicine Group. She said she’s not healthy enough to be a pro player but might become an instructor.

Williams was a five-star tennis recruit who was ranked No. 19 in the nation and No. 67 in the world in the ITF girls 18 singles. She was ranked No. 1 in the nation in girls 16. She was a three-time winner of the Southern Girl Player of the Year award (2005, 2007, 2009). She won a pro futures doubles title in Sumter, S.C.

But she couldn’t make it through a season at Tennessee without being sidelined. As a freshman she was 10-8 in singles, 13-10 in doubles, with a high ranking of No. 9 with Natalie Pluskota.

Due to injury, she often was unable to practice and focused mainly on doubles her last two seasons at UT.

She finished her Tennessee career with a 29-25 record in singles, 57-35 in doubles. She won three doubles titles at UT.

Williams mother, Michelle, was an All-American at Tennessee, and her dad, Bob, was All-ACC at Duke. Her brother Rhyne was an All-American at Tennessee. Her sister Jennifer played at Birmingham Southern College.

He grandfather, Mike DePalmer, was a Hall of Fame coach at Tennessee.

The Williams family was selected Tennessee family of the year in 2006.

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