Detractors say she does not quite have it. She has the looks. She has the style. But, she does not hit the ball hard enough.
A packed crowd on Court 11 noticed Harkleroad, the tanned 16- year-old from Florida playing her debut match at the United States Open. A couple of shirtless fans in the front row cheered Harkleroad's every move, even her mis-hits. A few fans whistled. Others took pictures. Meanwhile, her opponent, who is ranked much higher on the world ranking list, received almost no attention.
Afterward, 43 members of the press wanted to speak to Harkleroad; only three spoke to the opponent who had just defeated her. Harkleroad talked about her clothes, not her tennis, a fitting statement about her career now.
If Ashley Harkleroad wants to make it to the top, she will have to do it harder.