Before the French Open, most tennis fans didn't know the name of the player. Many of her peers did not know much about her. The world No. 227 had never played in the main draw of a tour-level event, let alone a major, and had never competed against anyone ranked in the top 50.
This week, everything changed. No one will forget her name soon.
Jeanjean, a wild card at the French Open, defeated Nuria Parrizas Diaz in the first round. She upset the former world No. 1 in the second round of the French Open. It was the biggest win of her career, and the latest stop on one of the more unconventional journeys on tour.
Jeanjean was once a promising young French junior player but had her professional dreams derailed due to a serious knee injury. She decided to play collegiately in the United States after being out of the sport for a while. She played her freshman season at Baylor before moving to Arkansas and then playing at Lynn, a Division II school.
The path from college to the pros remains unusual, despite the recent success of former NCAA players such as Danielle Collins and Cameron Norrie. Is it possible to jump from a Division II program? That is nearly unheard of.
It was her time at Lynn that made Jeanjean realize she wasn't done with her tennis dreams. She was named the ITA Senior Player of the Year and the Sunshine State Conference Female Athlete of the Year during her senior year.
After her win over Pli, Jeanjean said she was thinking about trying to play a few ITF tournaments.
With the win, Jeanjean is expected to move up. She would enter the top 120 if she defeated Begu. She is already a member of an exclusive club of athletes who have made the leap from DII to big league success. Some athletes have done that in the past.
It's hard to believe that a two-time Super Bowl champion and Pro Bowler didn't have DI interest, but he played at a community college in Mississippi. During his senior year, the future New England Pats defensive back was named to the all-conference team for the second year in a row, as well as leading the conference in passes broken up.
Before winning a world championship with the American 4x400 team and making the 2020 Olympic team by besting Allyson Felix at the Olympic trials last June, he was competing for Livingstone College in Salisbury, North Carolina. She was the first woman in DII history to win three consecutive NCAA outdoor 400 meter titles. She added the 200 meter title to her collection.
The two-time U.S. Open champion and eight-time winner on the PGA Tour didn't get his start at a golf powerhouse. He chose to play for Florida Southern, where he and Mediate helped lead the school to an NCAA Division II team title in 1985. After Mediate left, Janzen lifted the team to another championship and won the individual title. He won his most recent title at the SAS Championship in October.
While at Nova Southeastern, the Boston Red Sox's designated hitter played with a fellow All-Star and current St. Louis Cardinals pitcher, Miles Mikolas. During his final season with the team, he set a program record with 32 home runs.
The University of Nebraska at Kearney won the NCAA Division II wrestling national team title in 2008 and the individual national title in 2010 thanks to the help of the UFC champion and former Ultimate Fighter winner. After failing to qualify for the 2012 U.S. Olympic trials, he turned to mixed martial arts.
Wideman was a member of the Canadian softball team that won a bronze medal at the 2020 Olympics. She was named the Division II catcher of the year after leading the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference with a.454 batting average, 49 runs scored and a.535 on- base percentage.
The all-time MLS goal- scoring leader had Division I offers for track and field, but was largely under the radar for soccer. He helped lead the team to the national championship game. He was named the league's Most Valuable Player in 2012 and went on to have one of the most successful careers in MLS history. He retired in November.