South Walton state champ surging in tennis world rankings

DESTIN, FL (WJHG/WECP) - Life on and off the tennis court was business as usual for Alexa Guarachi...until this summer.

"It's a really kind of surreal. I'm just kind of running with it," Guarachi said during a workout in Destin.

She's running all over the globe. First, a stop in London for her first Wimbledon appearance, then to Switzerland for her first WTA win.

"I know I have a chance in every single match that I play."

It's true.

Two weeks ago, another finals appearance at the Citi Open in D.C. She's so busy, there's almost no time to think anymore. Just a few years ago, this all would have been unthinkable.

"I didn't really believe it for a while, if I was good enough. You kind of always question that."

She a state champion at South Walton and First Team All SEC at Alabama. Everyone else knew she was good.

By 2015, Alexa says she finally started to believe it herself, until a torn ACL and meniscus threatened to knock her out of the sport for good.

"It was really tough for me. I was at my career high in rankings at the time. I felt like I was making moves. Having that happen was like, is this a sign I need to quit? What's next for me? Do I have it in me to come back?"

Now she's back and better than ever. At the time of her injury, Guarachi was ranked 200 in the world in doubles. Now's she's 74 and continuing to rise.

"I'm so confident. Wimbledon was a great opportunity. It gave us the opportunity to be around the best in the world, and you see day in and day out what they doing, how good they are. When you see them on the court, you realize you're as good as they are."

What a difference a few years, even a few months makes...for better or for worse.

"You realize that these moments can come and go and you don't know what's going to happen tomorrow."

Guarachi has big, but attainable goals. She wants to become a fixture at Grand Slams and qualify for the 2020 Olympics with Chile, her father's homeland (where she's a big enough star now to meet President Sebastian Piñera).

Her goal on a daily basis is to enjoy this while it lasts.

"Sometimes you need to remind yourself. Sometimes in the big situations you get a little nervous, but then if you realize it and take a deep breath, tell yourself to relax and have fun."

Another big moment awaits at the end of the month, when Guarachi hopes to begin doubles play at the U.S. Open.

Doing what you love every day.

What's more fun that that?