Leicester’s Katie Boulter is revelling in a change of perspective after sealing the best win of her career over Alison Riske at the LTA’s Rothesay Classic Birmingham, writes Oli Dickson Jefford.
Boulter, who is on the LTA’s Pro Scholarship Programme - the highest level of support for players aged 16-24 - secured a 6-4 6-3 win over Riske, one of the best grass courts specialists in the game.
The 25-year-old has battled multiple injury issues in recent seasons and having received a main draw wildcard, she believes a lack of pressure helped her secure the first top-40 win of her career.
Boulter commented: “I think for me it was a completely no pressure match. I can go out and play my best tennis, and enjoy being out on the court.
“I think these past few years have taught me a lot, where I just want to go out there, smile, have fun and maybe not take it a little too seriously. I think that really works for my game and I felt that I did that out there, I felt very comfortable and the work that I’ve put in started to show. I believe it’s going to come out and today it did. Hopefully I can build on that from here.
“Having gone through a lot of pain off the court, through injuries and what have you, I think it’s a change of perspective for me. To be someone who is a fighter, that is my best attribute and I know I can draw on that when I need to.
“I think a lot of it is a perspective change from the past few things that have happened to me.
“It’s a massive milestone, I’m definitely excited. I feel like I’ve gotten close to a few of the top players and never gotten over the line, and I feel like I can do. I feel like the game is there and that’s what exciting to me.
“I feel like I can go out on the court and compete with anyone out there. I just need to get a few more of those under my belt and really kick on and I feel like I’ll be in a good place.”
Boulter’s day couldn’t have been much better, having received a main draw wildcard for Wimbledon earlier in the day.
And with a further opportunity to play in front of a home crowd secured, she is looking forward to continuing her grass court campaign.
“I actually found out one minute before I went onto the court. I was scrolling through Twitter and found out I got a wildcard, I feel that maybe I was drawing on that today. I’m so excited. I can’t even express the words. I’ve already got so many great memories there [Wimbledon] and hopefully I can bring some more for sure,” she said.
“ I didn’t play Birmingham last year or the year before that so to actually be out there on that court, I love that court, it’s a beautiful court to play on, and to have a home crowd really get stuck into it, it helps me, it lifts me and I feel like they’re the matches I live for and I train for.
“That’s exactly why I’m out there.”