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February 7, 2018

I’m in a good place and really looking forward to the rest of 2018.

Despite the results not going my way at the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the year.
In the singles I lost to Sabine Ellerbrock but I played some really good tennis, taking the first set 6-2.
The next two sets were tie breaks and the margins can be really small in those. I eventually lost 6-2 6-7(6), 6-7(4).
It wasn’t the result I wanted, it was the performance I wanted and my level was really good in this match.
In the doubles I paired up with Kgothatso Montjane of South Africa. We’ve had some really good results in the past together, sadly we lost 1-6, 3-6 to Marjolein Buis and Yui Kamiji, the eventual champions.
That was tough because I’d beaten Buis the week before in the singles at the Melbourne Open.
I partnered Yui to victory in the doubles at the Sydney International Super Series two weeks earlier, beating top seeds Diede de Groot and Aniek van Koot in the final.
Still, if I am beating women who have won Grand Slam titles, that tells me I have the ability.
The main thing is that I’m really enjoying my tennis again and feel like I’m improving.
The last six months of 2017 had been quite frustrating on court. I knew I’d find a way through it eventually to reach the right place again.

Tennis can be an emotional game, it’s important you feel good and that’s how I feel again now.

It’s worth remembering that I’m the most severely disabled player on the circuit by some distance, because I’m a T4 paraplegic. This comes with it’s own frustrations at times, as I’m closer to a quadriplegic than I am to the disability level of the other women who are on my circuit.
That means I have no core control because I have no use of my core muscles and I don’t have any hip movement to help manoeuvre the chair around the court. I have to be strapped in and leaning to reach balls is restricted by my straps.
You could say I’m at a disadvantage against all my opponents from the start.
If there were the kind of disability classifications in tennis that you see in other Paralympic sports, it is fair to say that I’d probably be cleaning up in my class.

In fact it has been said by USA player, Bryan Barton,

“pound for pound and taking into account my disability, I’m the best player in the world”.
That was nice to hear and of course a great boost to my morale.
There is a big debate behind the scenes about introducing more classifications and now they reckon they will decide after the Tokyo Paralympics.
This comes with it’s own ramifications.
In terms of the Paralympics a new division would require a new division in Grand Slams Tennis which will no doubt take time.
And why, some ask, should they have more classifications, when I’m apparently showing there is no need?
I can see the arguments on both sides, however I do truly believe that further classifications would help to grow competitive wheelchair tennis.
Anyway, that debate is for the future. Right  now I’m preparing for a tournament in sunny Bolton, England.
Then I’m going off to the USA for a new tournament in Atlanta.
So there is lots to play for! I’m currently ranked World No. 7 in singles and 5 in doubles, so I’ll be going all out to climb the rankings once more.
Off the court, I’ve also been nominated for the Shaw Trust’s prestigious Disability Power List.
Thank you to Wimbledon Debenture Holders for being one of those who nominated me and I’ve made the shortlist for the British Paralympic Association Athletes’ Commission.
It would be great to see Wheelchair Tennis represented there.
It’s all good for morale, I’m feeling very positive, and let’s see if that translates onto the tennis courts once more.
I’ll keep you posted!
Lucy x
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