Jodie Burrage feared she would have to give up her tennis career three years ago – but now she is celebrating a first Wimbledon win.
Burrage, 24, contemplated hanging up her racket and going to university instead after undergoing a third ankle operation.
But a 6-1 6-3 win over American Caty McNally – her maiden success at SW19 after consecutive first-round exits – has likely catapulted the British wild card into the top 100 for the first time.
“I’ve dealt with a lot of injuries throughout my career, and a lot of people telling me that I couldn’t get to the top, that I wouldn’t be a player when I was younger,” she said.
“After my third ankle operation, my mind had decided that that was it. That was my tennis career done.
“But I somehow got back on the horse with help from family and friends, and my boyfriend as well, that really helped push through that not-so-nice time.
“To sit here saying I’ve won my first round at Wimbledon, hopefully going to be in the top 100 in two weeks, I was not expecting that, but I’m very happy that it’s happened.”
McNally was clearly hindered by a problem with her right thigh, which was heavily strapped, and Burrage broke her three times as she wrapped up the first set in only 22 minutes.
The world number 67 received treatment at the changeover and instantly improved, forcing a break after Burrage stopped to challenge a call which had clearly hit the baseline.
“I wasn’t happy with myself at all at that call but sometimes stuff like that happens. Unfortunately it was on a break point,” she added.
“But I think actually that fired me up a little bit. I was obviously annoyed with myself, but I used it in a positive way. ”
Burrage hit back with a double break, and converted a match point at the sixth time of asking to book a second-round meeting with 11th seed Daria Kasatkina.