Katie Boulter sees the quality in women’s British tennis

Katie Boulter sees the quality in women’s British tennis

New number one Katie Boulter insists the standard of women’s British tennis is high despite a notable absence in the main draw at the recent French Open.

Boulter, who replaced Emma Raducanu as the highest ranked British player this week, was one of a number of players who missed out in qualifying at Roland Garros, meaning Britain was not represented in a women’s draw at a grand slam for the first time since 2009.

There are a host of players ranked outside of the top 100 and Boulter, who began her reign at the summit of the rankings with a routine 6-1 6-3 win over Emily Appleton at the Rothesay Nottingham Open, says the quality is there.

“I have come through British tennis for a long time and I have seen the ups and the downs and there is always going to be that,” she said. “We had a grand slam champion (Raducanu) two years ago and unfortunately this year she has got a few injuries and we wish her well.

“But we are in a place where we have the most amount of girls in between 100 and 200 that can really push on.

“For the first time we have that, we might not be top 100 right now but every one of us who are playing these tournaments can be and have shown that we can be. That is exciting and it’s a positive for all of us.”

Boulter will only remain number one if she reaches the quarter-finals in her home tournament this week and she is relishing the battle, with the likes of Jodie Burrage, Harriet Dart and Katie Swan also vying for the spot.

“How good is that? We have four or five girls who are playing some really good tennis and it is going to be extremely exciting for a lot of the British fans to watch over the summer,” Boulter added.

“I hope it can spur us on. I am a very process-orientated girl, I don’t think I am huge on watching what other people do, I have to stay in my own little bubble.

“I wish the girls the best of luck, I hope they get many, many wins over the summer, I’ll keep focusing on myself and we’ll find out who is going to be doing well.”

The tournament in Nottingham has been overshadowed by the tragic events in the city, where three people were killed and another three hospitalised, and Boulter sent her best wishes.

“I am staying at home, I am very lucky in that aspect,” she said. “Obviously it is awful to wake up to. I don’t really have much social media at the moment but a couple of people who are staying with me in my team told me there was a lot going on so my thoughts go out to all those people and I hope everyone can stay safe.

“Hopefully tomorrow is a better day.”

Both Dart and Burrage progressed to the last 16 with impressive wins.

Dart saw off Canada’s Rebecca Marino 6-4 6-2 while Burrage beat Tereza Martincova 7-6 (5) 3-6 7-6 (4).

However, Swan exited the tournament at the first stage, going down in three sets to Frenchwoman Alize Cornet, who won 2-6 6-1 6-4.

Elsewhere in the tournament, defending champion and recent French Open semi-finalist Beatriz Haddad Maia suffered a surprise defeat to Ukrainian lucky loser Daria Singer, going down 6-4 6-3.