Jodie Burrage adding to the momentum behind Brits ahead of Wimbledon
When Jodie Burrage steps on court against Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko at Wimbledon next week, she’ll be riding a wave of confidence.
Few would have predicted that the 23-year-old from Kingston, who is on the LTA’s Pro Scholarship Programme – the highest level of support for players aged 16-24 – would have made quite the impact she has ahead of her second appearance at the All England Club.
Most notably, she beat world No.4 Paula Badosa – an opponent 165 spots above her in the rankings – in straight sets at the LTA’s Rothesay International Eastbourne.
However, her success started when she reached the biggest semi-final of her career at the LTA’s Surbiton Trophy at the beginning of June, backing that up the following week with a maiden WTA-level win over Lin Zhu at the LTA’s Rothesay Open in Nottingham.
Then came a run to the biggest final of her career to date at the LTA’s Ilkley Trophy, where she beat two seeds and fellow Brit Sonay Kartal before being beaten by top seed Dalma Galfi in a three-set final.
That was followed by career-best wins over Petra Martic and Badosa in Eastbourne – not that Burrage was too preoccupied with Badosa’s pedigree.
“To be honest I took her name and who I was playing out of the equation,” said Burrage. “I just played the ball, I didn’t play anything else, and that’s what I’ve been doing the last few matches, that’s how I got through those tight moments.
“It was the biggest win of my career. I’m just taking the confidence from the last three weeks into these matches and that’s what’s been getting me through, along with the mental and physical work the last few months. It’s all paying off now.”
Her Eastbourne campaign came to an end in the following round to the in-form Beatriz Haddad Maia, ending a physically demanding run of eight matches in eight days.
Hop, skip & a SMASH
— LTA (@the_LTA) June 22, 2022
Burrage commented: “I’ve actually played eight days continuously, as in Ilkley I made the final there and then had to drive down Sunday night and play on Monday. It has been very tough on my body, but it’s been for a very good reason – as I’ve been playing a lot of matches.
“I’ve had a really good week this week. After how I was feeling after a six-hour drive down I wasn’t sure if I was going to be in this form, so to get through two matches, I’m over the moon with it.
“I’m going to do a bit of physical work on Friday and then hit Saturday and Sunday, I think that’s where I’m heading.
“I’m a little knackered right now but I’ll be fine for Wimbledon, and to be fair the adrenaline has been getting me through these matches anyway, so it will be the same at Wimbledon as well.”
Burrage’s journey, not only on grass courts but on tour as a whole, has not been smooth sailing.
Three years ago in Surbiton she sustained a serious ankle injury at match point down in the opening round, and then struggled to return amid covid.
However, her hard work to battle back onto tour was rewarded with a wildcard into both the singles and doubles at Wimbledon last year, and she has once again been handed a wildcard for SW19.
She’ll play alongside Eden Silva in the doubles while in the singles she’ll be looking to build on her recent confidence and better last year’s opening round defeat to Lauren Davis.
Considering her recent level, few would bet against her making a significant impact at the All England Club.
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