Francesca Jones overcame injury and ‘wee mental breakdown’ ahead of Australian Open qualifying
Great Britain’s Francesca Jones overcame a finger injury and a “wee mental breakdown” to reach the main draw of a Grand Slam for the first time.
The 20-year-old from Bradford booked her place at the Australian Open with a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Lu Jia-jing in the final round of qualifying.
Jones’ dominant display came days after she feared an injury would damage her performance levels.
What. A. Story.
— ITF (@ITFTennis) January 13, 2021
She said: “Before the first few days before my match, I was speaking to my coach and I was saying that my fingers had actually split from the cold in the UK and I couldn’t hold the racket too well on my forehand side.
“The forehand is my best shot so I had a wee mental breakdown before the match to be honest. It was a few days before the match and my fingers were still cut and I wasn’t sure how I’d be able to take advantage of my weapon.
“I think I was probably well prepared in terms of physically and mentally because I had a lot of time during pre-season and we worked really hard.
“I tried to trust the work that we did but I am quite a perfectionist so I do worry about the days that I didn’t hit the forehand exactly the way that I should have done or I wasn’t serving well.”
The British No 5 was born with a congenital condition that means she only has three fingers and a thumb on each hand, three toes on one foot and four toes on the other, but she does not feel that has held her back at all.
“I wouldn’t say I’ve ever reached a low point due to my syndrome. I stand by what I’ve said previously which is I try and use it as a positive and I see it as an advantage in many ways,” Jones said.
“I’ve definitely had to work a lot more on my physicality.
“Personally my challenge has been to put myself in a physical shape that prevents injuries. My feet work in a different way and that means I run differently, my balance goes through my feet and my toes in a different way.
6⃣0⃣ points won
6⃣ break points won
9⃣0⃣ % 1st serve win percentage
— LTA (@the_LTA) January 13, 2021
“For sure, I’ve always had a small grip and a really light racket and I am hesitant to change that because it’s worked well so far. I guess in the gym I’ve spent a lot of time trying to gain strength to support my muscles that can maybe support the weaknesses that I may have.”
She went into the game ranked 241 in the women’s singles, with Lu ranked 41 places ahead of her and with significantly more experience.
Jones was the only one of Britain’s five entrants to make it past the opening round of the qualifying events, which are being played in Dubai and Doha to limit the number of players travelling to Australia.
Rotterdam Open boss reveals delight as ‘one of his all-time favourite players’ Rafael Nadal joins field
Rafael Nadal will return to Rotterdam.
Roberto Bautista Agut says quotes comparing quarantine to ‘jail, but with WiFi’ was ‘taken out of context’
Roberto Bautista Agut issues an apology.
More coronavirus cases linked to arrivals for Australian Open
Australian Open boss said the safety of the Victorian community will not be compromised.
Big boost for LTA’s innovation drive as it signs deal with UK distributor of the Slinger Bag
LTA signs deal with Framework Sports & Marketing Ltd.
Australian Open chief defends Novak Djokovic over quarantine note, saying ‘they were suggestions’
Craig Tiley jumps to Novak Djokovic’s defence.
Quarantine remains in place for 72 players ahead of Australian Open
Two Covid-19 cases have been deemed viral shedding.
EXCLUSIVE – British Davis Cup captain Leon Smith recalls sitting next to Judy Murray as her son won Wimbledon
We talk to Leon Smith about his coaching journey.
Australian Open tension boiling over as players, pundits, ex-pros, fans involved in social media spats
It’s all kicking off on social media.
Roberto Bautista Agut slams quarantine restrictions saying ‘it’s like being in jail, but with WiFi’
“These people have no idea,” says Roberto Bautista Agut.
Victoria Azarenka pens thoughtful letter to tennis community urging them to ‘accept, adapt’
Victoria Azarenka calls for calm.