‘I can’t believe it’ – Katie Swan comes through qualifiers to reach Wimbledon
Katie Swan became the first British woman to come through qualifying at Wimbledon for 20 years with victory over Australia’s Arina Rodionova.
The 22-year-old, ranked 290, swept through the first set and held her nerve in a much tighter second to win 6-0 6-4 and emulate Karen Cross, who achieved the feat for the second time in 2001.
Swan, who has played at Wimbledon three times as a wild card, reacted with delight after the final point was won, and said: “I can’t believe it right now. I’m so happy to be in the main draw. It’s probably my biggest accomplishment in tennis.”
A stand-out junior, Swan has seen her progress in the senior game stall because of a succession of injuries, and she was playing her first match since May because of a thigh problem.
She feared she may be forced to miss Wimbledon, saying: “It was touch and go for a couple of weeks. I just did everything I could to be ready to play here.
“I haven’t played as much as I would have liked in the last year or so. It’s been a very tough year. My team around me, they know how hard it’s been for me. It’s so special to come through qualifying.”
Swan battled from 3-5 down in the third set to defeat American Caty McNally on Thursday but the first set against Rodionova was over in a flash.
The Australian, who had her thigh heavily strapped, took an injury timeout between sets and the second was much tighter, with Rodionova twice recovering from a break down.
Swan’s nerves were evident in the final game but her serve, a key weapon all day, held up well and she clinched her first match point.
“I knew after the first set it was not going to be as easy in the second,” she said. “She’s a great player, she’s very tricky and I knew she was going to bring out all the junk, and the way she plays is tricky anyway. I just had to stay focused and fight for every point.
“The occasion made me feel very nervous but I felt confident in myself. I made a couple of errors in that last game because my feet weren’t moving enough so I just told myself for every point use your feet and trust yourself, and that’s how I was able to come through in the end.”
Swan, who hails from Bristol but has been based in Kansas since her family moved over to the United States in 2013, was aware of the historical significance of the match.
She said: “I actually saw a tweet yesterday after my match as I was getting a massage and I said to Sam, the massage therapist, ‘Oh my God, I might be the first person to qualify in 20 years. No pressure.’
“I didn’t want to see that but I wasn’t thinking about it when I was playing. That’s a pretty cool achievement, I’m happy with that.”
Swan joins 14 other British players in the singles main draws, and she added: “I have no idea what’s going to happen next week but for now I’m just going to enjoy this with my team.”
Eyes of the world to remain on Naomi Osaka after her return to the spotlight
Now the 23-year-old must turn her focus back to the court, where she has not been seen in a competitive environment for eight weeks.
Novak Djokovic urges Tokyo 2020 officials to change schedule after opening win
Djokovic called for organisers to rethink the Olympic tennis schedule because of the hot and humid conditions in Tokyo
Naomi Osaka posts social media message after lighting the Olympic flame
Osaka lit the Olympic flame as the Tokyo Games were opened with an understated ceremony held behind closed doors.
Big win for Andy Murray as he starts his Olympics campaign alongside Joe Salisbury
Andy Murray and Joe Salisbury marked themselves out as medal contenders with a brilliant first-round performance
Former Olympian suggests Naomi Osaka has made her life more difficult after media boycott
Osaka is set to return to action for the first time since she pulled out of the French Open at the Olympics
Andy Murray reveals his daughter gave him inspiration after Wimbledon defeat
Murray revealed a chat with his daughter helped him reassess his Wimbledon disappointment as he targets an Olympic medal.
Novak Djokovic gives his pre-Olympics press conference as he targets a gold medal
Djokovic struck a confident tone ahead of his bid for a first Olympic gold medal in Tokyo.
Novak Djokovic handed tough Olympics draw as he practices with Andy Murray
Djokovic may have to beat Alexander Zverev and Andrey Rublev to reach the gold medal match in the Tokyo Olympics.
Andy Murray’s former coach on what happens next for the former world No.1
Alex Corretja urges Andy Murray to continue to play as long as he still enjoys it.
The ultimate guide to the best tennis trainers on the market
A look at the best tennis trainers on the market for players of all standards.