From Covid to the Copper Box: Maia Lumsden relishes her ‘unbelievable’ return

By Sports Desk November 11, 2023

Maia Lumsden is relishing her “unbelievable” Billie Jean King Cup call-up 18 months after recovering from long Covid.

The 25-year-old Scot was bed-bound for several months after an initially mild bout of coronavirus in October 2020 turned into something much more debilitating.

She feared her career could be over but was finally able to make a tentative return to the court last spring and happily that turned into a full-time comeback.


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Maia Lumsden (@maialumsden)


Earlier this week, she was rewarded for an excellent season in doubles, including a run to the quarter-finals of Wimbledon, with a first call-up for Great Britain for this weekend’s play-off against Sweden in London.

“During that period, I didn’t think I would get back to playing for a while so to now be in the GB team’s obviously unbelievable,” Lumsden told the PA news agency.

“I feel like it hasn’t really fully sunk in, the last four weeks I’ve played four tournaments in a row, so I feel like it’s come around pretty quick.

“It’s a huge moment for me. It’s an amazing feeling to get selected for GB for the first time and get to be in this team with all the other girls is really cool. A lot of them are really experienced and have played a lot of ties so it’s great to be around everyone.

“The first time I saw professional tennis was the Davis Cup ties at Braehead (in Glasgow) so I’ve always loved team competitions and it’s been a goal to get in a team like this because that was what inspired me when I was younger.”

With Katie Boulter, Jodie Burrage, Harriet Dart and Heather Watson also in the team, Lumsden is unlikely to feature in a match, but it will still be a very proud moment for her family in the stands at the Copper Box.

“They’re going to come down to watch the tie,” she said. “I think everyone’s very happy, everyone close to me that saw those tough moments. It feels like a great turnaround.

“When things are tough at tournaments, I try to remember that they were a lot tougher before.”

Lumsden was one of Britain’s most promising juniors and had hoped for a top career in singles but, with her doubles ranking now at 74, making her Britain’s number one, her focus has switched.

The less physically demanding form of the sport has also proved a better fit, with Lumsden still wary of over-extending herself.

“When I was coming back, I was picking up small injuries, I guess because I was out for such a long period of time,” she said.

“Doubles definitely suits that a lot more. It’s easier physically. I can manage the loads more. Sometimes I still have a little bit more fatigue than I think’s normal. I am still careful with my training, I don’t push it too much.

“That was one of my goals for this year…just to try to do everything I can to stay healthy, to get a full season.”

Lumsden has formed a very promising partnership with fellow British player Naiktha Bains, and the pair will look to build on their progress in 2024.

Their run at Wimbledon made them the first all-British duo to reach the last eight of the women’s doubles for 40 years and Lumsden said: “It’s been really exciting.

“Having that breakthrough at Wimbledon was great, just allowing us to play in those bigger WTA tournaments. That changed the rest of the year. It’s been great to experience all these new things.”

Related items

  • Stefanos Tsitsipas beats Casper Ruud to win Monte-Carlo title for third time Stefanos Tsitsipas beats Casper Ruud to win Monte-Carlo title for third time

    Stefanos Tsitsipas brushed aside Casper Ruud to claim his third Monte-Carlo Masters title in four years.

    The Greek star took just an hour and 37 minutes to see off his Norwegian opponent 6-1 6-4 on Court Rainier III.

    Ruud dispatched world number one Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals but he could not repeat the feat as Tsitsipas once again produced his best tennis in the principality.

    The title winner, who has had to overcome a back problem, told the ATP Tour’s official website: “It has been very difficult, so to be back on the podiums, winning tournaments just feels amazing.

    “I can’t thank my family enough and friends – and if there is God out there – for making this moment possible. I am extremely grateful for every person behind this journey.

    “The third time is even more special than the first or second time. This is an unbelievable win for me. Capturing that win today was nerve-wracking. I really wanted this trinity. I am extremely happy today.”

    The 25-year-old 12th seed came out firing against the world number 10, breaking the struggling Ruud in the third game and clinching the first set at the second time of asking.

    He had to save a break point in the first game of the second set and then three in the seventh as the improving Norwegian pushed for a way back into the match.

    However, Tsitsipas then broke to edge himself towards the finishing line and complete a good afternoon’s work.

    He said: “I am glad I presented on court and showed some ruthless tennis. From the beginning to the end my play was cohesive and I was able to blend in a lot of different shots.”

    Meanwhile, Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz has withdrawn from the Barcelona Open due to injury.

    The world number three pulled out of the Monte-Carlo Masters with a right forearm problem and has not recovered in time to defend his title in his home country.

    A statement from the tournament read: “Carlos Alcaraz will not be able to defend the title he won the last two seasons.

    “The player from Murcia has suffered from the injury sustained in Monte Carlo, and did not have a good feeling in his training on Sunday and, despite having tried until the last moment, he will not be in the Barcelona Open.

    “Wishing you a speedy recovery, we hope to see you next year.”

    Fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal is scheduled to make his comeback from injury at the tournament.

    The 37-year-old has not played on the main tour since January due to a hip injury.

  • Novak Djokovic suffers first defeat to Casper Ruud at Monte-Carlo Masters Novak Djokovic suffers first defeat to Casper Ruud at Monte-Carlo Masters

    World number one Novak Djokovic suffered a first defeat to Casper Ruud as he was beaten in the semi-finals of the Monte-Carlo Masters.

    Norwegian Ruud delivered the biggest win of his career with a 6-4 1-6 6-4 victory to reach his second ATP Masters 1000 final.

    Ruud had never won a set off Djokovic in their past five meetings, but found his form against the tournament’s top seed to battle through to the final, where he will face Stefanos Tsitsipas.

    In a rematch of last year’s French Open final between the pair, Djokovic – who had appeared to struggle physically during his quarter-final win over Alex De Minaur – failed to find his usual high levels.

    Ruud, though, rose to the occasion on Court Rainier III to hold off a fightback from the Serbian in the final set, with Djokovic recovering from 4-1 down to level.

    The 25-year-old rallied to claim a third match point after Djokovic double faulted, completing a hard-fought victory in two hours and 17 minutes.

    Djokovic, meanwhile, sees his hunt for a first tournament win of 2024 continue.

    “I am super happy. This is a day I will remember for a long time,” Ruud told the ATP Tour website.

    “Beating a world number one is something I have never done and beating Novak is something I have never done.

    “I am very, very happy. I am a little bit in a state of shock right now.”

    Earlier, Tsitsipas had battled past second seed Jannik Sinner 6-4 3-6 6-4 and now has his eyes set on a third title in the Principality.

    “It was tennis at its highest level that I have been able to play,” said the Greek, who lifted back-to-back Monte-Carlo Masters titles in 2021 and 2022.

    “Jannik was an extremely-difficult opponent and it can be seen throughout the year so far.

    “He has been very consistent and I could see that throughout today with his game.

    “He is one of the toughest opponents I have faced so far and to find ways when there weren’t that many, I am proud of that.”

  • Emma Raducanu seals stunning GB win over France in Billie Jean King Cup Emma Raducanu seals stunning GB win over France in Billie Jean King Cup

    Emma Raducanu produced another dazzling comeback win to help Great Britain qualify for the Billie Jean King Cup Finals in stunning fashion with a 3-1 win over France.

    Anne Keothavong’s team were big underdogs ahead of the qualifier on clay in Le Portel and had lost to the same opponents in Coventry last year, but entered day two level at 1-1 after Raducanu’s impressive three-set victory over Caroline Garcia on Friday.

    Katie Boulter put her day one disappointment behind her to produce an excellent 7-5 6-0 win over world number 44 Clara Burel for a career-best victory on clay.

    It opened the door for former US Open champion Raducanu to send Britain through to the Finals later this year in Seville, but she was pushed all the way by Diane Parry in a pulsating contest that lasted two hours and 52 minutes.

    Parry won the first set but Raducanu, back in the team for the first time in two years following an injury-hit 2023, fought back to clinch a tremendous 4-6 6-1 7-6 (1) victory that not only sends her country through to the November Finals, but serves notice to her rivals ahead of the clay-court season.

    “To be able to put two matches like that back-to-back, three sets and on clay against really tough opponents, it’s just a testament to the work we’ve been doing,” Raducanu told the BBC.

    “I knew it would pay off eventually, so I’m very pleased that this weekend it was able to show.

    “On Thursday before the tie, we said how tough this would be but honestly I had a good feeling about the confidence of our team.

    “We have a very strong team and I am really pleased to have been able to score two points, but it helped so much having Boults this morning lead us to go 2-1 up.

    View this post on Instagram

    A post shared by Billie Jean King Cup (@billiejeankingcup)

    “And obviously everyone on the bench and the support staff, they’ve been working around the clock to keep us fit and get us back on court because we finished pretty late last night.

    “So, it’s a massive shout out. It’s not just me and Boults, it was everyone.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.