WTA

Britain’s Katie Boulter eager to build on her successful season in 2024

By Sports Desk November 13, 2023

Katie Boulter is so eager to build on her successes of this season that she will forgo a holiday and get straight back in the gym.

The 27-year-old capped a breakthrough year in which she won a first WTA Tour title and reached the top 50 by leading Great Britain to victory over Sweden in the Billie Jean King Cup in London.

Boulter cited her biggest achievement, though, as simply playing a full season having been beset by injuries and illness throughout her career so far.

Top of the Leicestershire player’s objectives is therefore trying to ensure the same is true for 2024, but she also has her sights set on being seeded at grand slams and proving she belongs at the top of the game.

“I’ve got a few different goals in my mind,” she said. “I want to build on this year, I really want to get my feet inside the line, which I already have but now I’ve got to stay there, I’ve got to win these matches week in, week out, beating the top girls.

“You reach your goal and you think you’d be satisfied but you’re not even close. I’m already looking at the next milestone, I want to be seeded in slams, that’s my next stop. I want to be constantly in the top 50, I want to be pushing those boundaries.

“No matter how happy I might be with my year, I actually think it fuels me even more and makes me hungrier going into next year because it’s given me a lot of belief that I belong at this level and I genuinely see and think that I can climb up the rankings but I also know there’s a lot of hard work to be done.

“I’ve got to pace myself but I want to be back in the gym, I want to be bullet-proofing my body as quickly as possible, taking the least amount of days off that I possibly can.”

Her new season will begin before the year is out at the United Cup, a mixed international team competition in Australia that will see Boulter go head-to-head against her Australian boyfriend Alex De Minaur.

She said: “We respect each other as competitors and also off the court as well. I’m sure we’ll talk about it when we get a little closer to it but we’re both going to put our heart on the line for our countries. I know he’s country proud, I know I’m country proud, so we’ll see if we’re still together by the end of it!”

Sweden were among the weakest opposition Britain could have faced, and a nightmare debut for Jodie Burrage, which left them having to come from behind to secure a 3-1 victory, was the obvious negative of the weekend.

Captain Anne Keothavong does have experienced players in her ranks, though, and Harriet Dart proved a solid pair of hands when she replaced Burrage on Sunday to wrap up the tie.

Both Burrage and Boulter have had the best seasons of their careers and sit in the top 100, leaving the national picture looking rosier than a period in the spring when there were no British women in double figures.

Keothavong hopes there will soon be competition, as well, from a crop of highly promising teenagers.

Isabelle Lacy, 17, was at the Copper Box as a hitting partner while there is real excitement around the futures of 14-year-old Hannah Klugman and 16-year-old Mingge Xu, who led Britain’s Junior Billie Jean King Cup team to the semi-finals last week, and another 14-year-old, Mika Stojsavljevic.

“The more of you competing at that highest level, the better,” said Keothavong. “You’re going to push each other, and it’s not just (these players).

“We’ve got Mimi Xu and Hannah Klugman, the girls did really well this week, and they’ve shown lots of promise over the last few weeks, scoring some good wins.

“I know they’re limited (by age) with the number of tournaments they can play but their level is up there and I think that’s really exciting for women’s tennis. We’ve got competition for places on this team and we’ve got players with experience who know how it works, but there’s no guarantee for anyone.”

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