Dart vows to return to Wimbledon by right next year

Harriet Dart (left) was beaten by Karolina Pliskova in round one at Wimbledon (pic: John Walton/PA)

Harriet Dart (left) was beaten by Karolina Pliskova in round one at Wimbledon (pic: John Walton/PA) - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

British hope beaten in first round by former world number one Karolina Pliskova

West Hampstead’s Harriet Dart vowed to return to Wimbledon by right after her valiant three-set defeat to Karolina Pliskova.

The 21-year-old Londoner shook off a nasty-looking leg injury to push seventh seed Pliskova all the way on the opening day in SW19.

World number eight Pliskova eventually prevailed 7-6 (7/2) 2-6 6-1, but wild card Dart admitted she can take confidence from her performance.

Asked if she will set about bidding to return without needing a helping hand, 171st-ranked Dart said: “Yeah, definitely my short-term goal is to try to get my ranking up. That’s really what I try and focus on. Obviously I would love to be back here.

“This year I’ve been very fortunate that I had a wild card into this tournament. I was very excited. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience.”

Dart would need to be in the top 108 by this time next year to earn a place in the draw without having to compete in qualifying or rely on another wild card.

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She mixes her tennis with studying for a distance learning forensic psychology degree with the Open University.

The £39,000 in Wimbledon prize money will offer a sizeable boost as she eyes another step up the rankings.

“I have a lot of expenses that I incur; week-to-week I have my travel, my flights, my food, my accommodation,” said Dart.

“If I take a coach with me, I have all my coach’s expenses. For me it’s just being able to get by, reinvest it into my tennis.

“I haven’t done quite the sums, all the numbers to put forward in that sense. We’ll see. Obviously we’ll be looking to take my coach (on tour) a lot more with me.”

Dart recovered from the leg injury caused by a baseline slip to steal the second set, but her failure to convert three break points at the top of the decider handed all the momentum back to her seasoned opponent.

Asked about the nature of her injury, Dart said: “At this moment, I’m not quite sure what it is. I’ll see later.

“It was a tricky fall. I had to get off-court treatment, as you saw, and we’ll assess later. I was just really trying to focus on trying to keep playing.

“I think I played pretty well. It’s my first time playing here in the main draw singles. Obviously disappointed to lose, but many positives to take forward.”