Hampstead tennis star Dart is back fighting fit after win in return at UK Pro Series
- Credit: Archant
Harriet Dart is back fighting fit and revelled in getting off to a flyer in her first match at the UK Pro Series in Weybridge.
Hampstead’s star of Wimbledon in 2019 eased past British rival Freya Christie in the leafy Surrey suburb of St. George’s Hill Lawn Tennis Club, taking to the indoor courts with ease after previously competing in the Battle of the Brits in Roehampton.
The 24-year-old was struggling with a groin injury during lockdown but reckons those troubles are behind her as she eyes up a tilt at the maiden Pro Series trophy in Classic Week.
“I was struggling a lot with my groin so we were just trying to steadily build up - I did play lots of matches at Battle of the Brits but they were mostly doubles,” she said.
“I’m getting my fitness back, and it’s just match tightness - when you play a lot of matches you feel very confident going forward.
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“For me, it’s just about being able to get through this week, feeling good about my body and try and improve for these matches as they come.
“It was an amazing event that Jamie put on at the Battle of the Brits - it was unreal to be part of something so unique, and during these tough times it was nice to be able to come together and showcase the best of British tennis.
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“I was able to get two singles matches there, so this was great preparation for me coming into the event.”
Dart is one of the frontrunners among the 24 leading British players currently duelling it out at St. George’s Hill Lawn Tennis Club in the unofficial Premier League of tennis, who are split into two pools of six ahead of finals weekend on August, 15 and 16.
Dart got a wildcard for the event at the salubrious sporting location and is joined by the likes of Naomi Broady, Jodie Burrage and Eden Silva in the women’s draw and Arthur Fery, Alastair Gray and Liam Broady in the men’s.
The unique format was devised by Andy Murray’s coach Jamie Delgado in conjunction with sports media agency River Media Partners, with Delgado also a member of the LTA Professional Tennis Advisory Group and managing player liaison on the ground.
Dart loved stepping foot on the St. George’s courts for the first time but insists it’s just avoiding a repeat of those injury woes, not winning the inaugural trophy, that’s spurring her on.
“Being an athlete, you obviously have high expectations but for me, it’s just about trying to get through this week without picking up ay injuries,” she added.
“If I can sustain seven matches in seven days it’s going to be a great feat for me.”
12 of the UK’s top women and men have qualified through the UK Pro Series for the UK Pro Classic - www.ukproseries.com. The final 3 days of competition will have national free to air coverage: Freeview Channel 64, Sky Channel 422, Virgin Media Channel 553, TalkTalkTV Channel 64, BT TV Channel 64 and on download app FreeSportsPlayer.tv