Wimbledon doubles defeat will drive West Hampstead’s Dart
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Youngster enjoys SW19 debut, despite first-round exit
Although her Wimbledon debut may have been short and sweet at just under 90 minutes long, West Hampstead’s Harriet Dart insists the experience has provided her with plenty of motivation to return to the famous grass courts again.
Dart and partner Katy Dunne were part of an all-British affair as they took on compatriots Heather Watson and Naomi Broady in the first round of the women’s doubles.
It was always going to be a tall order for Grand Slam debutants against a duo who reached the third round last year.
But they were certainly not overawed by the occasion before class and experience told as Watson and Broady won 7-5, 6-4.
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Dunne goes on to compete in the mixed doubles later in the Championships but for Dart, her Wimbledon experience is over for 2017 – although the memories will continue to burn bright.
“It’s an amazing experience, we both put it all out there. Really it was a matter of a few points here and there,” she said.
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“They have played here many times and they have a lot more experience than us and maybe that showed a little bit out there.
“But playing the major of a slam, singles or doubles, it’s a big achievement. It’s where we both want to be and next year I want to be in the main draw for both.
“Just to be around the tournament and the atmosphere really motivates me to get there again.
“At this level, you can’t afford to make silly errors. These players don’t give anything away.
“It’s about consistently producing a level and being able to sustain that all the way through and that’s why people are ranked the way they are.”
At 20 years of age, Dart is only just starting out on her tennis journey compared to 25-year-old Watson, who competes in the women’s singles third round, and 27-year-old Broady.
She lost six months of playing between October and March due to a serious hip injury and a bout of pneumonia.
But now back and competing regularly, Dart – who flies out to Kazakhstan for a tournament at the end of next week before flying to China for another where she will spend her 21st birthday – concedes it is important not to rush her progress.
“I just want to try and pick up as many matches as I can and not get injured, that would be nice,” she added.
“It’s really hard to go out without a few niggles as obviously the season is pretty long.
“I had six months off so it’s quite a lot of time missed. This year has been about getting enough rest between the tournaments and managing it better and touch wood it’s going okay at the minute.”
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