Emily Appleton impresses in two pro tennis events on return to UK
By Mark Ashenden
Last Updated: 14/02/18 10:17pm
Improving her language skills, appearing in three finals and winning a doubles title made it a stunning trip to the French Caribbean islands in January.
Temperatures may have plummeted for rising tennis star Emily Appleton with a return home to England, but her education on the pro circuit shows no sign of slowing down.
The 18-year-old Sky Sports Scholar on a welcome return home and facing the sister of a men's Wimbledon champion.
After a long stint of travelling and being away from home it was a nice relief when I touched down in London at the end of January.
The cold bitter weather has come as a bit of a shock to my unacclimatized body though!
Because of my schedule, I was only able to spend one day at home because I had to fly to Glasgow the day after to prepare for my next competition.
It may have been a short time at home but it was wonderful to catch up with some friends and family I hadn't seen in a while.
My first tournament back in the UK was in Glasgow and I knew it would be a very tough event.
It's a level up from those that I normally play and so I was treating the matches as developmental and ones to gain experience.
In my first singles match, I was up against a very experienced Bulgarian who had been ranked 130 in the world and had beaten some top players.
I lost the first set despite it being pretty close and missed out in a tight second set despite having plenty of opportunities. I couldn't quite do it and lost 6-2 6-4.
Nevertheless, it was a great match to play and made me realise I am not far away from this level at all and it really inspired me to continue working hard to get up there.
After Scotland I was off to Loughborough for the second pro tournament in the UK.
Other than Wimbledon and the tournaments leading up to it in the summer, it is rare to play so often in the UK and so it was nice to play somewhat locally during these two weeks rather than having to travel further afield.
I was feeling extra confident in my game for this second tournament after Sky had sent through some patches to put on my kit so I felt very proud to be representing not only myself but also the company as a Sky Sports Scholar!
First up in Loughborough was Michaella Krajicek who is the sister of Richard Krajicek (1996 men's Wimbledon singles champion). She has been as high as No 30 in the world and so I was ready for a big battle!
Despite again having chances and being 5-4 30-0 up in the first set, I eventually lost out 7-5 6-4. It was another great match for me though and I was happy to have played to a high level.
Although I came away from these two weeks with some early losses I really believe they have been useful to see what I've got to do to compete at this higher level more consistently.
I was not far away from these girls at all and so my performances really encouraged me.
I don't have a lot of free time but whenever I'm home I help out with the kids' tennis programme at my local club - St George's Hill Lawn Tennis club. It's such an enjoyable and rewarding thing to do.
My next event is in Italy and so I'll be training hard for that and I'm even more excited for the summer so I can play on home soil again for the start of the grass season in the Wimbledon build-up!