Resilient Fourlis excited to make US Open main-draw debut
After overcoming injury setbacks to produce career-best results this season, Australian Jaimee Fourlis has been rewarded with a US Open 2022 main draw wildcard.
As Jaimee Fourlis prepares to make her US Open main-draw debut, the 22-year-old Australian admits she was excited to discover her first-round opponent.
The wildcard entry was quietly hoping to draw 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams, who is contesting the final tournament of her storied career.
“It would have been cool to play on a big centre court, that would have been really fun,” Fourlis told tennis.com.au.
“But nonetheless, it doesn’t really matter who you play. You go out there to win.”
Fourlis instead faces Chinese qualifier Yuan Yue, a 23-year-old ranked No.142 and also making her main draw debut in New York.
It is a big opportunity for both players. Yuan is seeking a first Grand Slam main draw victory, while Fourlis is targeting a second – and first since reaching the second round as a teenage wildcard at Australian Open 2017.
World No.173 Fourlis is thrilled to return to Flushing Meadows, where she has twice previously advanced to the final round in the qualifying competition.
“I love coming back,” said the Melbourne-based athlete.
“I think the courts suit me pretty well here. The heat, as well. It’s just like back at home in Australia, so I think there are some similarities that play a part in why I do so well.”
Fourlis’ confidence is also high from her career-best season. The Australian Open 2022 mixed doubles finalist has captured three ITF singles titles and built a 42-19 win-loss record. After starting the year ranked No.329, she achieved a new career-high of No.147 in July.
“The goal I set was top 150 by the end of the year. I’ve done that in half the year, so now the next goal is top 100,” Fourlis said.
It has been a welcome return to form for Fourlis, who endured several frustrating seasons after undergoing a shoulder reconstruction in 2020.
Resilience is one of the biggest lessons gained from such challenges, as well as an appreciation for a strong support network.
“There are so many people that do their job to help me get to where I am,” Fourlis said. “I think that’s really important to mention, it’s not just me. I know I do end up being the one on the court and in the spotlight, but there are so many people behind the scenes that have helped me as well.”
With a determination to return to the Grand Slam stage inspiring Fourlis through her toughest moments, she’s naturally elated to live out her dreams in New York.
“You always have a goal and no matter what you do, you want to try and achieve that goal. So you always find a way, that’s what I’ve done the past couple of years,” Fourlis said.
“I’ve had a lot thrown at me as well, so just to be here and playing the US Open main draw, it’s a pretty cool experience.”
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