's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands , 18 June 2023 | Ellen Perez

With a doubles semifinal run alongside Nicole Melichar-Martinez at Roland Garros, Australia’s Ellen Perez subsequently celebrated her top-10 debut. There are also impressive off-court accomplishments for the 26-year-old, who is both making the most of her tour travels and working hard on completing a sports management degree.

As I look back on my time in Paris and a doubles semifinal run with Nicole Melichar-Martinez at Roland Garros, it was a truly special two weeks. I had the pleasure of staying in an Airbnb located between Trocadero and Arc de Triomphe, which made the experience even more enjoyable.

The area was fantastic, with its proximity to various tourist attractions. It was refreshing to have some solitude and the freedom to do my own thing amid the hustle and bustle of the Grand Slam. Managing the chaos and preserving my energy was crucial during the tournament, and I feel like I did a good job finding the right balance.

> READ: Ellen Perez –Relishing a Roland Garros return 

As for the matches, Nicole and I encountered new and different challenges with each opponent we faced. With each round, our confidence grew, and we gradually became more comfortable with the clay. The tournament presented us with unique teams that employed various strategies, including a lot of two-back formations and intriguing dynamics. Meticulous game plan preparation was therefore essential.

Before the tournament, we were aware that clay was not our preferred surface given our respective game styles. However, we embraced the challenge and welcomed the opportunity to prove ourselves. As I’ve said before, we couldn’t have performed worse than last year’s first-round exit, which adds a touch of humour to our journey to the semis this year.

A new high

This week, I reached a career-high world No.9 doubles ranking. Cracking the top 10 is an accomplishment that fills me with a lot of pride and joy. It really puts things into perspective and shows me how far I’ve come.

I’ve had a lot of coaches and people in the past tell me I’m so talented and can do ‘x, y and z’ in tennis but that doesn’t mean you will achieve it and almost makes you question why you haven’t done so yet. Others around me believed more in my ability then I did, so to be able to prove it to myself and actually achieve it is really satisfying. It just shows me I can do whatever I put my mind to and stay committed in.

From clay to grass

And now we’ve transitioned from clay to grass, which is undoubtedly one of the more challenging adjustments on the tennis tour. These two surfaces couldn’t be more different in terms of their playing characteristics – clay courts are slow and high, while grass courts are low and fast.

One advantage of grass is that not many players feel entirely comfortable on it. As you adapt and adjust to the surface, so does the rest of the tour. As a left-handed player, I consider myself fortunate, as the lefty slider can be particularly effective on grass. I also enjoy approaching the net and utilizing my creativity whenever possible.

> READ: Ellen Perez – “I’ve learned how crucial it is to play the big moments well.”

The scheduling constraint of transitioning from Paris on Friday to playing in ‘s-Hertogebosch on Saturday was extremely tough. Nonetheless, I’m optimistic that with the week of practice and matches on grass, the rest of the grass season will only improve. Both Nicole and I enjoy the grass and believe that it complements our playing styles well. We eagerly look forward to what lies ahead in the upcoming tournaments.

Cherishing every moment

No matter where I am in the world, I always love to explore the city and experience activities. In Strasbourg I visited two escape rooms with some of the tennis girls. I also got a new tattoo during Roland Garros which I’m pretty stoked about. I got the number 55 on the inside of my arm as it’s a special number that started between my dad and I, and then throughout my life there’s been to many crazy coincidences involving the number, including it being my Billie Jean King Cup number.

I’ve actually started my final undergrad class, Finance3001, which is exciting because I’m so close to graduating with my degree in sports management. However, I can assure you that’s as far as the excitement goes. The course work is tough and probably going to limit how much exploring I do over the next two months. Wish me luck!

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