London, Great Britain, 3 July 2023 | Vivienne Christie

It only takes the briefest glance at Daria Saville’s social media to appreciate that she loves to stay in motion.

Featuring everything from fashion to training tips and travel – but most of all her beloved dachshund, Tofu – it shows an outgoing 29-year-old who is constantly on the move.

So when Saville suffered a devastating knee injury while competing at Tokyo last September, the then-world No.55 Australian was immediately planning her next steps.

“I phoned (my husband and fellow professional player) Luke and told him I knew straight away what I had done,” Saville said of the injury, which was quickly confirmed as an ACL tear requiring surgery.

“I messaged my surgeon that day, I sent him the footage and I was focusing on my rehab straight away.”

It was with that same relentless energy that Saville also tackled her spare time off tour – her positivity all the more remarkable for the fact she’d also endured a major knee injury nine years earlier and battled an Achilles problem that kept her off tour for much of 2020 and 2021.

“I had perspective. I’m not someone who doesn’t think there are other things in life other than hitting tennis balls,” said the Melburnian, who experienced a more conventional working life as she accepted an administrative role with Tennis Victoria.

“I just wanted to do something different and have different responsibilities.”

Meanwhile, Saville was also working hard to return to the court. “My team around me have been very supportive, I am very grateful to Tennis Australia – there was a process from day one (and) I never felt lost,” she said.

“I have my physio, strength and conditioning coaches … they were trying to motivate me and saying it’s not going to take long, and once you do the first part of the rehab it’s going to be more entertaining and you are going to be able to do a lot more.

“That’s probably what kept me going.”

The approach was quickly validated in Saville’s return to the tour, when she claimed a three-set win over No.11 seed Madison Brengle in the first round of Birmingham qualifying.

And as she prepares to face Great Britain’s Katie Boulter in her seventh main-draw campaign at Wimbledon, Saville is simply delighted to compete.

“All the pressure is on her, I’ve nothing to lose, this is my second tournament back,” said Saville, who defeated Boulter in the only other match they contested in Adelaide qualifying last year.

“I will just go out there and compete as hard as I can and enjoy the tournament.”

Boulter’s Australian connection as the girlfriend of Alex de Minaur provides a fascinating twist in the  first-round encounter, with Saville laughingly relating that “Luke and Alex are good friends.”

> READ: De Minaur leading by example at Wimbledon

But facing a Brit only adds to her trademark enthusiasm, with the likelihood that their match will be contested on a show court.

“For me it’s like another opportunity to just play,” Saville said. “I’ve never played on any of the stadiums. Probably because of Katie it will be a nice court. I’m just looking forward to restarting my career again.”

And with her ever-present momentum, Saville is also thinking in the longer term, with her successful returns from previous injuries adding to her self-belief.

“That’s why I did rehab, I did it before and I got to a good level pretty quickly,” she said, when asked of the possibilities of occupying the game’s upper echelons.

“I still want to see how high I can get because I don’t feel I have peaked, I don’t feel I have hit my goals yet.”

> READ: Saville among five Australians in action on day two

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