Storm Hunter: “I have so much more to give”
Returning to the US Open as the defending champion in mixed doubles, Storm Hunter is also eyeing singles success in New York.
Storm Hunter has plenty of reasons to smile.
The 29-year-old Australian sits at a career-high world No.3 in doubles, having contested five finals and won 35 of her 47 matches so far this season.
Hunter has formed a strong partnership with Belgium’s Elise Mertens. They won the Rome title, finished runners-up at Wimbledon and are currently second in the Race to the WTA Finals.
The left-handed Hunter has also recorded impressive results in singles, winning 23 of her 35 matches. She qualified at both Roland Garros and Wimbledon, and posted a career-first main-draw victory at Grand Slam level in Paris.
“It’s been incredible,” Hunter said of her 2023 results. “I’ve had some dreams come true and I want to keep going.
“Qualifying for back-to-back Slams was a little breakthrough for me. I think that I have so much more to keep improving on, so that’s really exciting. That’s also what’s motivating me. I have a lot more to give and I really want to get inside the top 100.”
Currently ranked No.167 in singles, Hunter has received a wildcard into this year’s US Open. It will be her second main-draw singles appearance in New York.
It also marks the first time that Hunter, who has improved her singles ranking almost 90 places since January, has competed in the singles main draw at all four Grand Slam tournaments in a calendar year.
Hunter already has happy memories at Flushing Meadows, having scooped her maiden major title at last year’s US Open in the mixed doubles competition with compatriot John Peers.
She faces a big challenge in the opening round of the women’s singles competition though, where she’ll meet Czech Karolina Muchova, the world No.10 and Roland Garros 2023 finalist.
“I’m trying to not put too much pressure and expectation on my singles game,” Hunter said. “I’m just enjoying competing and enjoying the challenge.”
Hunter has not been home since February. It’s been a long stretch, but one made easier since husband Loughlin joined her on the road full-time mid-season.
“I’m really proud of the work I’ve put in this year,” Hunter said.
“I’ve being really lucky I’ve been healthy and I’ve been able to play most weeks.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been home, so I’m really using that for motivation. Every week trying to start fresh, and just have my goals set for the week and trying to achieve them. They are not results based, just how I want to go about the week and how I want to go about my tennis.
“It’s been a lot of hard work, not just this year, but over the years. Working, keeping my body healthy and improving my fitness, and improving my tennis. I’ve been chipping away with it, so it’s really nice that’s all paying off.”
Scheduling continues to prove a challenge, providing further motivation for Hunter to improve her singles ranking.
“If I’m doing well in doubles, then I tend to have to rush to get to the next singles tournament the next day,” she said. “It is really hard. I’m still trying to find the balance.
“I haven’t had as many singles matches as I would like. (But) I go out there and I never give up and give it my best shot.
“Even when they are only doubles weeks, I’m definitely on the singles court practising and trying to hit with the best players in the world to keep getting my level better.”
Hunter has recorded five top-100 singles wins so far this season, including victories against world No.22 Donna Vekic and world No.66 Camila Osorio in the past month.
“At the moment I’m really clear about my strengths on the court and just how I want to play,” Hunter said.
“The fact I’ve had some really good wins this season, it’s almost like giving me that positive feedback that my game can work and I can win a lot of matches.”
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