Melbourne, Australia, 20 January 2024 | Leigh Rogers

Storm Hunter’s magical singles run at Australian Open 2024 is over.

But rather than feel disappointed, the 29-year-old is proud of her efforts after gallantly extending world No.11 Barbora Krejcikova to three sets at Rod Laver Arena last night.

“It was a tough match. Really wanted to win that one, and I would say I had a few chances, but Barbora played some really good tennis under pressure,” Hunter said.

“I absolutely loved it out there. It was a lot of fun. Even though I didn’t get the win, this whole week has been a win for my singles I would say.

“I don’t want to look at it as disappointing because I enjoyed every minute. It’s not every night you get to play at Rod Laver Arena after Novak (Djokovic) and have all the fans out there. I’m definitely seeing it as a positive.”

The world No.180 came super close to achieving a 46-year first at the tournament, as the first Aussie qualifier to win three main-draw matches at the tournament since Christine Matison in 1978.

It’s an effort that has prompted many of Hunter’s peers, including Alex de Minaur and Ajla Tomljanovic, to implore the world No.1 doubles player to put a greater focus on singles.

“It’s definitely a consideration,” Hunter said of that prospect. “I wouldn’t say it’s a consideration right now. I think where my rankings are I can still kind of do both at the moment. There potentially may be that decision down the line, but for now, no.”

When asked why she has struggled with self-belief in her singles game, a candid Hunter offered an honest explanation.

“I think it’s just my nature. I just feel like I’m such a normal person that to be in this environment as a professional athlete and being the No.1 doubles player in the world, to play on that stage, it almost feels a little bit like it’s not for me in a way because I feel like I am so normal,” she said.

“I don’t feel that I have ever been this huge talent. I’ve always had to work hard for it.”

Hunter credits her recent doubles success for helping boost her confidence on the singles court.

“Obviously I’ve been around for a long time now on tour, so just having these experiences and having the experiences playing Slams and doubles that just, I think, naturally helps,” she said.

The hometown support provided added motivation for the Melbourne-based Hunter as well.

“It’s definitely easy when you have the crowd cheering you on and supporting you no matter what,” Hunter acknowledged.

“And that’s why I think playing at home in Australia, playing for Australia, it’s very easy for me to do that because I’m doing it not for myself, but for the country.

“I guess a lot of people would find maybe more pressure, but I actually find it easier. I kind of want to almost make everyone else proud and make everyone who has stuck by my side proud as well.”

Hunter’s attention now turns to her Australian Open women’s doubles and mixed doubles campaigns.

She does plan, however, to reconsider her singles goals post-tournament.

“This definitely gives me a lot of belief in my singles,” she said.

“We’ll go back and analyse and look at what we can keep working on and go from there.”

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