“I feel like it’s definitely one of the days I’ll remember forever, playing in my home town in front of all my friends. I still can’t believe it honestly.”
Maddison Inglis proved her potential on a dream day at Perth Arena.
The 19-year-old Perth local only found out at 8.30am Tuesday 2 January she’d be in Mastercard Hopman Cup action, after Naomi Osaka was forced to withdraw from her singles match for Japan with illness.
Inglis defied her ranking of No.771 to present powerful American CoCo Vandeweghe a stern test.
The world No.10 required two attempts to serve out the opening set, as Inglis stepped inside the court with brave shot-making against the 2017 Australian Open semifinalist, before Vandeweghe closed out the 7-5 6-2 victory.
“I was lucky enough to hit with her the last few days so I could get used to her pace, and her serve,” revealed the local charge. “That was pretty lucky because I wasn’t shocked when I went out there.”
Having spent the past week practising and putting in the hard yards with world class players, Inglis is eager to incorporate facets of their tennis into her own game.
“I definitely like how CoCo plays, how she’s so aggressive and her big serve. I use her serve to work on mine. It’s good to get a few pointers from the players,” added Inglis, stating a certain Roger has the shot she craves.
“Probably Federer’s serve. I think that everyone in here can say that. It’s kind of surreal to be around a player like him.
“I want to be a pro so it’s been a really inspiring week. I want to represent Australia one day. Not Japan,” joked the Aussie teenager, who prevailed in the mixed doubles alongside Yuichi Sugita, in a three-sets triumph over player-coach combination in Vandeweghe-Pat Cash. “Even though it was really fun here.”
It was rather apt that Perth Arena hosted such an occasion for Inglis: “I’ve come to Hopman Cup since I was about 10 years old,” explained Inglis. “Mum couldn’t be here today. She’s in Melbourne with the rest of the family watching my brother in a motorsport race, so she was a bit upset, but she watched on an app at the airport.”
It’s been a steady progression for the Perth prospect ever since she won the 2016 Australian Open wildcard play-off and now Inglis wants to utilise this Hopman Cup experience as another Launchpad.
“It’s amazing. It’s such a good week. I’m so lucky to be involved and lucky that tournament director Paul (Kilderry) chose me,” added the world No.771. “Definitely not a week to take for granted.
“I had a bit of a weird year last year,” continued Inglis. “I had about seven months off. This year I’m just going to play tournaments while I’m fit, healthy, young and while I can to build up my ranking and see where it takes me.”
Written by Alex Sharp