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Katie Boulter: British No 1 has her sights set on the world’s top 10 as she prepares for French Open



Katie Boulter has her sights set on the world’s top 10 and is hoping her success can help inspire more female coaches in tennis.

The 27-year-old from Leicestershire is enjoying the best period of her career, having soared from outside the top 150 to a high of 27 in the rankings in less than a year, winning WTA Tour titles in Nottingham and San Diego along the way.

Previously, Boulter’s trajectory had been a story of periodic highs amid long spells out of the game through injury and struggles to break through the lower levels of the sport.

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Boulter and Alex de Minaur head to the park to discuss the early stages of their relationship and how life has changed in the past year

Now she is a clear British No 1 and seeded at a Grand Slam for the first time at the French Open, although she faces a tough task against former world No 2 Paula Badosa in the opening round.

“When I was 150, I think it was actually tougher to be motivated. After Nottingham last year, I really don’t think I’ve ever been more hungry to succeed,” said Boulter.

“Of course I’m happy and I’m doing well and I’m getting closer to where I want to be, but I genuinely think I have a chance of being inside the top 10, I think my game can be there, so I struggle to be satisfied sitting at 27 in the world.

“It’s great I’ve got that number by my name and no one can take that away from me, but I want more.”

Boulter’s San Diego success was a real statement as she defeated five top-40 players to win a WTA 500 level event for the first time, while it meant a double celebration in her household after boyfriend Alex De Minaur lifted the ATP trophy in Acapulco the same week.

Encouraging signs for Boulter

What a season it has been so far for Boulter, who has climbed into the top 30 on the back of a second WTA Tour title in San Diego in March

She is seeded at Roland Garros despite this being her first main draw appearance – an indication both of her rapid rise and her previous aversion to clay

The 27-year-old is still much more at home on faster surfaces but has shown some encouraging signs on the red stuff

Boulter calls for more female coaches

Greater physical durability has been at the heart of Boulter’s rise, but another key factor has been her partnership with coach Biljana Veselinovic.

Female coaches remain a rarity even on the women’s tour and one of the headlines from Boulter’s San Diego final victory over Marta Kostyuk was that both players are coached by women.

“Having a female coach is something I’ve not really had before, besides my mum,” said Boulter. “It’s a very positive environment. She’s very caring, very motherly and sometimes in the tough moments that can really help you.

“I would love to see more of it. Even the other day I saw one of the guys working with a female fitness coach and I love to see it. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t have that. It’s great for our sport. It does help on the WTA Tour, I really think that.”

Travel and unsociable hours make the job difficult to combine with family life, but Boulter believes Veselinovic can be an inspiration by helping to show the way.

“During Miami, Biljana had a female coach shadowing her, which was great to see,” said Boulter.

“They’re trying to push more women into those environments, which is awesome. The more time you can spend in it, the more you can get comfortable in that environment – it can be probably quite daunting.

“I think it’s very important to have people who are role models and can show the path. Billie’s been amazing with that, she has always been willing to help and I think that’s where she’s a true leader.”

Tackling the red dirt a challenge

A new challenge for Boulter this season has been properly tackling clay. She remains much more comfortable on grass and hard courts but is willing to give clay a proper go.

“I stayed as far away from it as possible because of my body,” she said. “I didn’t want to add any other aspects that would change things for me.

“Probably not many people know this, but during Covid I decided to spend the majority of my time playing on clay. I wanted to get comfortable on it.

“It’s something very fresh for me and, having been playing on tour for quite a while, you don’t get that many weeks where you haven’t been to tournaments before.

“I think where my success has come from is finding different ways to win rather than just using the power that I have and that’s one of the biggest things on clay. I do really feel like I can play well on it. I’ve just got to be patient with myself.”

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Boulter reveals which five guests she would invite to a dinner party. Listen to the full episode here on the Sky Sports Tennis podcast

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