Storm Hunter: stepping onto the big stage | January 15, 2023 | All News | News and Features | News and Events

Storm Hunter: stepping onto the big stage |  January 15, 2023 |  All News |  News and Features |  News and Events

Impressed to begin tennis after watching Andre Agassi battle it out on the Australian Open, Storm Hunter is gearing as much as compete in the primary draw of her house Grand Slam for the fifth time.

Melbourne, Australia, January 15, 2023 | darren parkin

A Grand Slam title, a marriage and a wild card to the Australian Open important draw. This is not a nasty six months for Storm Hunter.

However the journey, and the foundations for that success, started way back for the 28-year-old from Rockhampton.

Hunter fell in love with the game on the age of six after watching the Australian Open on tv.

“My idol rising up was Andre Agassi,” she stated. “I began enjoying tennis as a result of he performed one of many first matches I watched, and after watching him on TV I needed to be knowledgeable tennis participant.”

Solak debuted on the skilled stage in 2008, shortly after his 14th birthday, and obtained his maiden title in 2013 as a teen.

This spectacular early improvement got here as a toddler moved a household from Queensland to Western Australia and needed to steadiness his training whereas competing on the ITF Tour.

Hunter made his first important draw singles Grand Slam look on the Australian Open 2014, returning in 2015 and 2016.

In early 2017, he doubled his major focus by taking a primary title at Nottingham after which making two extra finals earlier than the yr was out.

However a serious harm stopped his progress in 2018.

“I began having shoulder ache that was getting extra intense,” he defined.

“I performed the Aussie Open that yr with a concentrate on doubles solely, however after that I ended enjoying altogether and was mainly out for the entire of 2018.”

Following this harm, Hunter gained an ITF singles event in solely his second event (Playford Worldwide in South Australia) and gained one other doubles title in Thailand in early 2020.

> RELATED: Storm Hunter wins first Newcombe Medal nomination

The doubles profession has skyrocketed within the final two years and the singles sport can also be reaping its fruits.

He has reached 119th place within the career-high singles rankings within the final 18 months, certified for the primary Grand Slam important attract singles exterior of Australia (Roland Garros in 2021) and is now among the many prime 10 on this planet for doubles.

Nevertheless it’s in a workforce setting the place Hunter shines essentially the most.

On the 2021 Billie Jean King Cup Finals, she earned her career-to-date win over world quantity 18 Elise Mertens.

Twelve months later, he scored a hat-trick in opposition to top-ranked rivals Alison van Uytvanck, Viktoria Kuzmova and Heather Watson within the workforce occasion, pushing the Billie Jean King Cup document to 5-2 general.

Staff coach Nicole Pratt was among the many many observers impressed by Hunter’s efforts to speed up within the absence of injured Daria Saville.

“The storm was sensational. It actually was,” Pratt stated. Hunter later gained the Billie Jean King Trophy Coronary heart Award in recognition of her efforts all through the week. “His means to step up below stress and lead our workforce in each disciplines is one thing we’re pleased with.”

> RELATED: Storm Hunter receives Billie Jean King Cup heart award

For Hunter, the prospect to put on his nation’s colours and be round his friends is very valued.

“I like it. For me, I thrive on this setting, not simply on the sphere, however having the workforce round for the earlier week. Then after all with the ability to take care of them and get help and vitality from them throughout my sport,” he stated, explaining that he did his greatest to compete past the person realm.

“I really feel like I am representing Australia, so it takes away the person facet of tennis, which is what we have been enjoying for many of this yr.

“I believe the standings are flying. I do not take a look at what the gamers are doing on paper. I believe it is undoubtedly a unique stress to play in your nation.”

This devoted workforce focus is obvious in Hunter’s super double success in recent times.

He teamed up with Marc Polmans to achieve the Australian Open 2021 combined doubles last and teamed up with Ash Barty to achieve the quarterfinals of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Video games that very same yr.

He additionally reached the doubles semi-finals (and the singles quarterfinals in the identical event) on the Prague Open.

Final season he teamed up with Barty as soon as once more to win the Adelaide Worldwide, however the crowning second was nonetheless coming.

On the US Open, Hunter reached the ladies’s doubles semifinals with French associate Caroline Dolehide earlier than profitable the combined doubles title with John Friends.

When she married her longtime associate Loughlin Hunter in November final yr, she celebrated a landmark partnership of a unique form.

A wild card has been awarded to the Australian Open 2023, and he or she’s grateful for an additional probability after final yr main world quantity 7 Aryna Sabalenka to 3 units within the first spherical.

“Thanks to the Tennis Australia workforce for this nice alternative. I’m extremely grateful to have had the prospect to play at my house and I need to proceed enjoying on the identical stage I used to be in a position to play in the course of the Billie Jean King Cup.”

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