Maia Lumsden sees her appearance at Wimbledon qualifying as an added bonus on her return from long covid despite an opening round loss to Kathinka von Deichmann, writes Oli Dickson Jefford at Wimbledon Qualifying.
Glaswegian Lumsden, who benefits from the LTA Top 25 programme which allows access to the NTC courts and facilities for the top 25 ranked British male and female players on ATP/WTA rankings and have also benefited from the LTA’s enhanced Performance Competition Calendar that has provided more tournament opportunities in the UK this year, was beaten 6-3 6-2 by von Deichmann.
Having only returned to the tour earlier this year following a lengthy battle with the illness, the 24-year-old hailed her appearance as another important step after an encouraging display at the LTA’s Ilkley Trophy last week.
She said: “It was a tough one. I started quite well but I struggled on my serve, which let her back in a little bit. From there it was quite a frustrating one. I didn’t really manage to get my best tennis out there, but she did have a tricky game style so she was making things difficult.
“It was obviously something I didn’t expect, to be here. It was last-minute that my protected ranking got me in so for sure it’s a bonus just to be here and playing in it.
“Even at the start of the year, I probably wouldn’t have thought that I’d have been able to play the grass court season or this event.”
“Last week in Ilkley was good, to get a couple of match wins, because I’ve only played a few events and especially at the higher level I’ve not many matches in my comeback against higher-ranked players.
“It gave me some confidence getting some matches there, and also the doubles final was a good result for me as well.”
One of the biggest challenges Lumsden has faced since returning from her 18-month absence is accepting that it will take time for her to fully adjust back into tour life.
However, after a strong run of matches in recent weeks, she is optimistic about the opportunities available this summer.
Lumsden commented: “It’s difficult for sure. I have to be patient with myself. I’m not going to be able to play the level I want to straight away so that’s definitely the most difficult thing, to accept it will take time until I can come back to where I was before.
“It’s pretty much match-by-match for me. In the summer there’s five [ITF] 25Ks in England. I’m going to do all of those events and hopefully it’ll be a time I can play, get a lot of matches under my belt and just work my way up the rankings.
“I’m not necessarily having actual ranking targets, I’m just seeing how I go week-by-week.”
For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA Website