Wimbledon ball boy

Appleton proud despite Wimbledon qualifying defeat

Emily Appleton believed there was still plenty to be proud of despite an opening round defeat at Wimbledon Qualifying.

Woking’s Appleton was up against world No.166 Carol Zhao, the Canadian having much more experience at this level of competition across her career.

On her Wimbledon debut the 23-year-old started strongly and was close to closing out victory in a second-set tiebreak, but Zhao rallied and ultimately claimed a 4-6 7-6(4) 6-4 victory to reach Round 2.

There was naturally some disappointment for Appleton after her defeat, but the world No.392 still took huge encouragement from the experience as a whole.

She said: “It’s my first Wimbledon qualies as a senior, so I just tried to soak in all the atmosphere and I thought my opponent got off to a good start. 

“Then I think my opponent settled in, started to play a bit better, and I pushed her all the way and I just couldn’t get it today. I’m pretty disappointed, but I guess I’ve just got to take it as an experience and hope to come back next year.

“The atmosphere was amazing. The crowd were getting behind me and it was getting busier and busier as the match went on. It definitely helped, especially when I was 4-1 down in the third, the crowd helped me to come back to 4-4. It was a really nice atmosphere and I was just happy to be there.

“If you told me this time last year that I would be here, I wouldn’t have believed you for many reasons. I’m working really hard on my singles and I’m just glad I was able to earn my wildcard this year, and I hope to be back next year.”

Though she tasted defeat on Tuesday, Appleton will still get the chance to play at Wimbledon next week.

She and longtime friend Jodie Burrage have received a wildcard into the women’s doubles, with the 23-year-old thrilled to get the chance to play at the tournament.

“It’s nice to get another opportunity to play, especially at the All England Club,” added Appleton. “It’s a real privilege and I’m just really grateful to the LTA and Wimbledon for the wildcard. 

“I’m really excited to play alongside Jodie. We played a lot together as juniors and she’s obviously doing really well at the moment, so it should be fun.”

For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA website

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