Jodie Burrage savoured her Centre Court debut as she looks to take invaluable lessons from her Wimbledon second round loss.
After a maiden SW19 win against Caty McNally on Monday, Kingston’s Burrage – who is supported by the LTA’s Pro Scholarship Programme – was handed a last 64 contest against 11th seed Daria Kasatkina.
Kasatkina reached a career high of eighth last October, and was runner-up at the LTA’s Rothesay International Eastbourne last weekend – as well as being a former quarter-finalist at the All England Club.
And if the occasion wasn’t already significant enough for the Brit, she and her opponent were handed the opportunity to open Centre Court action on Wednesday.
Ultimately Kasatkina’s grass-court guile and trademark consistency proved key, as she sealed a 6-0 6-2 victory in an hour, but the occasion still proved a memorable one for 24-year-old Burrage.
She said: “It was a good experience. Obviously, it’s not the result that I wanted.
“But all in all, you dream to be out on Centre Court. When I found out yesterday, it’s so exciting. In the same breath, you’ve got to deal with those nerves as well.
“I wish I could have settled a little bit earlier today. But you’ve got to go through these experiences to feel more comfortable in the next ones.
“There’s different ways you can go about it. I wanted to take it all in. I like using the crowd to my advantage as well. I just wanted to have a look about.
“It’s obviously a massive court, and I’ve never played on anything like that. So for me, instead of thinking it’s not a big deal, I wanted to embrace it. I feel like I did.”
Reaching the second round should still provide Burrage with a significant boost in the rankings, with it now looking more than possible that she will qualify for the main draw of the US Open.
And as she looks to get more matches in after SW19 following a stop-start season, there is plenty she can take from her contest against Kasatkina.
“She [Kasatkina] makes so many balls. Her serve isn’t the strongest serve on tour, you always feel like you can hit through her, you can get on top of the point, press a little bit. That’s what I really found in the first set,” added Burrage.
“She plays such long rallies. When you’re playing rallies, when I’m having to hit 10, 11, 12 shots, it is not easy. It’s not where I want to be. It’s just trying to figure out how to shorten those rallies.
“I did start to come in a little bit in the end, hit some good volleys. I just didn’t really have the confidence to stick in those rallies today.
“That’s what I think I’d be working on the next few weeks, is in those longer rallies feeling confident in myself, in my shots, that I can, and having to wait for the opportunity to be aggressive and press.”
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