Katie Swan says her solid grass court season can form a springboard for an exciting summer in America leading up to the US Open.
The Bristol player, who is supported by the LTA’s Pro Access Programme, succumbed to a straight sets defeat against Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic in the first round at Wimbledon on Monday.
Playing in front of a packed-out crowd on SW19’s prestigious Court 2, the British No.6 rallied resiliently but was unable to battle past the tournament’s 14th seed as Bencic, 26, completed a 7-5 6-2 victory.
Swan, 24, reached the final of the LTA’s Lexus Surbiton Trophy earlier this summer and was awarded a Wimbledon wildcard along with fellow British players Katie Boulter, Jodie Burrage, Harriet Dart, Sonay Kartal and Heather Watson.
She refused to be downbeat about her All England Club departure and insists she can take valuable momentum into the hard court season as she bids to qualify for the US Open for the first time in her career.
“This one definitely hurts today, but I will move on from it and take what I can,” said Swan.
“I played some really good tennis over the grass court season and I’m looking forward to taking that into the hard court season.
“The great thing about tennis is you can always play another tournament next week.
“My next moves will be to the US. I will probably do a couple of weeks out there training and then start playing a bunch of tournaments and lead-up to US Open on the hard courts.
“I was excited when I saw the schedule. Court 2 is the biggest court I have played on here, so I was really looking forward to it.
“I was so nervous 10 minutes before I walked on. I felt like my whole body shaking, but I was actually quite pleased with the way that I started, considering, and kept it tight pretty much all the way through that first set.
“I had chances, as well. I just didn’t play well enough in the big moments. But she’s a great player and I knew it was going to be tough.
“There’s positives to take from it and also lots to learn and take forward.”
Swan pushed Bencic all the way throughout the opening set and broke the Swiss star to go 3-2 ahead. But Bencic, who has reached the last 16 at SW19 on two previous occasions, broke back immediately to race back into the lead and seize a one-set advantage.
Swan delivered a defiant display throughout the second set and despite going close to grabbing a crucial break at 4-2 down, was unable to serve to stay in the match in front of a supportive home crowd.
She added: “It was just a few things here and there that I think if I had been a bit sharper, put a bit more pressure on her serve.
“I missed too many second serve returns, and if I had done more with that, then the match could have been different.
“But that’s the way it goes sometimes. You just have to take what you can from it and move forward.
“The crowd were great – I love playing in front of the home crowd and it’s just a shame I couldn’t get a win today.”
For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA website