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The remarkable rise of Katie Boulter and what comes next for British tennis star

Boulter beat five top-50 players en route to the title in San Diego last week and has risen to a career-high ranking of world No 27

George Sessions
Monday 04 March 2024 14:01 GMT
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British tennis star Katie Boulter thanks boyfriend for support after winning title in San Diego

Katie Boulter has stormed into the top 30 of the WTA rankings for the first time after she claimed San Diego Open success.

British No 1 Boulter recovered from a set down to beat Marta Kostyuk 5-7 6-2 6-2 to clinch a maiden WTA 500 title.

Here, we look at the rise of the new world No 27 and what comes next for her:

Always destined for stardom?

Boulter has been a prominent name in British tennis circles since her teenage years and followed in the footsteps of her mother Susan by picking up a racket to represent her nation at junior level.

A breakthrough Wimbledon in 2018 – where she tested Naomi Osaka – appeared the catalyst for the tall right-hander to kick on in her development after she reached 82 in the world but a serious back injury a year later curtailed her progress.

Road to recovery

The spinal stress fracture in Boulter’s back forced her to miss the majority of 2019 and when she was finally fit again, the coronavirus pandemic sent the world into lockdown.

After the tennis season did resume, minor injuries halted the momentum of Boulter, who won a low-level ITF event in Grenoble at the start of 2022 before a leg issue saw her sit out the clay-court season.

Second Wimbledon breakthrough

Boulter recovered in time to achieve a grand-slam best result with a run to the Wimbledon third round after victory over former world No 1 Karolina Pliskova.

The next big challenge was to improve the robustness of her body after she built a strong team around her, which included coach Biljana Veselinovic and she kicked off 2023 with a number of fine displays in ITF tournaments. She beat compatriot Jodie Burrage to seal Canberra success before she made another two finals in Japan in May.

Maiden WTA title

The 2023 grass-court season started with Boulter making the last four at the Surbiton Trophy before she beat a string of compatriots to seal Nottingham Open success for her first victory at WTA 250 level.

It was followed by third-round showings at both Wimbledon and the US Open to cap off an excellent year. The 27-year-old’s new-found confidence was on display for Great Britain at the United Cup in December where she got the better of top-five player Jessica Pegula before going all the way in San Diego.

Can she surprise at Indian Wells?

There will be little time for Boulter to celebrate the biggest victory of her career or the Mexican Open success of boyfriend Alex De Minaur, with both set to play in the women’s and men’s editions of the WTA 1000 tournament BNP Paribas Open, which starts this week.

British No 1 Boulter enters after beating five top-50 opponents in San Diego to take her season record to 11 wins in 14 matches. A key feature of her form has been the Briton’s composure in crunch moments after she recovered from a number of first-set double-faults to beat Kostyuk and she will fancy her chances of causing a splash in Indian Wells with her booming forehand a match for anyone right now.

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