EMILY WEBLEY-SMITH’S Wimbledon dream is still alive despite suffering a wrist injury just weeks before the prestigious All England Club event.
The Thornbury-born tennis ace was forced to sit out of last week’s AEGON trophy at Nottingham and has also missed this week’s tournament at Edgbaston Priory but is due to play in the Wimbledon qualifiers at Roehampton next week.
A scan two weeks ago revealed a tear in her wrist, but Webley-Smith was back in training on Tuesday and felt no pain.
She was disappointed to get injured so close to Wimbledon and admitted: “I’m pretty upset about it, it’s the worst possible timing. It’s my favourite time of year and most important.”
Webley-Smith qualified for Wimbledon in 2004 and reached the second round before losing to seeded American Amy Frazier.
She has lost in qualifying in previous years but believes the experience of her wildcard play-off win five years ago can put her in good stead to make her second home Grand Slam.
In order to qualify for Wimbledon, which starts in less than two weeks on Monday, June 22, Webley-Smith must win three matches at Roehampton, taking place from Tuesday to Thursday. The British No7, who is closing in on the top 300 in the world at 303, will meet players ranked between 100 and 250 in the world.
Her preparation has been affected by the latest injury setback and the poor weather means she hasn’t been able to train on grass this week, but despite not playing on that surface for two years, Webley-Smith is confident she can be more than a match for her opponents.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge,” she said. “I’m confident that my wrist is fine.”
“It’s exciting to play, grass is my favourite surface, and I know how to play on it that is for sure.”