“I’m really excited to get going” – Jodie Burrage looks ahead to her Australian Open main draw debut
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As excitement builds ahead of the start of the Australian Open on Sunday 14 January, one British player is preparing for her first outing in the main draw at Melbourne Park.
British No.2 Jodie Burrage closed out the 2023 season on a high. Having made her first WTA final at the Rothesay Open Nottingham, winning the biggest title of her career at the W60 Croissy-Beaubourg, her first Grand Slam victories at Wimbledon and the US Open and quarter-finals in two WTA 125 events, the young Brit broke into the top 100 for the first time and with it, clinched direct entry into the Australian Open.
The 24-year-old – who is supported by our Pro Scholarship Programme presented by Lexus – is set to make her debut in the main draw on Sunday as the first Brit to play at this year’s Australian Open, facing off against Germany’s Tamara Korpatsch in the first round.
“I'm really excited to get going,” Burrage said in her pre-tournament press conference. “Obviously it's my first main draw. I lost last round quallies last year, a bit of a heartbreak. It feels good not to have to go through that this week.”
Not having to worry about qualifiers has meant that Burrage has had an extra week to train at Melbourne Park – although preparations have not all been plain sailing.
“It's obviously good because you get to know the place,” she said. “I've tried to get as much court time actually on-site as possible. It's good to get the feel for the courts. You can structure your week a little bit better in the lead-up.
“It's nice to just get training in, to be honest, because I wasn't well before Canberra. I was pretty sick. I had tonsillitis pretty badly.
“I feel good now and it’s nice to be off the antibiotics – even when you’re feeling better, they still hit you a little bit.
“I’ve been practicing really well out there and I’m just ready to go on Sunday.”
Burrage’s opponent on Sunday will be world No.81 Korpatsch. While it may look favourable to avoid a top seed in the opener, the British hopeful knows it will be a tough test.
“I played her twice at back end of last year and lost twice, so I know a lot about her,” Burrage explained. “The last match was an absolute battle. I've been watching a few clips the last few days of those matches. I think it's going to be another battle out there.
“If I really commit to the game I want to play, my aggressive style, serve well, I know that I can get it done against her.
“She's going to throw a lot at me. She's a very crafty player, makes a lot of balls, but I have the confidence to get it done.”
During the off season and since she’s been in Australia, Burrage has spent a lot of time with the other Brits training, including 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu as she continues to make her return from injury.
“I hit with Emma way over on Court 11,” said Burrage. “She was absolutely creaming the ball, proper going for it. It was a good practice actually; we played some good points.
“Yeah, it's nice to see her back on the court, back playing some really good stuff as well. It will be really interesting to see what she does this week. As I said, she's hitting the ball really, really well. I'm excited for her.
“It will be good to see what all of us British girls can do this week. I think the conditions do suit us if we have our aggressive game style out there.”
Coming off the back of what was a breakthrough season for the young British star, Burrage is set up for another strong campaign. During the interview, she reflected on her key learnings from last year and the goals she’s set for 2024.
“I think one of the main things for me is when things actually go well, to celebrate them and enjoy it a little bit more than I did last year,” she explained.
“I don't really feel like I did that as much as I should have last year. Don't get me wrong, I know I had a really good year, but I also put pressure on myself to keep getting better.
“I think you have to kind of look back a little bit and see where you've been and see the improvements that you've made. Then also saying that, just keep the work ethic really high. Being around these players here, being at these tournaments, you see there is another level to get to.
“It's really inspiring me to try to get to that level. The more I'm around it, the more you want to chase it, the better you want to play.
“This year I really just want to secure myself in the top 100 – I think I've already dropped to 102 or something.
“I've not got many points to defend the next few months because of my injuries last year. It kind of gives me a free run to take a stab at a few of the bigger tournaments, yeah, try to cement my top 100 ranking.
“Once I get into that place, then look at where I can get to. I mean, I'd love to say I want to finish the year top 50 or whatever. I think realistic goal is top 75.”
Burrage will play her first round match against Korpatsch on Sunday 14 January in the first match on Court 13. Watch all of the Australian Open exclusively on discovery+ and Eurosport.