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Lexus Surbiton Trophy

Surbiton Racket & Fitness Club 02 - 09 June 2024

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Sophie Drakeford Lewis playing netball for England

Lexus Surbiton Trophy 2024: England netball star returns to the tennis court in South West London


Sophie Drakeford-Lewis spent Saturday night playing in the Netball Super League but within 24 hours she was making a long-awaited return to tennis.

A former age group star, the 25-year-old from Berkshire hung up her racket seven years ago to focus on netball and her education, a decision that has certainly worked out given that she represented England at the Commonwealth Games and was part of the squad that competed at last year’s World Cup.

But the itch to get back onto the tennis court resurfaced last winter, with Drakeford-Lewis deciding to combine her two sporting loves.

That has meant a demanding schedule over the first half of this year, competing at the highest domestic level in netball, while getting back up to speed in tennis.

She has made it work though and pitched up in the first round of qualifying at the Lexus Surbiton Trophy, taking on two-time Wimbledon quarter-finalist Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia.

Given the gulf in pedigree, the tight nature of the first set was a credit to Drakeford-Lewis, who eventually went down 7-5 6-0.

But despite the defeat, she was over the moon to be back on the tennis court.

I hadn’t picked up a racket in seven years. I came back onto court and was shocked by how much I loved it. I really wanted to get better, and it made me want to keep going.

She said: "It was a great experience to play here at Surbiton. I never thought I would get the opportunity to play in qualies here. It was a great opportunity for me, and I’ve learned a lot from it. Hopefully, I can put what I’ve learned from it into practice in the coming weeks.

“I just want to embrace every day. I’ve not really set any expectations for myself. I’m seeing how I do, working really hard and want to keep enjoying it because that is the most important thing. I’m embracing every moment of being in this environment again and getting on court.

“I picked up my racket six months ago and I’m able to do both at the moment. The league is still going, I’ve still got a couple of weeks of that. From there, I will see what the future holds, see where my tennis is going. I’m not too sure yet but I’m really loving being back on the tennis court.

“I hadn’t picked up a racket in seven years. I came back onto court and was shocked by how much I loved it. I really wanted to get better, and it made me want to keep going and practise even harder.”

This article was written by Paul Eddison at Sportsbeat.

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