Katie Boulter reveals family illness inspired biggest win of her career at Eastbourne

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Katie Boulter has revealed that a “perspective changing” family illness is behind the form that brought her the biggest win of her career at Eastbourne on Tuesday. The Leicester-born British no. 4, ranked 127 in the world, came from behind to beat no. 4 seed Karolina Pliskova 1-6, 6-4, 6-4.

It was the first time the 25-year-old had beaten a player in the world’s top 10 and backed up the form she showed at Birmingham last week ahead of Wimbledon fortnight.

Boulter bounced up and down after winning the final point and later spoke emotionally afterwards about the trauma at home that had given her a fresh insight on her injury-riddled tennis career.

“I had a small, probably, perspective shift this year when I had a few things going on outside of the court which reminded me that there are really important things that you have to take care of outside of the court,” she said.

“Those things are quite personal to me. I had a couple of my close family members were quite ill.

“It’s something that at the moment I’m not ready to talk about but it’s very close to my heart and it’s something that was way, way away from tennis so that was difficult.  

“But out there on the court you can go out there and enjoy yourself.  There are many more important things in life to be focused on. That’s really helped me probably in many ways.”

On another good Eastbourne day for British tennis, Ryan Peniston led the way by beating French Open quarter-finalist Holger Rune 4-6, 7-6, 6-1.

Having already seen off cancer in his 26 years, one wonders what battles the Korean-style karate expert is not up for.

“I’m a black belt in a martial art called Tang Soo Do which my family also practises,” he said.  

“I started at the age of 4 or 5 and it’s up until the age of 13 I started to do less, I did less lessons.  But, no, it helped me massively with flexibility, discipline, mindset and respect,

“And it was a lot of fun doing the sparring, that’s for sure.”

Jamie Murray and regular partner Bruno Soares were also immediately back to winning ways in the doubles, seeing off third seeds John Peers and Filip Polasek in a tense championship tie-break, winning 6-4, 6-7, 10-7.

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