Australian Storm Hunter admits her dream of one day becoming a world No.1 “kind of seemed impossible”.
Storm Hunter’s first match as the world’s top-ranked doubles player certainly proved memorable.
The 29-year-old rushed straight from the Seville airport to line-up for the Australian team at the Billie Jean King Cup Finals.
Hunter’s checked luggage was missing after arriving from Mexico, but luckily she had travelled with her racquets and uniform as carry-on.
“That made it a bit tricky, but I had some racquets on me and was prepared to play,” Hunter said. “I had my outfit, my shoes, and mentally was ready to go if our team needed that.”
After 18 hours of travelling, an inspired Hunter managed to carve out a hard-fought victory alongside Kimberly Birrell.
“It was obviously a quick turnaround, but for me, representing my country is the greatest honour and honestly the most amazing thing I can ever do with my tennis career,” Hunter said.
A semifinal appearance in her debut at the WTA Finals in Cancun last week propelled the left-handed Australian to the top of the WTA Tour doubles rankings.
Hunter becomes only the third Aussie woman – and first in 17 years – to hold the No.1 ranking in doubles.
“To be honest, it still hasn’t really sunken in. It’s crazy,” said the Melbourne-based athlete of her achievement.
“I honestly didn’t think this would ever happen to me in my life. It was kind of a dream that just always was there, but kind of seemed impossible.
“It’s definitely been a whirlwind few days. It’s very exciting, but I’m here to focus on our team. It’s not about me this week. It’s about getting Team Australia to do as best as we can.
“I’ll be able to celebrate (rising to world No.1) once we finish here. But for now, it’s just doing my part for our team.”
Despite Hunter’s best efforts, the Australian team lost their opening round-robin tie against Slovenia.
They now face Kazakhstan in a must-win tie on Thursday to keep their hopes alive.
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