Britain’s Hannah Klugman, 14, inspired by Mirra Andreeva’s Australian Open run

By Sports Desk January 21, 2024

Britain’s Hannah Klugman is looking to follow in the footsteps of teen sensation Mirra Andreeva at the Australian Open.

Sixteen-year-old Andreeva lost in the junior final 12 months ago but beat Ons Jabeur on Rod Laver Arena on her way to the fourth round of the women’s singles in Melbourne before losing to Barbora Krejcikova.

Klugman, from Wimbledon, does not turn 15 until next month but she is already ranked seventh in the junior game and has been attracting attention well beyond British shores.

 

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In December, she became the first British girl to win the prestigious under-18 Orange Bowl title in Florida, whose former champions include Coco Gauff, Caroline Wozniacki and Chris Evert.

“I went into the week with not much expectations,” said Klugman. “I wasn’t playing that great. I went into Orange Bowl with a fresh mind and really played some great tennis.

“It was amazing. I was walking past a poster with all the winners. There’s some pretty amazing people on there. So it’s great.

“Nothing’s massively changed. But, obviously, I think I have more confidence in myself. I know I can do it, I have the level. I’ve just got to bring it to the court. I want to go deep this week.”

Klugman described winning a junior grand slam title as a “massive goal” but preparing her for the senior game is the main focus.

The teenager has a powerful forehand and serve, which reached 113mph during a first-round win over Antonia Vergara Rivera in the girls’ singles on Sunday.

Age restrictions designed to prevent the kind of teenage burnout seen in the women’s game in previous decades mean Klugman is heavily restricted in the number of senior tournaments she can play – only 10 in a year even once she turns 15.

But her ranking is already in the top 700 and Andreeva’s rapid rise provides inspiration.

 

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“It’s not that far away,” said Klugman. “People think it’s quite far away, but it’s actually not. She was here this time last year and a lot can change really quickly.

“I don’t think some people would have said it would happen that quickly and now she’s in the fourth round here. It’s crazy.

“It definitely gives me a lot of confidence and trust in myself that, if I keep working hard every day, I can do it.

“I think I play a bit similar to her. She changes the pace. She doesn’t hit like crazy. I think that’s what I do.”

There is a great deal of excitement within British tennis about the potential of Klugman, who was given a wild card into Wimbledon qualifying last summer and could well be in line for a shot at the main draw this time.

She insisted she is in no hurry, saying: “It’s such a great honour to even get a qualies wild card. So I honestly don’t mind if it’s really far into the future.”

Unlike Emma Raducanu, who stayed in school to complete her A Levels, Klugman has just left Wimbledon High School and switched to online learning.

Asked if she would miss it, Klugman, who is also a talented hockey player, said: “Massively, but I’ll definitely keep in touch with my friends.

“I want to do well in my GCSEs. I want to get a good education. So it’s tough to be juggling all that when you’re away in Australia. I know I will have to be disciplined, but I know I can do it.”

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