Jodie Burrage has set her sights on overtaking Emma Raducanu as British No 1 as she targets a positive grass-court season ahead of Wimbledon.
Burrage and the rest of the leading British women are beginning their grass-court campaigns this week at the Lexus Surbiton Trophy, and there is a good chance that by the end of the week one of them will have passed Raducanu.
Burrage, 24, and Katie Boulter are best placed but Harriet Dart and Katie Swan are also in contention, with the quartet all looking to push on into the top 100.
I would love to be able to say I got to British number one but, one, I’m not there yet, two, it could not happen, so overall I’m just looking at boosting my ranking up to get me in Grand Slam main draws and that’s my real focus.
Burrage is optimistic the domestic picture will look healthier come the end of Wimbledon after no British women qualified for main draw of this year’s French Open for the first time since 2008.
“It is a bit of a timing thing. There are obviously quite a few of us that are 110-140 so I’m sure in the grass-court season some of those girls are going to push through,” said Burrage.
“It is obviously disappointing from a British outlook but I can’t really focus on the whole of British tennis. I’m at my career-high ranking and have had some really good wins and a really good season.”
Burrage suffered bone stress in her arm which forced her to miss her chance to qualify for Roland Garros.
It was particularly frustrating for Burrage because she had just reached her career-high ranking of 106 after winning a second-tier tournament in France.
“I just want to know where I could be if I get wins, it motivates me” – but she is thinking wider than simply British number one.
“It’s definitely a big goal to be British number one,” she said. “Obviously rankings and stuff is done throughout the world so I guess I kind of focus more on your actual ranking.
“I would love to be able to say I got to British number one but, one, I’m not there yet, two, it could not happen, so overall I’m just looking at boosting my ranking up to get me in Grand Slam main draws and that’s my real focus.”
Another major target is to force her way into Britain’s Billie Jean King Cup team for their play-off against Sweden in November.
Burrage was upset to miss out on selection for last year’s finals and then the qualifier against France in April, when she was the highest-ranked player available.
“It’s something that I would really love to do, to play a match for Great Britain,” she said. “I was disappointed not to be in the team but I can’t really do much about that now. My job now is to make sure I’m in the squad for next time. Hopefully I can do it because it’s one of my biggest goals.”
Burrage talked things through with captain Anne Keothavong, and added: “If I take care of things week in, week out then I kind of take the question out of her hands a little bit so that’s what I’m trying to do.
“I spoke to Anne at length about it all. She’s got good comms. Hopefully for next time I can make it an easier decision for her.”
Burrage suffered a second first-round loss at Wimbledon last year and bettering that is her first aim this time around.
“I’m just looking forward to playing,” she said. “I’m still yet to win a match there so that’s my first goal, but I can’t wait. The ultimate goal is Wimbledon but we’ve still got five weeks before that so there’s a lot of work to be done first.”
Fellow Brit Katie Boulter is also hoping to focus on the positives of British women’s tennis, saying: “We can all say ‘we haven’t got this, we haven’t got that’, but we are all working towards something and we are all working really hard.
“I hope we can continue to focus on the positives.
“I think it is a fascinating thing, we have got some really good players between 200 and 100, and I think we are all capable of being top 100 players.
“I think we are going in the right direction, let’s just keep it positive.”