Worthing star Lauren Jones is celebrating her biggest success since returning to international wheelchair tennis after illness and surgery.
The 24-year-old claimed both the women’s singles and doubles titles in the recent Nottingham Futures event.
A member of the LTA’s GB wheelchair tennis world class performance programme, Jones arrived at the tournament on the back of reaching the women’s singles final at the Internazionale Citta di Forli two weeks earlier.
However, her latest competition brought greater success as she reached the singles final for the loss of just five games.
The former world number 24 has seen her ranking drop significantly during treatment for Crohn’s Disease, which was diagnosed last year, meaning she began the Nottingham tournament as third seed.
Yet, Jones dug deep in the final to edge out top seed Busra Un of Turkey, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (2).
Jones, who partnered Un to win the doubles without dropping a single game, said: “It’s been tough coming back because I definitely have been rusty, but I was allowing for that. With each tournament I’ve progressed and made a step forward and there’s been big progress this week.
“I’m really happy to build on the performance in Italy.
“I’ve been hitting the ball well, but I do feel I bottled it in Italy. I’ve not been backing myself enough in the big moments and shying away from sticking to my own game.
“I felt like I was doing that a bit in the third set in my final here. I was 5-3 up in the third set and reined myself in, but at 6-5 down I thought about Italy and just said ‘no, not again’.
“But I stepped up and believed in my ability and took it from there.”
The former world number one ranked junior, who won the women’s doubles at June’s Zagreb Open in Croatia in her first tournament for four months, added: “I have a team around me who really have all worked hard for this and it’s time to step up now.
"I’m moving up from Futures events and playing the ITF 2 Austrian Open in a couple of weeks.
"I’m just looking to keep the same mindset, push myself against the top girls and in time I’m sure it will pay off.”
The ITF 2 Austrian Open on August 7.
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