Keothavong: I admire what Bally’s done
Originally published on: 25/06/12 00:00
“Bally hasn’t played a lot of doubles over the last few years because obviously she’s been trying to protect her back,” Keothavong said. “I’ve played doubles with a different person each week. It’s something I really enjoy because I just feel I’d much rather be on the doubles court than practising if I’m not involved in singles.
“I’m really looking forward to it. I think it will be really good. I think we played together as juniors. It’s been a long time. I think it will be something both of us will enjoy. It’s not happened too often. We’ll go out there at Wimbledon and feel we have something to show.”
Keothavong has just regained her position as British No 1 from Baltacha, who had topped the rankings for the previous two and half years. Both players have come back from serious injuries to continue their careers.
“I think we’ve definitely helped each other, because obviously with the rivalry and everything you need that,” Keothavong said. “I think it’s been very good for both of us and I like I think it will be very good for the next generation with Heather Watson, Laura Robson, Johanna Konta and Naomi Broady too. I think it’s good that they can push each other. They will realise that it will help each other to become better tennis players.”
What is the relationship with Baltacha like now? “We’re older, we’re more mature,” Keothavong said. “We may not have been best of friends in the past but we both have a mutual respect for each other. That’s without a doubt. We’re very different personalities. It’s been different. But as we’ve got older I guess we can see everything for what it is. I admire what Bally’s done. She’s been through quite a bit herself. We’ve had that conversation where we both understand what each of us have been through, but ultimately I think what we do have a lot in common in terms of our resilience and our desire to want to be better tennis players.”