Women reaping NTC benefits
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:14
O’Brien and Elena Baltacha both successfully came through qualifying at the Australian Open to join compatriots Anne Keothavong and Melanie South in the main draw in Melbourne.
“Now everything is up and running (at the NTC) I think a few international players are envious of our set-up and they can see the results are coming through as well,” said O’Brien. “In the past they would say the British girls are so spoilt but now we’re justifying it by getting results.”
It is the first time since 1992 four British women have been in the main draw of a grand slam outside of Wimbledon and O’Brien and Baltacha both acknowledged the work done with the players off the court – such as nutrition awareness and strength and conditioning work – was a big factor in the improvement in the women’s game.
O’Brien added: “I’ve been a professional since I was 18 but it’s probably only in the last year or two we’ve had the knowledge of what it takes to be a top pro.
“I don’t know whether that’s partly my fault of whether we were all a bit sheltered in the British system.”
Baltacha revealed her physical improvement since joining the NTC has given her new-found confidence as she looks to emulate her best run at the Australian Open when she reached the third round in 2005.
“What’s huge is if you can find confidence from (being fitter) it can give you a (mental) edge. If you have that edge it’s amazing what you can do,” she said.