Australian Open wildcard Maddison Inglis looks back on time spent in Geraldton bonding with her mum

Mitchell Woodcock Geraldton Guardian
Maddison Inglis celebrates her shock first-round win over Leylah Fernandez at the Australian Open.
Camera IconMaddison Inglis celebrates her shock first-round win over Leylah Fernandez at the Australian Open. Credit: Simon Baker/AP/AP

West Australian wildcard and star-of-the-moment Maddison Inglis this week fondly recounted her time playing tennis in Geraldton after a dream start in the Australian Open.

The 24-year-old’s amazing run continued on Thursday morning when she won an incredible three-set contest against Hailey Baptiste at Margaret Court Arena.

The world No.133 overcame the US qualifier in a more than two-hour entertaining contest 7-6 2-6 6-2.

Inglis won a tough first set, before looking all at sea against Baptiste’s powerful serve in the second.

But the Perth-born tennis ace lifted in front of her family and friends to clinch a tense third set to storm into the third round of a grand slam for the first time in her career.

Earlier in the week she produced a stunning upset over US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez.

Inglis crushed the 23rd seed 6-4, 6-2 in less than 90 minutes as she looked to break into the top 100 for the first time.

Inglis said it was “an amazing moment” to claim the victory, as she reflected on her journey to the big stage, which included playing at the Geraldton Easter Open.

Maddison Inglis won the Geraldton Easter Open ladies singles title in 2015 as a 17-year-old.
Camera IconMaddison Inglis won the Geraldton Easter Open ladies singles title in 2015 as a 17-year-old. Credit: Supplied/Supplied

“We started tennis just as a bonding thing with my mum and I. She said the other day, she was like, I’m so proud of you that you’re playing in the Australian Open,” Inglis said.

“It’s amazing. I think sometimes you just have to look back and think of the journey and you are at one of the biggest tournaments in the world.

“It’s pretty special. I remember playing in Geraldton a few years ago. It was a lot of fun. Like I love playing tournaments like that. Yeah, I’m really lucky to be here experiencing a tournament like this.”

Inglis first won the Geraldton Easter Open women’s singles in 2015 as a 17-year-old before taking out the same title in 2018.

The unexpected Australian Open wins are a vital cash injection for the rising star who will soon have to be financially independent.

“Now that I have turned 24 — I’m still getting help from the federation. Once you turn 24, you have to find external help and coaches,” she said.

“It’s going to be a massive help for me this year financially, which is great. Then I cannot focus and stress too much about that and just focus on things on court. It’s a huge help.”

It hasn’t all been smooth sailing for Inglis, who is unable to return to Perth to see family and friends or even her home in Brisbane after seven months on tour because of border closures.

“The last couple years have been tough for everyone. I know that a lot of people are in worse situations than I am. But it is hard not to see your family,” she said.

“I was flying back from a seven-month trip, couldn’t get into Brisbane where I live or Perth where my family is.

“I was so lucky I had a really good friend in Melbourne who took me in for two months, which was amazing. I think the people around you just make it so much easier. So I was really lucky to have her. Hopefully I can get back to Perth sometime this year.”

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