Rising British tennis star Jodie Burrage is in the form of her life.
She's won 26 matches this year already, more than any of Britain's top five female players, including Emma Raducanu.
The 23-year-old Burrage spoke to Insider about her form, her dreams of the US Open, and playing at Wimbledon.
Great Britain currently has five women ranked within the WTA's Top 150. Of those, none have won more matches this year than Jodie Burrage.
Among her 26 victims since the turn of the year are Croatia's Petra Martic, China's Lin Zhu, and world No. 4 Paula Badosa. And though she did not win the match that launched her into the global spotlight — when she helped a Wimbledon ball boy who was feeling faint during her first-round loss to Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko — Burrage has begun to earn a level of attention for her play.
Her impressive run of form has seen her rise more than 100 places in the WTA rankings since the start of April, to a career high No. 141.
"I've played a lot of matches, won a lot of matches, and almost halved my ranking," the 23-year-old told Insider. "It's been really positive for me.
"But there's still a lot of work to do, and I know what I want to work on. I know where I want to get to. There's just a lot of motivation there."
A fast rise
Burrage only made her WTA Tour main-draw singles debut in January 2021 at the Abu Dhabi Open, where she qualified as a lucky loser.
Five months and a victory at the ITF Dubai later, she made her main-draw Grand Slam debut as a wildcard at Wimbledon, where she went out in the first round.
She qualified again for tennis' most prestigious grass court competition this year, but sadly suffered the same fate, even though she made headlines for helping the ball boy by giving him water and candy.
Burrage had hoped to go further this time around, but her early exit won't stop her from surging further up the WTA rankings when they are next revised.
"I just couldn't get to the level that I wanted to out on court and the level that I've been putting out recently, which is obviously what you want to do," she said.
"But I can't be too greedy with how things have gone for me lately."
She added that while it was of course "disappointing" to have gone out so early at the All England Club, there were still plenty of positives to take, including playing in front of a home crowd at what she called the "biggest tournament" in the world.
"It was just such a pleasure to play in front of the home support," she said. "For us Brits it makes a massive difference. I know I lost my match, but I actually thoroughly enjoyed the experience, because that's what the crowd does.
"It's a privilege to play there. The buzz around the grounds and the village is amazing."
She's ready to take a bite out of the Big Apple
While Burrage has made two appearances at Wimbledon, she's yet to qualify for any of the Australian, French, or US Opens.
She's hoping that can change, however, at Flushing Meadows later this year, with her now-higher ranking potentially making the qualifying rounds kinder.
"It's a great opportunity for me because with where my ranking is now, I might be seeded in qualifying which would help with the draws," she said.
"Last year, I won one match in qualifying but then lost a really tough second match in which I also got a stress fracture in my rib, which put me out for about three months.
"Hopefully this year will be better."
Burrage added that she is planning on playing "three or four tournaments" in the United States over the coming months, which she hopes can stand her in good stead for the year's final Slam.
"My ranking means I can play some bigger events now without without needing wildcards so that's going to be a great opportunity for me to learn, get some more experience, hopefully win some more matches, and then bring it all into the US Open."
Hard work pays off
Getting to where she is now has been far from easy for Burrage.
On top of suffering with numerous injuries — including an ankle problem that has required three surgeries and the stress fracture to her rib — she's also had to work hard in the gym to improve her physicality.
"I've made massive physical gains over the last few months," she said. "During matches, I'm no longer getting tired or flagging by the end.
"The fact that I've played 16 or 17 matches now in the last five weeks but I haven't got injuries or I'm not too tired shows those gains."
Playing so many matches, Burrage says the mental aspect of her game has also improved vastly.
"I'm getting more confident in myself in matches just because I'm playing a lot more," she said. "I've also done a lot of work on that side of things with my psychologist as well.
"It's a lot of things coming together finally, at the same time."
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