Katie Boulter hoping to inspire others after battling chronic fatigue to reach top 100 of WTA rankings

Lizzie Edmonds
Drive | Katie Boulter at Wimbledon this year, where she reached round two: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Tennis star Katie Boulter hopes to inspire young people with debilitating conditions to “achieve their dreams” after battling chronic fatigue syndrome to make the world top 100.

Boulter, 22, this week became the first Briton to break into the 100 leading women for two and a half years, climbing to 96 in the WTA rankings.

Two years ago she was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome and took 12 months out of her career as she “struggled to live her everyday life, let alone train”.

Boulter, who lives in Marylebone and is in the middle of a sequence of tournaments in China, said: “I hope I encourage people to do sport, and for those who have similar conditions to me, inspire them. It can be a career for them. I hope they see what I’ve achieved and realise they can do it, or do whatever they want to — that they can achieve their dreams.”

Boulter - ranked at 889 just three years ago - found she had chronic fatigue in 2016 after struggling to get up in the morning and feeling lethargic in the day. She said: “I was physically ill, it was difficult for me to get through the days.”

She manages her condition by “not pushing myself too hard”, limiting practice and not over-working her body in the gym: “I still don’t play a full schedule, but I do what I can.” She usually only does one training session a day while other players will do two plus gym work. Coached by Jeremy Bates, Nigel Sears and Mark Taylor, she got into the top 100 by reaching the quarter-final of the Tianjin Open last week, where she lost to Czech world number 5 Karolina Pliskova.

Katie Boulter for Wimbledon x Tech Pack Collection

Katie Boulter for Wimbledon x Tech Pack Collection

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    Katie Boulter wearing the Nike Wimbledon x Tech Pack Collection.

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    Katie Boulter wearing the Nike Wimbledon x Tech Pack Collection.

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  • 3/5 KatieBoulterWimbledonNike3

    Katie Boulter wearing the Nike Wimbledon x Tech Pack Collection.

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    Katie Boulter wearing the Nike Wimbledon x Tech Pack Collection.

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    Katie Boulter wearing the Nike Wimbledon x Tech Pack Collection.

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Boulter is the first GB woman to break the top 100 since Naomi Broady in 2016, and the only Britons above her are Heather Watson at 89 and Johanna Konta at 44. She said: “It is awesome. It has given me a boost to keep working harder, and it’s a step to the top 10, which is what I am aiming for.”