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Miyazaki revels in Wimbledon wildcard

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Miyazaki was knocked out of the Nottingham Open by eventual winner Beatriz Haddad Maia
Miyazaki was knocked out of the Nottingham Open by eventual winner Beatriz Haddad Maia

Lily Miyazaki was ready to qualify for Wimbledon but will make her senior debut at the Grand Slam after being awarded a wildcard into the main draw, writes Sportsbeat's Milly McEvoy.

Miyazaki benefits from the LTA’s NTC Access programme, which is for players ranked 100-200 in singles and 31-100 in doubles, providing cost-free access to courts on all three surfaces, coaching, trainers and the LTA’s tournament bonus scheme.

The 26-year-old from Surrey trains at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton, with qualifying taking place just down the road.

“To be playing the main draw at Wimbledon is amazing, I was all ready to have to qualify. But I’m really happy as I have never played the main draw,” Miyazaki said. “I played in the juniors but that was a long time ago.

“I just want to take it one match at a time. I'm really enjoying my time in this grass-court season, because it's my first proper grass-court season.

“I'm just enjoying every match that I get and whatever happens later, will happen.”

Miyazaki, who was born in Tokyo but raised in the UK, has received a wildcard alongside seven-time Wimbledon singles winner Serena Williams as well as British talent including Katie Boulter and Jodie Burrage.

With a current ranking of 206, Miyazaki made her Grand Slam qualifying debut in the Australian Open earlier this year before earning her first WTA tour win at the Rothesay Open Nottingham last week.

The Craig Veal-coached player attended college in Oklahoma and believes that experience made her the player she is today.

She added: “I think actually college really helped me to mature physically and mentally as well and last year, after the COVID year, I played a lot of matches and I think that really helped me to get physically ready, so I feel like I'm in a good place right now.

“There's a lot of players now that have come through the college system and I think we have had that experience, so we can play a little bit freer knowing that we do have backup options. But right now I’m 100% committed.”

The British no.6, Miyazaki switched nationalities earlier this year with her native Japan not allowing people to hold dual nationalities.

Now, Miyazaki is looking ahead to making her debut at the home of tennis representing the country that has become her home.

“The UK has been my home for a really long time and I feel like I've really assimilated to life in the UK,” she said.

“I have trained here since I was 10 years old. My family moved here when I was really young as well and I thought it was just much best for my career.”

For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA Website

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