Katie Boulter insists she takes comfort from extra Wimbledon pressure

Katie Boulter is ready to embrace the Wimbledon spotlight.

The 27-year-old goes into the tournament as the leading home hope for success in the women’s draw having maintained her upward trajectory for more than a year.

Boulter made a big breakthrough by winning her first WTA Tour title in Nottingham last June and has followed that up with a bigger crown in San Diego and then a successful defence of the tournament that takes place only a few miles from her home in Leicestershire.

She is seeded for the first time at Wimbledon as the world number 32 and is a clear British number one.

Boulter has seen up close the expectations and attention on long-term boyfriend Alex De Minaur at his home grand slam, the Australian Open, but feels comfort rather than anxiety now the boot is on her foot.

“I’m sure it’s going to get more and more hectic as it goes along, it always does,” she said.

“But it’s awesome. It’s really nice to be a part of such an incredible, historic tournament that I’ve watched since I was a kid. To then become someone that can be leading that pack, it helps me, I think it pushes me on.

Katie Boulter clenches her fist after winning a point against Jelena Ostapenko in Eastbourne
Katie Boulter clenches her fist after winning a point against Jelena Ostapenko in Eastbourne (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“Knowing there’s going to be a lot of people out there cheering for me, it puts me a bit at comfort knowing that I’m going to have that to rely on if need be.”

Boulter has reached the third round at Wimbledon the last two years, but her hopes of going further this time have certainly been helped by being seeded.

Last year, she needed a wild card just to get into the main draw, which shows the speed of her rise.

“It feels really good,” she said. “It’s been a goal of mine to be in Wimbledon, seeded, with my team for a long time. Naturally I want to be playing these tournaments on my own ranking, I don’t want to be taking wild cards if I can help it.

“Also being seeded, it’s a moment for me to show the dedication I’ve put in these last few years. I think that’s a little pat on the back for me. I feel very proud to have that number, I’m striving for more but I’m happy at the moment with where I’m at.”

First up Boulter faces German Tatjana Maria, a mother of two who had a surprise run to the semi-finals two years ago.

Boulter has no plans yet to follow in Maria’s footsteps, but said: “I have huge respect for what she’s done.

“I see her kids around a lot in the players’ lounge, they’re super cute, they’re proper into tennis, which is really nice to see as well. The fact that she can come back and be so resilient, I think that’s so impressive, and just her love for the game.

“What she’s done, I can draw on that. I’m not entirely sure if I’m going to have kids and come back, I really don’t know, I think that’s a very personal decision and a decision I’ll make later on in life.”