After a seven month gap from competitive tennis Arielle returned to play in the Newquay Heron Regional level tournament from 24th to 29th May. A knee injury last September had been followed by an operation in February, with further complications meaning that she was still needing to wear a substantial knee brace.
It was Arielle’s first year in the 16U category and she worked her way to victory with some powerful tennis. The first tough match was in the quarter final, where she met the hard-hitting Beth Cole from North Cornwall. She won this match 6-4, 6-2. In the semi-final she came up against the Hertfordshire girl, Katie Birt, whom she beat 6-3, 6-1. Her opponent in the final was the excellent Charlotte Imbert, from Kent, who made things as difficult as possible for Arielle. It was Arielle’s greater strength and accuracy – together with her trademark power serve – which prevailed and Arielle emerged the Champion winning 6-2, 6-3.
After the match Arielle commented “The knee injury has kept me out of competition for a long time, and I was very happy to be back, though I didn’t expect to reach the final in my first tournament. I was pleased with my mental control above all, and the shots are fine. It’s just the footwork speed, knee bend and explosive power that will take a little more work to get back.”
Throughout her injury Arielle has continued to train, following a careful rehabilitation programme in the gym and the pool. This has improved her upper body strength massively, so that despite the layoff, she has been able to return to with a new and powerful element to her game. “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” said Albert Einstein. And that is just the type of attitude that Arielle has needed to work through the last seven months. Her victory this week is evidence that the work put in over that time has been successful!