Harriet Dart backed for breakthrough year after achieving ‘huge milestone’

Harriet Dart shares her earliest memory of tennis

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After breaking into the world’s top 100 last month, Harriet Dart has been tipped to have a ‘breakthrough year’ by Anne Keothavong. The 25-year-old reached the last 16 of Indian Wells last month after coming through the qualifying rounds.

She defeated former grand slam finalist Elina Svitolina and 2022 Australian Open quarter-finalist Kaia Kanepi en route to her most significant performance in a tournament of her career. Following her encouraging performances in the States and proving she can enter the women’s top 100, Britain’s Billie Jean King Cup captain thinks Dart is set for her best season yet.

“It was great to see. She did a good job of stringing all those matches and she completed well,” Keothavong told Sky Sports. “The conditions suited her perfectly and when she’s in the right mindset she’s a tough opponent for anyone out there.

“Once you break into the top 100, it’s a huge milestone and it’s been a long time coming for Harriet so I’m pleased to see her crack the top 100.” Dart has been working alongside experienced coach Nigel Sears, who oversaw Emma Raducanu’s run to the fourth round of Wimbledon last year.

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His methods are clearly resonating with the 2021 Wimbledon mixed doubles finalist and Keothavong explained what she needs to do in order to continue her upward trajectory. “Now she just needs to continue building. It’s all about taking these opportunities and now that her ranking is higher, hopefully entry into some of the bigger events will be easier,” she added.

“She will hopefully have guaranteed main draw status at the French Open and potentially Wimbledon.” Dart will represent Great Britain in their Billie Jean King Cup tie with Czech Republic from April 15-16 at Tennis Club I.CLTK, Prague, knowing a win will put them through to the finals.

She will be joined by US Open champion Raducanu and Katie Swan, who has lost just one out of five previous Billie Jean King Cup matches. The team is completed by Sonay Kartal, who is making her debut at the event and comes into the tie in red-het form, winning four of her last five ITF singles events – including two events on home soil in Birmingham and Glasgow.

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Keothavong is excited to take her team to the court and is very optimistic regarding the future of British tennis. She said: “What’s happening on the men’s side is brilliant and Emma’s success on the women’s side has been inspirational.

“Tennis is more popular now than ever and hopefully there will be more young kids who will be inspired by the success of top British tennis players and we’ll have a greater pool of talent to choose from in the future.”

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