21-year-old Ellen Perez comes from Shellharbour, Australia, and she just started her junior year at Georgia Bulldogs, after earning the All-American honor in 2016. She had a great season in 2016, finishing with a 28-7 score in singles, including 16-4 in dual matches.
Nevertheless, she underwent elbow surgery in September and that forced her to miss the most of the fall season. After her final exams in December, Ellen flew home to Australia to compete at the Australian Open Play-off. Her results were not that good, playing first matches in months, but she stayed at home and continue with her training, also trying to qualify for the Apia International in Sydney and for the Australian Open in singles.
She didn't make it, but the Australian Open main draw was waiting for her in doubles, as she got a wild card together with Olivia Tjandramulia. They lost in the opening round but this was a great experience for Perez, who spoke about that for The Red&Black site:
“I didn’t compete as well as I wanted and lost early in singles,” Perez said. “First match coming back from injury is always difficult, but I had to start somewhere.SOURCE: http://www.redandblack.com/sports/ellen-perez-reflects-on-playing-in-the-australian-open/article_932c00ec-e576-11e6-af70-3700bee4ee40.html ALSO READ: ITA Division I Women's Rankings - February 1, 2017: No changes in the Top 10, Florida is still the team to beat
Being at the Slams gives you everything you want to achieve because you play your entire life to be at that level and finally being there, everything makes sense and it shows everything you’ve worked so hard. That’s always the best part.
Overall, it is always an incredible experience to play in a grand slam. Playing with players as good as they are brings up your personal level because you feel like you need to raise your level to be with them and be one of them.
I came to College with the intention of going professional; I knew that from the beginning. It’s definitely in the back of my mind. I haven’t made any decisions, but I will evaluate at the end of this year to see if that’s a good option.
Knowing that I can play at that level with those players gives me confidence in myself and my shots. It’s the confidence that I know I need to play my best game and have the upper-hand against my opponents this season, which is where my main focus is right now.”
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