The 23-year-old Ellen Perez has been through quite a journey so far, enjoying various sports before dedicating herself to tennis and making a successful trip from her native country to Georgia and back. At the age of 14, she opted for tennis and that proved to be the best possible choice, entering the top-100 on the ITF junior list despite not playing a lot of events, especially outside Australia.
Struggling with injuries, Ellen decided to start a college career at the University of Georgia although there were more setbacks on the horizon, having to undergo four surgeries and failing to achieve everything she was hoping for.
After three years as the Bulldog, Perez decided to turn pro in 2017 following a string of solid results on the ITF Tour in 2016 and 2017, preparing herself for the challenging WTA Tour and setting new goals for 2018. It was the best possible start of the season for Ellen, defeating Kristina Mladenovic in Sydney and finishing the year with four back-to-back singles finals at home in Australia.
The results in doubles were even better and she is currently ranked inside the top-100 on the WTA doubles list, seeking more good results on both fields in the season ahead of us. That didn't happen, though, losing in the opening round in four straight singles tournaments in Hobart, Australian Open, Burnie and Launceston and working hard on her game in February to prepare for the better run outside the home.
In addition, Australia play the Fed Cup semi-final against Belarus in six weeks in Brisbane and Ellen would love to join the team and represent her country for the first time. After intense training run in Melbourne, Perez plays Mildura Grand Tennis International and will travel to the USA after another home event in Canberra to compete on the American clay until Roland Garros.
Her goals remain the same as in the interview she gave us in December, to crack the top-50 in doubles and get inside the top-100 in singles and enter the Grand Slam main draws directly, trying to draw the most from only the second pro season on the Tour.
“I would love to make myself available for Fed Cup. It’s one of my huge goals. I’ve always dreamed of playing for Australia. I think I thrive in a team environment, especially having gone to college. Fed Cup would be one of the greatest honors I could have,” said Perez.
“I’ve never had the opportunity to play it before; even in the juniors I missed out on doing any Fed Cup, I missed out on any Australian touring events.. I was that one who was just one spot off making it (smiling).
I’m definitely very hungry and it’s always been a goal, and I would love to play the tie in April, but we’ve got a great crop of girls right now who had an incredible summer and very much deserved their spots.
It’s going to make it tough. We had a gap in the schedule (in February) and we could work on a few things, get my legs stronger, get a bit fitter, and break a few things down technically. We worked on changing my forehand a little bit; just my swing, the way I take it back, I shank sometimes.
This is a smoother swing path so it just allows me to stay on the ball longer. It’s hard technically to change the forehand, but now I’m starting to get it, so I think it will start to come a little more naturally.
I hate putting numbers on it and I have never been the sort of play to set the bar too high, but I think that’s something I wanted to do this year. I would love to crack the top 100; playing Slams off my ranking would be the ultimate goal.
I want to get my ranking back up so that I’m playing qualifying for French and Wimbledon, and then go from there”.