Like many other youngsters, Belinda Woolcock couldn't find her spot in the top-500 on the WTA list, deciding to embrace college tennis and achieving a notable career with Florida Gators between 2013-17. In 2018, Belinda struggled with anterior cruciate ligament, missing all the action since February and kicking off the 2019 season from outside the top-650.
Ranked 774th, Belinda claimed the title in Burnie in the last week of January, playing in another final in May in the USA and earning enough points to finish in the top-300. Delighted with her progress after that terrible last season, Belinda will try to go even further in 2020, seeking qualifying draws at Majors and a chance to compete at some WTA events, especially at home in Australia in January.
"I had a rough 2018 season - there were a lot of things that I had to overcome," Woolcock said. "The first one was being sidelined with my ACL. Still, last year I learned a lot off the court and it paid off in 2019.
I started the year with nothing to lose, thrilled to be on the court again and healthy. I've now got a great physical conditioning trainer, Tennille, at Core Advantage in Oakleigh, and they've really nailed it on the head with all the aspects off the court for me.
It's really given me the confidence that I can execute better on the court. My coach is Claudia Forsyth at Kooyong, and the Kooyong Foundation supports me; I actually do a lot of my training there. Progressing from that Burnie tournament at the beginning of the season, there were still a lot of things I needed to work on.
I had two trips to America and got better with every tournament. Recently finished Aussie Pro Tour went for six weeks and I had a good run there as well, with consistent results. Now I think I've continued to work on the things from that block, and I'm hoping to still improve and get better from there.
From last year's injury, I think I've done really well with just looking after things off the court after training and after matches. Tennis is a stressful and lonely sport, you have to take care of the mental side and it will pay off in the end.
I'm really excited about the upcoming summer - I've entered all the tournaments, such as Brisbane, Auckland, Hobart, Adelaide. I'm just hopeful that with my ranking that can get me into qualies. After that, I would definitely play the remaining Aussie tournaments, so Burnie and Launceston.
From there, I'll consider going overseas. I'm hoping to play more WTA tournaments and qualifying draws at Majors in 2020."