From playing at the highest level and facing the big guns at Grand Slams to now back playing Challengers, James Duckworth’s comeback from injury is yet to be completed. Once ranked in the Top-100, the Australian has spent almost all of last year overcoming foot and elbow injuries.
Unseeded at the Canberra International this week, he is a former champion here and is looking forward to the challenges this week posts for him. “It’s been a tough road, I was out for 18 months pretty much and started back again at the French Open this year but my body has been pretty good for the most part which is a biggest positive,” Duckworth said.
“I’ve had some good results, some not so good results, and am still probably a little bit away from my best tennis. But this week is a good opportunity to build my ranking up and trying to find that level I had when I was in the top 100,” he further added.
Duckworth has arrived here with some good form behind his back, winning his first Challenger Title in America, his first in two years. “It was my first Challenger [win] since 2016 so it was nice to come out and win and it was pretty tough because I had to come through qualies and play eight matches.
It gave me plenty of confidence though,” Duckworth said. “I’ve got a tough opening match here… Marc is a great competitor so it’s always tough playing him but I’m going to go out there and play my game and hopefully put in a good performance.
It’s a strong field here, [Thompson and Kubler] are great players and some of the internationals too, the No. 2 seed [Yoshihito Nishioka] won an ATP event in China three weeks ago.” “It will be a tough week, whoever comes through will have to be playing some good tennis.” Speaking about targets, he assessed, “I feel like if I can stay healthy for a long period I can get my ranking back inside the top 10.
[Top 100] definitely makes life easier, it’s nice financially as the grand slams are paying pretty well and getting directly into slams is why you play the game, to play the big events.” ALSO READ Jurgen Melzer: It definitely wasn’t the end I was hoping for .