Jodie Burrage and fellow Brits ‘inspiring’ each other for Wimbledon after Raducanu success

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Jodie Burrage is feeling “inspired” by the success of her “good friends” and fellow Brits ahead of Wimbledon. The world No 169 is one of a pack of home players who have enjoyed good results on the grass this season, already reaching a final in Ilkley and upsetting world No 4 Paula Badosa in Eastbourne. And she opened up on how the Brits are all pushing each other to achieve more.

Burrage earned the biggest win of her career in the second round of the Eastbourne International as she upset top seed Badosa 6-4 6-3, adding to her already-successful grass swing that saw the 23-year-old make the semi-final in Surbiton and final in Ilkley. The London local is one of many Brits who has enjoyed a breakout grass swing in the leadup to Wimbledon and she shared how a close bond with her compatriots was behind their success.

“The Brits at the moment are doing so well, it will be interesting to see the last time we all did this well in consecutive weeks as well,” she said, speaking exclusively to Express Sport. “It’s not like it’s just been one week, it’s been a lot of weeks. But it’s definitely inspiring watching everyone do well, we’re all good friends as well so it’s really nice that we can all share this.”

Burrage wasn’t the only woman flying the flag in Eastbourne, as Katie Boulter downed last year’s Wimbledon runner-up Karolina Pliskova while Harriet Dart reached her second quarter-final. And there have been strong results for the men as Ryan Peniston made his ATP Tour debut in Queen’s last week, upsetting world No 5 Casper Ruud en route to the quarters before backing it up with his second-successive last-eight showing in Eastbourne.

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Jack Draper also earned two top-15 wins in the space of nine days as he beat Taylor Fritz in Queen’s before dispatching top seed Diego Schwartzman in Eastbourne en route to his first tour-level semi-final. Reflecting on their results, Burrage continued: “It’s not just like one person doing well, we all are. It’s been great and we’ve got a Grand Slam next week so we’re all taking a lot of confidence into that and gonna see what happens in the next two weeks.”

The 23-year-old also heralded Emma Raducanu’s US Open win for “kick-starting” more success among the young Brits, while lauding Andy Murray and Johanna Konta for paving the way for her generation of players. “What she did obviously was amazing, inspiring and I do think it’s pushed us on,” she said of the world No 11.

“And maybe people are taking belief from her success and now we can all take belief from our own success in the last few weeks as well. I definitely think it maybe kick-started something but we’ve had role models like Andy and Jo Konta who was obviously top 10. There’s always been people up there, it’s just nice that so many of us are proving ourselves now.”

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Burrage also said she had already learned a lot from the likes of former world No 1 Murray, having teamed up with him during the Battle of the Brits event during the pandemic. She added: ”Andy for me has been one of my favourite tennis players for obviously such a long time and with him at the National Tennis Centre and when we were playing battle of the brits and stuff, obviously I was lucky enough to play mixed dubs with him as well, and you just learn a lot. Even when you’re not hanging around to learn you pick up on things that he does, how he goes about his day, training, what it takes. so it’s definitely good to have those people around NTC.” 

And it seems there’s also some healthy competition among the pack of young Brits, as Burrage admitted she and Peniston are racing to make their respective debuts in the world’s top 100 after reaching career highs during the pre-Wimbledon grass swing. Speaking on her relationship with her fellow Brits, she said: “I think we’re all on our own journeys really and I feel like even though we are all different ages, it doesn’t seem that way when we’re all together like we’re all good friends, we’re all in the same group, we’re all doing good things.

“But me and Penny have had such a good grass season. We were actually looking this morning on like the live rankings, I’m 141 and he’s 142, so we were having a little look at that and we were saying if we’re going to have a race to top 100 and stuff. We’ve both had a good grass season and I hope we can just carry on.”

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