Comeback tennis star Casey Dellacqua is headed up the world rankings after winning five straight Australian Open lead-up tournaments.
After finally overcoming a wretched run with injury, fit-again Casey Dellacqua is zeroing in on January’s Australian Open.
And after winning five straight lead-up tournaments, the 26-year-old left-hander has no doubt she can push past her previous highest world ranking of No.39.
In 2008, Dellacqua was the toast of her grand slam tournament when she surged to the fourth round.
But even then she was being hampered by a shoulder injury which eventually required surgery early in 2009.
The following year was cruelled by foot surgery.
Dellacqua, though, sees positives in the missing years, believing they helped her become more rounded and mature – qualities which will be reflected on court.
She will play the Australian Open wildcard tournament next month at Melbourne Park but win or lose, the West Australian is effectively guaranteed a spot in the main draw.
And she feels that is where she deserves to be.
“I feel like I’m hitting the ball great right now and that just comes from playing a lot of matches,” Dellacqua said on Thursday.
“I always think I have a chance to win tournaments but to win five in a row is something I probably didn’t think I could do. I’m on a 26-match winning streak now.
“I think it is time now where I’ve got to aim to try to play some of the better players.
“I’ll have that during the Australian Open so it will be interesting to see where I’m at.
“I think it’s realistic to say I can come back to where I was.
“I think I’ve come a long way from even when I was top 40 in the world but my first goal is to get inside the top 100 next year.”
Dellacqua said that she was feeling “mentally really fresh” as well as being able to finally train properly.
One mid-year bright spot was Dellacqua’s victory in the French Open mixed doubles with American Scott Lipsky.
“I hadn’t been back playing long at all so that was probably a highlight of my career so far,” she said.
While she had two of what should have been her most productive years away from the courts she says they were not at all detrimental.
“I actually really enjoyed my time away from the game,” she said. “But I kept up with all the results, I didn’t want to give up the game and I was always focused on my rehab.
“It was always my intention to come back and play and I think I now have a good perspective – tennis is my job and it’s what I do but it’s certainly not the be all and the end all.”