WANBOROUGH wheelchair tennis ace Louise Hunt made a triumphant return to the court by claiming success in the doubles at the Open De Vendee.
This was the first time Hunt had been in action since February, after taking some time off from a hectic 2016.
But now Hunt feels fully recharged and stormed to a 6-2, 6-3 win in France, with Brazilian partner Natalia Mayara, who she had never played with before.
While the two-time Paralympian was glad to take the break from the sport, she admits she was pleasantly surprised by her form on her return.
“I was feeling a little bit apprehensive because I haven't played a tournament since February and that is quite a long time,” said Hunt.
“I’d never gone that long before but when I got there, it felt like clockwork. It was nice to come back to a successful tournament really.
“I really enjoyed my doubles this week because it was quite nice to have someone on my side of the court.”
Wanborough’s Hunt also claims she greatly needed the break after an exhausting 12 months last year.
“Last year got on top of me,” added the wheelchair tennis star. "It was a long year with a lot of travelling, I’m not complaining but I desperately needed some time out.
“I needed some time at home where I wasn’t constantly getting on aeroplanes. Olympic years are really hard anyway but I also gave myself the time to train.
“When you’re flying around and competing all the time you don’t have time to make big changes to your game.
“I’ve had a couple of months where I have been concentrating on training and it is clearly paying off because I didn’t do too badly.”
Due to her elongated absence, Hunt has also seen her world ranking drop to 21st in the singles and 13th in doubles, after being in the top 10 for both last year.
But now fully replenished, Hunt is focussed on retaining her previous world rankings by the end of the season.
“I am hungry for it, I feel recharged and I am so glad I took that time away because it was definitely the right decision,” she said.
“It’s hard to watch my rankings drop, but then it was a year where I could kind of allow that to.
“Last year I was at my best, in a way it kind of hurts but I would like to be back up there by the end of the year, and there is plenty of time for it.”