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TOC IS PERRY'S COMEBACK GOAL

Posted: 27.12.13

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Sarah-Jane Perry, who has been sidelined since September with a spinal injury, is on target to make her comeback at the Tournament of Champions in New York in January.

The world number 17 admits she is now “chomping at the bit” to play matches and tournaments after returning to full training this week.

The 23-year-old from Warwickshire, who suffered two stress fractures in one of her lumbar spine vertebrae, said: “I’ve had a few injuries, but this is the one with the longest period off court. Such a long rehab period is always going to test any player mentally, so I’ve tried to just look at improving what I can do now to make sure everything heals well and become as robust as possible to minimise the likelihood of anything similar happening in the future. I was pretty relaxed about it for the first couple of months, but now I’m back on court, I’m chomping at the bit to play some matches and tournaments!”

The diagnosis came at a particularly unfortunate time for Perry, who was told that the approximate healing time was 12 weeks just after reaching the quarter-finals of the Malaysian Open, where she played through what she described as “a lot of stiffness and a bit of discomfort, but no pain”.

“I was gutted to find out I wasn’t going to be able to play for the remainder of 2013,” she said. "I missed the biggest tournament of the year in the US Open, as well as Carol Weymuller, Monte Carlo and Hong Kong, all of which I was planning on playing.

“I had a good start to the season in Malaysia, making the quarters of a World Series for the first time, so it was frustrating to not have the chance to build on that.

“It has been weird not packing to go away or wasting time in airports and hotels for a few months, but I’m sure the resentment for those will return quickly come January! The WSA calendar is busy after Christmas, I’m really excited for the rest of the season and hopefully I can keep pushing towards the top 10 and beyond.”

After starting the year at 29 in the WSA Rankings, Perry had shot up to 14 by October, but since then she has slipped a little due to her injury.

“We are in the final stages of rehab now,” she said. "It’s been a long process, but I am definitely stronger from it, both physically and mentally. It’s periods like these when you realise how much you do or don’t love doing something. It’s such a privilege to be able to travel the world doing something you love and I can’t wait to keep pushing my limits and see where it gets me.

“Thankfully, everything is on plan to make my comeback at the Tournament of Champions in January. I haven’t played it before, but it is a lot of people’s favourite tournament, so that just adds to my excitement.”