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Francesca Jones successfully won the Australian Open qualifiers. The twenty-year-old British tennis player could prepare for the first Grand Slam tournament of his career, though if he listens to his doctor as a child, he won’t even try the sport.
Francesca Jones defeated China Lu Jiaxing in Dubai infinitely smoothly, 6-0, 6-1 on Wednesday, making it to the main table of the Australian Open. The road to success, however, was nowhere near as smooth.
Jones was born on September 19, 2000, in Leeds, to an extremely rare disorder called EEC syndrome. Because of this, he has only four fingers on both hands and his left leg, while he has three on his left leg and has had so many surgeries that he can’t even count. He had every chance of a normal life, but no one promised an outstanding sports career. Jones was eight years old when his doctor declared he would never be a tennis player.
“It would have frustrated a lot of kids, but I wanted to show the doctor you were wrong.” I have been struggling ever since to inspire other children with similar difficulties not to give up on their dreams because others don’t believe in them. It’s always a big deal if you do something that others say you’re incapable of, ”Jones says.
At the age of ten, he joined the Sánchez Casal tennis academy in Barcelona, and to this day he commutes between Barcelona and England. He had to learn everything a little differently than his rivals, fewer fingers affect the punch, fewer toes affect the balance.
“I don’t see that as a disadvantage, just that I was dealt other cards.” But if I play them well, you can win with them too, ”says Francesca Jones, who was able to forge an advantage from her innate disorder. “Mentally, I think I’m stronger than most of my rivals because I’ve been through things they’ve never been through.
The young tennis player received a free card for the qualifier at his home Grand Slam tournament in Wimbledon in 2019, but was unable to win a match. Last year, the Wimbledon race missed due to the coronavirus epidemic, but Jones took great advantage of a few months of tennis life downtime.
“I worked on my physique because my condition only allowed me to start lifting weights for two years. I may need to work more in this area than others, but I enjoy the challenges.
The work invested paid off, Jones swung in great form by the second half of the year, advanced nearly a hundred places in the world rankings, and beat former Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki, among others. Thanks to all this, he was already in the qualifying place in the Australian Open qualifiers and took the opportunity: he defeated the former top 30 Monica Niculescut, the Croatian Jana Fett, and then the Chinese Lut, although all three are ahead of Jones in the current world rankings.
“I’m so glad I got to the main board.” I’m excited about the race, I’m sure it’s going to be a fantastic experience.
The Australian Open kicks off on February 8th. Like Jones, Tímea Babos was successful in the qualifiers, while Márton Fucsovics and Attila Balázs will represent Hungary in the first Grand Slam tournament of the year.
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