Australian WTA tennis player, Isabelle Wallace features in “Question & Answer Time”, giving us all an insight into one of the country’s rising tennis stars.

THE CHANGING OF COACHES IN 2017

I made the difficult decision to change coaches in 2017, but that has definitely helped a lot and been a major contributor to my ranking boost and confidence in play. Last year, I had an unbelievable year but the challenge for me now is to keep building on the foundations I have laid, and to not be complacent with current performances. I have a real opportunity to continue my growth this season, and I will be doing everything I can to keep the momentum going.

PRESSURES OF PERFORMING ON THE WTA CIRCUIT

For any tennis player on the WTA circuit, you’re always aware and on high alert. But even at 21, I’m not feeling the pinch in any sense. Last year I started in the 700s, and now I am edging closer towards breaking the 200s. My rise up the WTA rankings has really made me step back and think. I’m starting to feel as though I belong on this level, and that kind of makes me really feel validated to a degree. But you don’t really get a chance to think about all of that until you have an opportunity to catch your breath and reflect on the year that was.

Isabelle Wallace exclusive insight 1

THE NEXT FEW MONTHS AHEAD
The upcoming schedule will really give me a terrific opportunity and insight into where my tennis is currently placed on the world stage.
This time last year I was playing a lot of tournaments against players ranked outside 1,000 – I can’t envisage that will be the case as much this season, with many of my opponents to be WTA ranked seedings.
The personal goal I have set for myself is to really position myself to now compete against the world’s best 250, with an eye towards competing against the top 100 by season’s end.

BEING A YOUNG ROLE MODEL IN AUSTRALIAN TENNIS
It definitely makes me smile knowing that there are a number of young Australian girls that are entering the sport that see me as an influence and role model. I remember just starting out myself, and how I often looked up to the nation’s best players as a wide-eyed youngster. They all made tremendous impacts on my life in the sport, and hopefully I can do the same for the budding juniors that are participating in tennis at grassroots level.
It’s so cool to be able to be edging closer to the top players in the world.

MY FIRST WTA TOURNAMENT
That was in Bucharest in Romania. I went by myself as well which was kind of hard, when I wasn’t entirely sure that I was going to be allowed into the tournament! I was in the second alternate and then I went on the day of the sign in and somehow managed to squeeze through! I played my first match and I was 6-0 2-0… I was so nervous! I really had to emphasis to myself that I needed to calm down and just played my game. I managed to get it back to a three setter! Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get the win on the day, but it was still an unbelievable experience. I actually won my first WTA match in Brisbane this year, that was a really good feeling.

Exclusive Insight Isabelle Wallace

GOALS FOR 2018
If I am to be 100% honest… I don’t really like setting myself any goals, because I don’t want to place a ceiling on my potential this season. Ideally, I’d love nothing more than to crack into the first 200, especially when I am only 50+ rankings away. That would be an unbelievable achievement for me.

WHY I DECIDED TO CHANGE COACHES
I changed to Pablo Lozano during the 2017 WTA Season. I couldn’t be happier with our progress. Pablo is so unbelievably positive it’s ridiculous. That’s probably been the main impact;. just being so positive and that’s helped so much with my confidence. It’s not all about winning and losing. It’s about going and enjoying yourself on the court and that has played a huge impact for me. Unfortunately we are not always together. For financial reasons, last year I travelled alone quite a lot, and was by myself for much of it. However we have a really structured plan in place with helps a great deal.

WHERE WILL THE IMPROVEMENT COME FROM IN 2018
I think maybe expressing myself more on the court. I would say that’s one of my goals for this year. To express myself more.

MY SWITCH TO THE AUSTRALIAN COLOURS
I changed from Australia to Britain when I left Australia. At the time, it seemed like the right idea, but unfortunately I wasn’t receiving the support that I wished for from the LTA as a junior, right before my step up to the WTA circuit. So in 2015, my family and I decided to change back to Australia, and we haven’t regretted our decision one bit. All the support we have received from TA has been tremendous. I’m originally from Scotland, and moved to Australia when I was 10. But I represented Australia for Junior Fed Cup and so many other things. TA was really there for me during my development years as a tennis player, assisting me throughout my early-mid teen years. I’m really happy I was able change back and reclaim my green and gold colours.

Isabelle Wallace exclusive insight

KEEPING UP WITH THE OTHER WTA AUSTRALIAN PLAYERS
I try to keep in contact with the girls but I mostly see them at tournaments, especially in the European summer when they all come over.
When we clash in the same tournament then we all get together. I do try and keep in touch with them but a lot of the girls I used to train with are at University in America now.

HOW DID I FALL IN LOVE WITH TENNIS
My Mum and Dad used to play club tennis locally on a Wednesday night. My family has always been quite sporty. My brother played soccer, and my sister played netball.
But tennis has had my heart since the moment I first picked up a racquet during one of my parent’s social games.