Key test for Bloomfield’s comeback

Norfolk professional Richard Bloomfield will use the 2010 AEGON Winter County Cup this month to assess the condition of a troublesome back injury that has plagued the last two years of his career.

Bloomfield last competed in early September at the St Remy Challenger in France, but was forced to withdraw during the final set of his opening round encounter with Frenchman Jonathan Hilaire.

Since then, the 27-year-old has taken further time away from the court for strength and conditioning work in a bid to regain full fitness.

'My back actually feels great at the moment after the stuff I've been doing and I've started to hit a few balls without serving,' said Bloomfield.

The man from Alpington has matched his career-high British ranking of fourth after an unlikely run to the semi-final of the ATP Hall of Fame Championships at Newport, Rhode Island, in the summer but has been unable to build on that performance with the injury lay-off.

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With the bulk of his ranking points coming from the run in Rhode Island, Bloomfield has several months in the lead up to Wimbledon to add to that haul and secure a place in the qualifying event for the 2011 championships at the All England Club.

'Wimbledon is definitely my target for 2011 but I'll need a clean bill of health to give myself a fair crack at it,' he said.

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'I've had some unbelievable experiences there and would love another chance to compete in the championships.'

Bloomfield was selected as part of the English team for the Commonwealth Games in October but his injury resulted in a difficult decision to pull out of the event just a week before he was due to travel to India.

'The chance to represent my country was an exciting prospect and one that I felt awful to turn down. I thought very hard about it but based on the condition of my back at the time it would not have been a sensible move.'

With British No 1 Andy Murray choosing not to take part in recent Davis Cup ties, there may still be hope for Bloomfield to fulfil a career-long ambition and compete for Great Britain.

'I've been involved with the squad before but never made it into the four-man team. I would jump at the chance to come back in and maybe even compete in a live rubber, but I'll need to prove I'm fit and in form again.'

Bloomfield's re-introduction to competition should come at county cup and will give the Norfolk No 1 a good idea of his progress.

The Norfolk side travel to Cardiff on November 25, for three days of competition against Derbyshire, South Wales and Essex in a strong group two.

Also making his return to the county side will be former professional James Auckland, who is likely to play on the final day.

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