Doubles success and ‘amazing experience’ of playing with Jamie Murray for Norfolk ace

Olivia Nicholls in action during the Progress Tour Women's Championships Picture: Progress Tour/LTA

Olivia Nicholls in action during the Progress Tour Women's Championships Picture: Progress Tour/LTA - Credit: Progress Tour/LTA

Norfolk tennis star Olivia Nicholls has had an amazing couple of weeks, which have included playing alongside Andy and Jamie Murray.

The WTA Tour ace started by helping to organise and compete in the Progress Tour Women’s Championships and then played on the same team as the Murray brothers in last week’s Battle of the Brits.

Both events are part of a summer programme of events organised to prepare Britain’s top players for a return to the professional tour. Norfolk LTA interviewed Acle’s top tennis export to find out what she made of the experience.

Nicholls and Barnett won the doubles at the Women’s Championships, with the 25-year-old saying: “Going into the tournament it was tough to know what to expect as I hadn’t competed for some time. I had been working hard during lockdown and was happy with how I played.

“The doubles win was fantastic, I was playing singles for the first time in two and a half years. To make the semi-finals of the tier one singles event was also really pleasing.”

Olivia Nicholls, left, won the doubles with Alicia Barnett at the Progress Tour Women's Championship

Olivia Nicholls, left, won the doubles with Alicia Barnett at the Progress Tour Women's Championships Picture: Progress Tour/LTA - Credit: Progress Tour/LTA

Days later, Nicholls was invited to take part in the Battle of the Brits, which was also hosted at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton.

“It was an absolutely amazing experience,” she added. “To be in the same team as Andy and Jamie was unbelievable, Judy Murray and Greg Rusedski were great captains. Judy was brilliant on court, giving us really good tips especially in the ladies doubles.

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“To play with Jamie was an incredible experience especially in the night match against Johanna Konta and Cameron Norrie. I had never been part of playing with such high calibre players. We lost 4-6, 5-7 but it was great for me to realise I can compete at that level and this has motivated me to keep going and keep pushing on.”

The Murrays’ Union Jacks team were eventually beaten 63-56 by the British Bulldogs in the high-profile event.

For Nicholls, a return to professional tennis is uncertain though, as tennis eases back into action after the coronavirus pandemic, adding. “I don’t know when or where my next pro match will be. Things are still very much up in the air at the moment.”

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