The rise and rise of Erin Routliffe down to hard work

Sunday, 26 June 2022

In 2021 Erin Routliffe didn’t even enter Wimbledon, this year she’s the 11th seed and goes into in on the back of reaching the final at the lead in WTA tournament in Bad Homburg, Germany.

The Auckland born, Canada raised 27-year-old raised Routliffe has entered the golden period of her career, although she’s hoping for more, but after battling away for years, she’s enjoying the benefits of her dedication and determination.

“It’s probably an accumulation of a lot of hard work, grinding on tour,” Routliffe said. 

“Last year I didn’t even make it into Wimbledon, I was debating whether to go as an alternate, or go to a $60,000 [tournament] in France and I went for the $60,000.

Now, we’ll be seeded for Wimbledon and that’s a good progression over the last year, which I’m obviously happy with and I’m looking to do more.

Routliffe earned NZ$657 for getting to the semifinals in Montpellier last year. She picked up NZ$8055 for getting to the final in Bad Homburg and if she was to lose in the first round of the ladies’ singles this week, she’d get a cheque for NZ$12,000.

Reflecting on her change in fortunes, Routliffe feels it’s down to a number of factors.

“I don’t think it came down to one thing, it was an accumulation of a bunch of stuff,” she said. 

“Finding the right partners, finding my game again, working on my mental game and I’d say it’s a bit of everything.”

Routliffe picked up her maiden WTA title in Palermo, Italy last year, while she made it to the final in Luxembourg in 2021. This season, she made it to the finals in St Petersburg, Russia, as well as Bad Homburg, partnering with Poland’s Alicja Rosolska, who she’ll also be playing with at Wimbledon.

Although there have been some memorable wins for Routliffe over the past year, she says there’s not one specific victory where she felt it had finally clicked for her.

“I’m thinking if there was a moment where I was like ‘I know what I’m doing,’ but half the time I don’t and I think everyone feels like that,” she said.

“It’s weird, because it’s just a little number changing beside your name, which doesn’t mean anything, but at the same time means everything.

“It’s a hard thing to try to put into words, but I think I’ve worked hard for a long time and it’s finally accumulated into being able to play the big tournaments for the entire year and this is my first year of playing all of the tournaments I want to be playing, I’m hoping I can do that for years to come.”

One of the number of benefits from being ranked inside the top 40 is that Routliffe can better plan her schedule. There is less of the anxiousness around which tournaments she can get in and then having to book expensive last-minute flights.

“I would say I know where I’m going almost every week, I probably know my schedule until the end of the year,” she said.

“It’s nice not worrying if I’ll get into places, but in saying that we didn’t get into Eastbourne so the ranking isn’t high enough to get into everything.

“But most of the time we can get into whatever we want and the next step is to be seeded for the big ones and go deep in them.”

In the first round at Wimbledon, Routliffe and Rosolska will play against Irina-Camelia Begu from Romania and Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina, either Wednesday or Thursday.

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