ANGMERING-ON-SEA Lawn Tennis Club’s Keelan Oakley is aiming for the top 500 in the world after recently reaching a career-high ranking.
Oakley, 22, is fully fit again after a back injury last year and is feeling confident about the upcoming months after recently playing in the qualifing tournaments at Queen’s and at Eastbourne.
Oakley is now ranked 1,321 in the world, having been 1,300 last month, and said: “Everything is on the up. After my surgery last year, everything has been going really well.
“At Queen’s, I played a British guy, James Marsalek, who I lost to in three sets. He’s ranked 700 in the world and it was a good match and a great experience for me as well. It was fantastic to be part of it all up there.
“At Eastbourne, I played against another British player, who is ranked 800, and went down in three sets. I played in front of a large crowd and it was another good experience and I enjoyed myself.
“This time next year, I hope to be in the Wimbledon pre-qualifiers or the Wimbeldon qualifiers, which would mean I’d need to be about 400 or 500 in the world.
“It’s definitely achievable. At a tournament last month, I beat the world number 275, which was a great scalp and a real confidence booster.
“I’m feeling really good at the moment and have a run of tournaments coming up.”
Oakley, who turned pro in 2010 and quickly picked up his first world ranking points, feels strong winter training helped him reach his new career-high ranking.
He said: “Training went really well during the winter, when I played some indoor tournaments. My body held up well after my operation and I’m feeling in a great place now.
“It felt good to reach a new career-high but it’s sort of where I expect to be and I’m looking to keep pushing on and picking up more ranking points.”
Oakley is still coaching at Angmering but is looking for sponsorship to help cover the costs of travelling to tournaments. Anyone interested can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org