Australian Open tennis 2021 - Francesca Jones: Having an impact on others would 'mean a lot to me'
Another chapter in the remarkable story of Francesca Jones saw the British tennis player qualify for the first Grand Slam of the season in Melbourne. Ahead of the 2021 Australian Open main draw, which gets underway on Monday, Jones has spoken to Eurosport about the impact she hopes to have on others.
Francesca Jones of Great Britian plays a backhand in her singles match against Nadia Podoroska of Argentina during day two of the WTA 500 Yarra Valley Classic at Melbourne Park
Jones was born with a rare genetic disorder, Ectrodactyly Ectodermal Dysplasia, which affects the fingers and toes. She has three fingers and a thumb on each hand, three toes on her right foot and four toes on her left. She also started life with webbed fingers and has fewer teeth than most people.
"I would love to have even a minimal impact on people, their mentalities, their mindset," Jones told Eurosport.
It would be great to just help one person pick up a racket or pick up a study that they’ve been nervous about. So if I can just have the smallest impact on a child or an adult or whoever that would mean a lot to me.
"I just want to play my best tennis and I’ll do everything I can to do that and we will see where that takes me.
"We work to be at these events and I’ll continue working whenever this event is over for me. So this is something I have to approach as another match and I’m looking forward to just trying to give my all on that court."
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Jones could not be more excited about the prospect of making her Grand Slam debut and says she has done everything possible to prepare for her match against Rogers.
"Every player has things they have to work on," she said. "Maybe balance is something maybe I have to give an extra few minutes a day to, but ultimately I’m just trying to evolve my physicality just like any other player on tour.
"I have a great team around me. My coach Andrew Guilera, who is over here, he is very familiar with players on tour; the Lawn Tennis Association, they have analysts who help me; and I’ll also be watching a couple of matches of hers [Shelby Rogers], some recent and some from last year. Hopefully that will give me the best preparation possible.
"I’m looking forward to getting out on court, of course. It’s a very special event, everyone calls it the ‘Happy Slam’ and, I know it’s unique circumstances, but the players are happy to be over here in Australia right now."