Home » ‘Devastated and heartbroken’: Storm Hunter’s Achilles injury on eve of Billie Jean King Cup clash

‘Devastated and heartbroken’: Storm Hunter’s Achilles injury on eve of Billie Jean King Cup clash

Australia’s Billie Jean King Cup spearhead Storm Hunter has suffered a devastating injury on the eve of the nation’s qualifying tie against Mexico beginning in Brisbane today.

The 29-year-old, who claimed the world’s No. 1 ranking in doubles late last year, was training at Pat Rafter Arena on Thursday when her Achilles tendon ruptured.

Hunter, who has posted her best results in singles over the past 12 months and was on the cusp of a top 100 breakthrough, confirmed the severity of the injury today.

“Unfortunately yesterday in our last practice before the tie, I went down and scans last night confirmed that I have ruptured my Achilles tendon,” she said.

“I am devastated and heartbroken, but incredibly grateful to be around the team and I know I have a great group of people around me that will help me get back on the court as soon as possible.

“Thankyou everyone so much everyone for your messages of support and love. I’m excited to stay for the tie and support our Aussie girls.”

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It is a particularly cruel blow for Hunter, who overcame a career-threatening shoulder injury early in her 20s to become an outstanding representative for her country.

The left-hander has performed superbly in singles in recent years in the Billie Jean King Cup, regularly notching wins over higher-ranked players.

As her confidence blossomed, she posted a maiden win at major level at Roland Garros last year and reached the third round of the Australian Open in January.

In an interview with foxsports.com.au prior to the injury, Australian captain and former US Open champion Sam Stosur described Hunter as the leader of the current BJK Cup team.

“Playing (in the) Billie Jean King Cup or in the slams, she has this ability to step up and play at a (higher) level. It’s not playing out of her skin and playing ‘Oh my gosh, how can I ever replicate that?’. She is now bringing it in the bigger moments, which is fantastic,” Stosur said.

“Because of that, she’s really kind of the leader of the team at the moment and can use those experiences that she’s had and now, obviously (with) being very highly ranked in doubles, she’s … playing in finals and winning big events, which can only help her singles game.

“I’d love to see her break into the top 100. She’s come close a couple of times, but I think she’s playing the best tennis that she’s ever played over the last two years, which is amazing. (At) her age and (with) the adversity that she’s come through, I believe she can get inside the (top 100) as well.”

After confirming the news on social media, the popular Australian received well-wishes from her teammates and peers on the tour worldwide.

Daria Saville, who has overcome two knee reconstructions and a serious Achilles problem to return to the top 100, was among those to post their support. She will replace Hunter in singles today.

Fellow BJK Cup representative Kim Birrell, current teammate Taylah Preston and tour peers Caroline Dolehide, Priscilla Hon, Lizette Cabrera, Caty McNally and Asia Muhammad also offered their support.