In March, Sarah Beth Grey’s tennis career was in jeopardy after she was diagnosed with a heart condition. Now, she’s just two matches away from making it to Wimbledon.
Through the LTA’s NTC Access program, Grey was able to secure a place in the qualifying round of Wimbledon by defeating Olivia Gadecki of Australia. She won her match 5-7 7-5 7-6 [10-7].
For Grey, the conditions and nearly three-hour match she had to play were the kind of environment she would typically thrive in. However, she’s still unsure if she can continue playing tennis.
Following an electrocardiogram test in February, the 26-year-old suddenly had an abnormal heart rhythm. This condition could have dangerous consequences.
Uncertainty to return to playing tennis
The British player was overwhelmed by her achievement, as she said that she didn’t know if she would ever be able to play tennis again due to her condition.
“It’s amazing especially because at the start of the year, I didn’t know if I’d be stepping on court again with the health problems I had with my heart. I have to than the LTA and their medical team for finding the problem and they have been great helping me to get back on court. To come back and in one of my first tournaments to be in Wimbledon qualifying, I’m just over the moon,” Grey explained.
It was a huge shock to learn that something wasn’t right with the heart, as Grey had been in peak physical condition throughout the last year. After being told that something wasn’t right, she underwent a procedure to fix the issue.
“At one point they weren’t sure which way it was going to go, it wasn’t looking too good to carry on but thankfully, they did a procedure and they were able to fix it,” said Grey.
During this procedure, known as cardiac ablation, the scar tissue in Grey’s heart was intentionally damaged to block the electrical currents coming from her heart.
The initial diagnosis and the procedure were only a month old, but the 5-feet-6 had to ensure that she was still mentally prepared to return to playing tennis. This psychological impact was more significant than the effects on her body.
Grey regaining her health
The 26-year-old Grey said that she was able to gradually regain her physical and mental health over the next few months. She decided not to rush back into playing tennis. She took her time to get back to playing tennis. This season, she focused on getting ready for Wimbledon.
“I feel really grateful just to be playing. I think I’m taking that energy on court with me.”
Grey was never comfortable playing against her Australian opponent, as she could never get comfortable with how the match was going. In the first set, she could break her opponent’s serve, but she immediately dropped her serve.
In the second set, Grey could break her opponent’s serve, but she immediately dropped her serve. She was then able to take the lead in the third set and win the match in the final tie-break.
After defeating her Australian opponent, Grey will face another Swiss player, known as Lluissu Sun, in the second round of qualifying.