When Elena Rybakina quickly extinguished Katie Boulter’s Wimbledon campaign on center court on Saturday night, the last Brit dropped out of the singles tournament at the All England Club.
But Boulter ignored the disappointment. “I wouldn’t say (being the last Briton) comes to mind too much,” she said after her 6-1 6-1 loss to defending champion Rybakina.
“Of course, I want to do my best every day, but I can only focus on myself, and that’s what I will continue to do.
“I will always think back to something positive,” she continued. “The crowd is amazing. You know, going there, every point they’re behind me and I felt them all the time. I wanted to give them a bit more.
“Unfortunately I couldn’t do that. But I enjoyed them every second I was there.”
She insisted she could build on the loss. “I have a great rest of the year ahead of me,” Boulter said. “It’s a really good opportunity for me to keep improving my rankings and really make a statement.
“These are the matches I want to play,” she continued. “I want to face the best in the world, and I’m going to have to do it week after week.
“Some days you play well. Some days you don’t. Some days they go your way. The more games I play like that, the more confidence I have and the more information I will get about myself and I can try to improve.”
Rybakina seemed to be a level above Boulter when they were playing. “I wouldn’t say I really felt like I fully entered the match. She’s clearly the defending champion for a reason, and I learned a lot,” said the Briton.
“There’s a handful of players who are at the top of the game that you have to adjust and you have to prepare for that. I’ve done that before. I feel like I’ve played serves like that, but obviously today was too much for me.
“I will continue to work on myself and my comeback, but it has definitely improved a lot over the last few months. Today was a bit of a blow in the return game.
“She was relentless at the end of the day. She was the much better player.”
Boulter thinks there are positives to be found. “It’s part of this sport and at the end of the day I have to pull myself together,” she said. “I’m going to sit here tomorrow morning and tell you I’m at the peak of my career.
“I’ve had some very positive weeks. I’ve just had five long weeks injury-free, problem-free. Those are the things I’m going to focus on and really move forward for the rest of the year.
“I would have loved to get a win today, but I have to take the positives. I’m quite a positive person and I have no doubt I’ll put them in the lead tomorrow.”