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TO HULL AND BACK

How Yorkshire tennis star Paul Jubb has returned from a year blighted by injury and personal heartbreak to get his career back on track.

Yorkshire tennis sensation Paul Jubb couldn’t wait to see the back of 2023.

Unable to compete as a result of injury and having seen his world ranking tumble, Paul faced further grief last year when his beloved grandma Valerie sadly passed away.

She was the woman who had brought Paul up when he was tragically orphaned as a child and the person who had played such a huge role in his early life.

It was another devastating blow for the kid who grew up on a Hull council estate and defied the odds to reach Wimbledon in 2019 and then again in 2022.

But the likeable and incredibly resilient 24-year-old, who last played at at the Ilkley Trophy in 2019, says he is now fully focused on getting his career back on track and to repay all the people who got him to where he is today.

He said: “It was a tough year with the injuries and then losing my grandma but I’ve always tried to have a positive outlook and it was always instilled into me to not dwell on the past and focus on the future.

“Everything has its own path and whatever things come your way – good or bad – I believe it happens for a reason.

“It is only how you respond to those situations that will determine where you go.

“My grandma was my rock and took on the role of both my mum and dad so her loss is huge but she would want me to carry on, do my best and make her proud and that is what I’m determined to do.”

It is that strength of character and self-belief that took the gritty Yorkshireman from the streets of Hull to the hallowed turf of Wimbledon via a stint in the States at the University of South Carolina. It was there in 2019 where he became the first Brit to win the men’s singles title at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Men’s Tennis Championships and proved the springboard to even more success. In his first full season as a professional in 2022 he won five ITF single titles and became the first British player to win an ATP Challenger on a clay court since James Ward in 2009.

Two years on, Jubb, who now lives in London with his best mate and fellow Brit tennis star Jack Draper says he is now more driven than ever to return to the form that saw him twice reach Wimbledon.

Now fighting fit and ready for a full season, Paul is looking forward to getting back to winning ways and believes British tennis has never been stronger.

He said: “There are so many good things happening in British tennis at the moment and when one of the Brits does well, you want to try and add to the success story.

“All the young guys coming through at the moment are a great bunch and we are all so close with each other. We message and push each other on to succeed and there is a great feeling among the guys for what we are all trying to achieve.

“Having the likes of Andy Murray supporting you and training with you every day at the National Tennis Centre is invaluable and I am so lucky to be surrounded by such a great team who all push each other on.”

Whether or not Paul will be playing at The Ilkley Trophy again this year remains to be seen but his memories of the club go back a long way and he has nothing but praise for the popular event that has grown each year.

He said: “As a Yorkshire lad, Ilkley is the closest thing to playing on home soil and the support I got there in 2019 was incredible.

“It’s a fantastic club and set up and I’d love to return one day and lift the trophy.

“I remember playing there as a youngster with the Yorkshire team and I still know a few of the faces down there so it’s a special place for me and a tournament that is getting bigger and better each year.”

For a player, who has endured such a tough journey in life, his determination to reach the top is a lesson to any youngster trying to break into the game and he says he will be delighted if he can help inspire any kid from any background to pick up a racket and start playing tennis.

He said: “Tennis was just a fun sport for me when I was learning the game and it was only when I was about 14 that I decided I could try and make a career out of the sport. Thankfully it has gone well for me so far, but I want to achieve so much more and if I can inspire anybody to do the same, I couldn’t be happier.

“It is an exciting time for the sport in this country and it also feels like tennis is reaching out beyond the traditional fans and players we have had in Britain throughout the years.

“We are seeing so many more people from different communities getting involved in our sport and that can only be a good thing.”

The Ilkley Trophy takes places at ILTSC from 15th – 22nd June

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