Hives' place safe in tennis hierarchy

ON MEND: Ballarat tennis star Zoe Hives might return to the court with her rank in tact. Picture: Luis Enrique Ascui
ON MEND: Ballarat tennis star Zoe Hives might return to the court with her rank in tact. Picture: Luis Enrique Ascui

Ballarat's Zoe Hives might be one of the few athletes to benefit from the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Australian tennis star had her world singles ranking frozen after falling ill with glandular fever and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) last year.

This means when she returns to play, Hives will still be eligible for numerous Women's Tennis Association events as well as two grand slam qualifiers.

Hives said her protected ranking of 142 would allow her to compete in eight tournaments when she returned to the court.

"I've been very lucky during COVID-19 because my ranking has been frozen and I haven't lost all my points yet," she said.

"I might come out of COVID very lucky and still have my ranking."

It is unknown when Hives will be back however, as she works to get her strength back. Although she is close to full health, Hives said she was a long way off full-length match fitness.

With play put on hold following the COVID-19 outbreak, she said there was no point in rushing.

My whole team knows we have time for me to go through it, she said,

"We don't have to rush, we've been increasing my training each week in small doses so my body can deal with it," she said.

"I've had no issues and it's all been progressing."

Hives' health battles came at a bad time for the 23-year-old, who was finding the best form of her career.

She made a breakthrough appearance at the 2019 Australian Open, defeating US player Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the main draw. She also claimed her first WTA doubles title alongside partner Astra Sharma.

This story Hives keeps world ranking despite illness first appeared on The Courier.