Rising tennis star Zoe Hives will focus on getting her fitness base up to the elite standards required on the world stage over the next few months.
Ballarat’s Hives has enjoyed a brilliant past 12 months, going from no world ranking at the start of 2017, to now being number 261.
But the 21-year-old feels in order for her to continue her surge up the rankings and take the next step, her fitness must improve.
A prime example of this was Hives’ semi-final loss to Marta Kostyuk at the Burnie International.
Hives took the first set against Kostyuk, the 15-year-old sensation that made it to the third round of the 2018 Australian Open, but could not maintain that level over three sets – going down 6-2 in the deciding set to the eventual tournament winner.
“It’s just about making sure I can last three sets,” Hives said.
“I won the first set against her, then physically I dropped off – so I can’t keep up that standard. So that’s the aim, so I can play at that standard for three sets.
“It’s going to be a lot of hard work.
“Then by the end of the year, hopefully I’ll be feeling really good and able to take advantage of how I’m playing.”
Hives said after an intense training block she would take her game to Asia.
Of the five tournaments she has played this year, Hives has won one and made the semi-finals in three others.
Hives is as confident in her game as ever.
But adding similar confidence in her body, having now put a retched run with injury in 2016 behind her, will be what defines her quest to climb the rankings – and Hives has faith she can do it.
“I’m really confident with my tennis, I just need to get that confidence with my body.
“This year has given me a lot of confidence that I can make it, that’s why I want to give it my best shot.”
Hives gave The Courier an insight to the life of a travelling tennis player.
Hives made her way around Europe solo last year, not having the funds to take a travelling team.
She said the life of a rising tennis player could be a lonely one at times and it was certainly demanding.
“It is pretty lonely when you’re travelling by yourself around all the different countries.
“And when you’re not going well...mentally, just by yourself, it’s tough.”
Hives recently received a scholarship from the Fed Cup Foundation, which will aid her journey.