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Svitolina's coach Bettles is happy to be flying flag for Great Britain

 

Title vision: Elina Svitolina is hungry for Wimbledon success
Title vision: Elina Svitolina is hungry for Wimbledon success

By Andy Sims

Johanna Konta may have been knocked out but there is still British interest in the singles at Wimbledon through coach Andy Bettles.

Konta missed out on reaching the last four for the second time in three years after falling to a 7-6 (5) 6-1 defeat to Barbora Strycova on Tuesday.

But while Strycova takes on title favourite Serena Williams, the second semi-final sees Simona Halep face eighth seed Elina Svitolina, who is coached by Somerset's Bettles.

The 26-year-old began working with Svitolina in 2017, helping the Ukrainian maintain her place in the top-10 and rise as high as No.3 in the world.

Bettles will certainly have better memories of Wimbledon from coaching than as a player, having lost in the first round of the boys' singles to Roberto Carballes Baena in 2011.

"I remember it was a hot day," he said. "I was so nervous I could barely hold the grip and I think I hit three double faults in the first game.

"I wasn't a good enough player but the coaching side fascinated me. I've been lucky to work with some amazing coaches and then Elina gave me the trust to be her main coach.

"When I was growing up, Wimbledon was so special, so this is amazing for me personally. It's important sometimes to take a step back and, on a personal note, remember how quickly my career has come along.

"Will I feel any pressure? A little bit. But it's nice she's playing Halep, we know her so well.

"She's played her six times since I've been working with her, she's a familiar opponent so the match tactics are almost set."

Williams is bidding for her eighth title, which would take her level with Margaret Court's record of 24 Grand Slam titles.

Her coach Patrick Mouratoglou said: "That's why she came back after having a baby and so many medical complications.

"You have no idea how hard she has worked to come back to this level, so it would mean a lot."

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