Casey eyeing return to court

Casey Dellacqua is using tennis compatriot Sam Stosur’s stunning rise through the rankings as inspiration as she continues her long recovery from a shoulder reconstruction.

Stosur hit a career-high world ranking of No.13 last week after claiming her first WTA title in Japan, with the achievement coming after she battled two serious illnesses and a shoulder injury herself.

Dellacqua is set to make her return to competition next month in two ITF pro circuit tournaments in her home state of WA after eight months on the sidelines.

“It’s been great to see Sam do so well this year,” she said.

“She’s had so much time off with injury as well and it’s taken her a bit but she’s finally got back and exceeded her past results and done really well.

“It definitely gives you motivation, when you have bad days you think it’s going to be all right and I’ll get back there.”

The 24 year old from Perth said her progress had been stalled by tendonitis in her foot, but she was still confident of being fit for the Australian summer of tennis, and namely the Open, to which she hoped to secure a wildcard.

“It’s been a pretty long year, I had the shoulder reco in February, straight after the Aussie Open so since then the main focus has been trying to get that right,” said Dellacqua, who used her down time to watch her beloved Carlton make the AFL finals.

“The shoulder feels awesome now, I haven’t had any problems with it so I’m just getting the foot right now and then hopefully I’ll be on my way.

“It’s just about focusing on 2010 now and using the rest of this year to do all the right things and get as ready as possible.”

Dellacqua hit a career-high world ranking of No.39 in 2008 after catching the country’s attention with her gutsy fourth-round appearance at the Australian Open, which she backed up by advancing to the third round at both the French Open and Wimbledon.

“I had such a good first part of 2008 but then I really started to have shoulder problems after Wimbledon and struggled through the year and didn’t play too many tournaments,” she said.

“It was really bad timing because I’d worked so hard to get to that level but I guess that’s part of being an athlete.

“I was on a roll and I would have liked to have kept going but the break has made me feel really fresh.”

Due to the injury she has a protected ranking of 70, and will aim to improve on that beginning with the Brisbane and Hobart WTA tournaments in January before the Open.

“I’m not going to set my goals too high at the beginning, I’m going to give myself time and set realistic goals because it’s going to take time to get back there.

“But that’s OK, I’m prepared to do that and I know I can.”