Francesca Jones: Tennis hope from West Yorkshire set to battle American title contender Coco Gauff at Wimbledon
A tennis prodigy from West Yorkshire is set to battle it out against American title contender Coco Gauff in the first round of Wimbledon this week.
Two years on from her spectacular emergence onto the world stage as a 15-year-old, Gauff returns to Wimbledon as a legitimate title contender.
In the first round she will take on 20-year-old British debutant Francesca Jones, who wrote headlines across the world when she qualified for the Australian Open despite a condition that meant she was born without several fingers and toes.
The rising star, from Oxenhope, will be mixing with the game’s elite.
In recent years, her time has been split more often between Barcelona and UK, where she she is one of 12 players on the LTA Pro Scholarship Programme, a scheme targetted at offering support to elite players regarded as having the potential to reach the top 100 in five years - as reported by Phil Harrison in the YP.
Jones was born with a congenital condition called Ectrodactyly Ectodermal Dysplasia, or EEC syndrome.
It means she only has three fingers and a thumb on each hand, three toes on one foot and four toes on the other.
She was told by one doctor that she would never be able to make it as a professional tennis player.
Speaking to the Press Association before the match, Jones said: "“I am definitely looking forward to it,” she said. “It is hopefully one of many, so I definitely want to cherish it.
“And hopefully I can cherish it by putting my mark on the tournament, but it is about making sure that this continues to help me build on my career and what I have done so far this year.
“And hopefully by the time I am back here next year I can look back on the experience and know that it is even more time on the court at Wimbledon, which is obviously a special place to me.”