Jennifer Brady makes winning return to professional tennis
2021 Australian Open finalist Jennifer Brady stepped on a tennis court in a professional tournament for the first time in nearly two full years on Monday in Granby, Canada—and won.
The 28-year-old won her first-round match at the ITF World Tennis Tour $100,000 event against Japan's Kyoka Okamura, 6-2, 6-3. It was a welcome return for the one-time world No. 13, who last played at the 2021 Western & Southern Open.
There, she retired in the second round against Jelena Ostapenko, and had been sidelined since due to knee and foot injuries. At the time, Brady was ranked No. 16 in the world, on the heels of a breakout 12 months that saw her not only reach the final in Melbourne, but the semifinals of the 2020 US Open.
On social media Monday, Brady announced her comeback officially, thanking those who supported her throughout her hiatus.
"Big week this week. Playing my first match back, my first tournament back in almost two years ... I'm super thrilled," she said in an Instagram story. "I just want to say, it's about damn time. [The support] really meant a lot, helped me keep going, and get me back to competing again."
Brady had a goal of returning this spring at Roland Garros, having entered the year's second Grand Slam on a protected ranking, but withdrew due to a new, but minor, foot injury.
Speaking to former doubles world No. 1 and current commentator Rennae Stubbs in an interview this March, Brady said that she was staying optimistic for a return, despite the struggles and setbacks of the last 18 months.
"We are on a better track than we were last year, we will tell you that," she said. "Definitely on the right track, figuring things out, definitely not an easy case, so all kinds of little stuff going on. So, we are a on a better place than we were last year, that's for sure."