Johannesburg - South Africa's Chanel Simmonds will place more emphasis on building her body mass to be more competitive on the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) tour, she said.
“I definitely need to work at getting stronger now, because if I want to play at the top level, I need to be a stronger player and hit the ball harder,” said Simmonds on Saturday after finishing runner-up in the 2013 Soweto Open.
“During my practice sessions, I’m going to work a lot on improving my swing and my serve, and putting on some weight and muscle mass.”
The left-handed player lost 7-6 (7/3), 4-6, 1-6 to Hungary’s Timea Babos, ranked more than 60 places above her in the WTA rankings.
Earlier this year, Simmonds reached the third round of the Australian Open qualifiers, which boosted her WTA singles ranking to a career high 171 and still remained in the top 200.
Seeded fifth, in the women’s tournament in Jabavu, she beat Ukrainian fourth seed Nadiya Kichenok in straight sets to reach the final of the ITF Women’s circuit event.
“I played very well in my first round match and got a lot of confidence from that. Then I played one of my friends in the following match and easily made it through that one as well,” Simmonds said.
“In the quarter-finals, I took out the number-two seed, which was a huge confidence booster and then went on to challenge the fourth seed, where I also did well.
“I’m happy I made it to the final and will now focus on improving my game.”
She plans to compete in the WTA Tour event in Strasbourg, France, from May 20 to 25 for last minute practice on clay before heading to Roland Garros for the French Open later in the month.