Maia Lumsden is on a mission to make up for lost time. After wondering for a while whether she would ever pick up a racket again after struggling with the debilitating effects of long Covid, the Scot is now enjoying some of the best tennis of her career. 

A year that has already seen her reach the quarter-finals at Wimbledon, become British number one and win tournaments in France and back home in Glasgow will reach another high this weekend with Lumsden set to make her GB debut in the Billie Jean King (BJK) cup play-off tie against Sweden. 

It is testimony to the world number 74’s power of perseverance that she has made it this far, with her long Covid struggles coming off the back of contracting mumps and another viral complaint. If any positive can be gleaned from those lost years it is that they came early in her career, not at her peak. It means the 25 year-old can look forward with her best years still ahead of her.

“Things are going really at the moment for me,” she says. “Wimbledon was a big breakthrough event and changed the rest of the year for me really. Before that the plan was to keep playing ITF [International Tennis Federation] but because of Wimbledon we were able to get into WTA [Women’s Tennis Association] events. 

“Those are the ones I’ve always wanted to play in and it’s opened up a whole load of new experiences. I’m really happy to have reached a career high ranking and to become British number one as well – that was pretty cool as it was something I hadn’t really expected. 

“Physically I feel in great shape and all those issues are hopefully now behind me. I think it’s helped focusing on doubles which is a little less physical. When I came back and was playing singles, I was picking up little injuries as I’d been out for so long. 

“With doubles it’s easier to manage that side of things. One of my main goals for the year was just to stay healthy and fit as I’ve obviously missed a lot of tennis over the last few years. 

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“At the time when I was going through all of that I wasn’t sure whether I would be able to come back at all. But I knew that, because of the age I was at, there was still time for me to return if I wanted to. I was lucky that it happened earlier in my career and I’ve still got a lot of time to achieve everything I want from the sport.”

Lumsden’s recent tournament wins in Rouen and then at Scotstoun were all the more impressive given she managed it without usual partner Naiktha Bains who is sidelined until the new year with a rib injury. 

It disrupted the duo’s plans to spend the autumn on the Asian circuit but tennis players are accustomed to having to rejig their plans at short notice, with the Scot hooking up with temporary partners (Jessika Pochet in Rouen, Francisca Jorge in Glasgow) and quickly bonding with both.

“It was tough when Naiktha got injured as we’d been doing well and I didn’t really know what to expect after that,” adds Lumsden. “But being able to play with other people and adapt to that has given me extra confidence. 

“It’s tough at the start when you need to play with someone else as I’ve become used to having the same partner for a while. You know each other’s game styles and what each other likes to do. When you play with someone different you have a chat at the start of the week and then try to work it out as you go along.

“There’s no hard and fast way of finding a new partner. You ask online and you know a lot of the players anyway from being on the tour and following results. It can be quite tough as a lot of players are set with regular partners and you have to see who you think you will match up well with on the court. That can be quite stressful until you get something lined up. But I’ve been lucky that it’s worked out well in these recent events.”

Victory in Glasgow was extra special given it allowed familiar faces to come and watch her on a rare outing at home.

“I always love the weeks when there’s a tournament in Glasgow as it’s nice to stay at home and have family and friends there to support,” she adds. “It only happens once and twice a year so to win as well made it even more special. My family and my coaches were there for the whole week so that made it even better.”

The call-up by captain Anne Keothavong to join Katie Boulter, Jodie Burrage, Harriet Dart and Heather Watson for the BJK (formerly the Fed Cup) Cup in the Copper Box in London this weekend is another sign of Lumsden’s progression. 

“I’m very happy to be selected for GB for the first time,” she confirms. “It means a lot to be part of the team as it’s definitely been a goal of mine for some time. I’m pleased to have achieved that and excited to show what I can do in front of a big crowd.”