American Jamie Hampton will be making her much anticipated return to tennis next week in Carlsbad. Hampton has entered herself into the WTA $125K Challenger using her protected ranking of 28 to get a late entry into the qualifying draw of the tournament. Hampton’s use of her protected ranking is almost finished.
A player is eligible to use their protected ranking if they are out for a minimum of six months and that protected ranking holds for up to two years. However, Hampton’s last official WTA event was in Auckland of 2014. The ASB Classic in Auckland is one of the tuneup events for the Australian Open in early January. With Carlsbad as the final WTA event on the calendar, it will be Hampton’s only shot at being able to use it.
Jamie Hampton’s Rise
2013 was Hampton’s best year to date. At the Australian Open, she made it to the third round where she lost in a tight three set match to eventual champion Victoria Azarenka. A lower back injury suffered late in the second hampered her in the third, stalling her momentum from her second set victory. She continued her good run at the Slams with a fourth round showing at the French, defeating the likes of Lucie Safarova, Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, and Petra Kvitova.
Before Wimbledon, she reached her first WTA final at Eastbourne at the AEGON International. She upset Agnieszka Radwanska and Caroline Wozniacki to get to the final before succumbing to Elena Vesnina. She would go on to reach a career-high rank of 24 after her semifinals showing at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford and found herself seeded at the US Open where she made the third round, losing to Sloane Stephens. The 2013 US Open marked the first time the American was seeded at a major.
Injuries Have Severely Slowed Down Hampton
Hampton’s only event since 2014 was the ASB Classic where she made the semifinals. A hip injury forced her to withdraw from her semifinal match, and she has not played a tour-level event since. In an interview on WTATennis.com with Courtney Nguyen, Hampton talks about her injuries (six surgeries total), how she's dealt with the injuries, and her plan to comeback. You can read that interview here.