“He is literally my idol, someone I look up to,” she says of Brian Gartshore. “He put down the airfield lights at Gatwick and Heathrow, he is a pretty damn smart guy. And we have some really great conversations about absolutely nothing to do with tennis. It’s just a nice little getaway.”
Boulter’s parents are divorced, but Sue travels almost everywhere with her, as part of a support network that this year includes a dedicated coach – former British No 1 Jeremy Bates – for the first time. Bates has sacrificed his role as the LTA’s head of women’s tennis to guide her.
In Perth, Boulter lost all three singles matches against higher-ranked opponents – Maria Sakkari of Greece, Belinda Bencic of Switzerland (an old friend and rival from junior days), and finally Serena Williams. But she performed creditably and also won two of three mixed-doubles rubbers alongside her partner Cameron Norrie. Her Instagram page is full of backstage moments: Boulter catching the ferry to Fremantle, posing in the ball gown she wore to the player party, and performing a group interview alongside Federer.
“Sharing the court with Roger was a surreal feeling,” Boulter told The Daily Telegraph last week, “and receiving his serve isn’t something I ever thought would happen in my career. I actually hit him with a volley, which was a bit awkward, but he took it in good spirits!
“It was a privilege just to be there, and the same with Serena: she has been an idol of mine growing up. I was pleased with my performance [in a 6-1, 7-6 defeat] but a little disappointed I didn’t take the second set after getting a break of serve. I should have taken it to a decider.”
Now the Boulter entourage will move on to Melbourne, where a world ranking of 97 has earned her direct entry to a grand slam for the first time.
“I am not excited at all!” she jokes. “No, of course it’s a huge opportunity for me. I am really looking forward to having a go at players I don’t normally get to play. Hopefully this is going to be my new normality and it will be like that for the rest of the year.”