Francesca Fran Jones, qualified for the second round of qualifying for the Australian Open, was born with four fingers on each hand, the result of an anomaly in embryonic development, but she has a dream: “to become a big name in sport “.
“My syndrome is very rare. It’s complicated because there are so many symptoms. Mine are that I have three toes on my right foot, four on the left, four fingers on each hand, ”said the 20-year-old British player, in a video published by the International Federation (ITF). “The doctors told me I couldn’t play tennis. And my reaction was + since you said that, I will prove to you that you are wrong, + ”she says in her firm and determined voice. “My body isn’t meant to be an athlete’s, let’s say, but to me that doesn’t mean it can’t be. Even a Rolls Royce is built from the ground up, ”said the Leeds-born player, currently ranked 241st in the WTA.
“A big problem of balance”
Francesca fran jones
The genetic pathology from which she is affected, the syndrome of ectodactyly-ectodermal dysplasia-cleft lip and palate (EEC syndrome), poses in particular “a big problem of balance”. “When you have fewer toes, it is more difficult to put weight on the feet,” she explains, also emphasizing the increased risk of injury. There are also “the looks, the questions, the sympathy, or on the contrary the hatred” that it attracts. But whatever, she feels that she has built a character by trying to overcome her physical difficulties. And her appearances at Wimbledon (eliminated in the 1st round of qualifying in 2018 and 2019) remain etched in her mind as some of the greatest moments of her life. “Hearing people chanting your name says it all. To feel supported, in fact, that’s it: to feel supported, ”she emphasizes. After eliminating the Romanian Monica Niculescu (144th in the WTA but ex-top 30) in the 1st round of qualifying for the Australian Open, relocated to Dubai for health reasons, the Briton must face the Croatian Jana Fett (209th) for continue to hope to play his first Grand Slam tournament (February 8-21).