NC State’s Nell Miller earns spot at Wimbledon

The 22-year-old won an NCAA doubles title, the first in Wolfpack history, and will now compete at tennis’ premiere event

NC State tennis player Nell Miller will play in the doubles draw at Wimbledon starting with her match with partner Sonay Kartal on Wednesday at the All England Club. (Photo courtesy of NC State Athletics)

A month after helping win the first tennis national championship in NC State history, Nell Miller will be back in action repping the Wolfpack again on Wednesday.

Only this time, she won’t be wearing red.

It’s not by choice.

That’s because the All England Club requires players in its championship, better known as Wimbledon, to wear white while competing on its grass courts.

Miller will get her first opportunity to play in tennis’ most prestigious event after being awarded a wild card entry into the doubles competition of the Grand Slam tournament.

The native of Kent, England, will team with fellow Briton Sonay Kartal in a first-round match against Camilla Osorio Serrano of Columbia and Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland on Wednesday at 7:30 a.m.

Wolfpack coach Simon Earnshaw, who is also from England, made the trip to London to support his player.

“What an absolutely incredible opportunity earned by Nell,” Earnshaw wrote in a social media post after the Wimbledon draw was announced. “Excited to see her in doubles action at the Grand Slam event.”

Miller and Kartal earned their entry into Wimbledon with a strong performance at last week’s ITF Pro Circuit event in Ilkley, England.

Entering that tournament as a wild card, the pair rallied from a set down to defeat Robin Anderson and Arianne Hartano 4-6, 6-4, 11-9 in the opening round before beating the duo of Arina Rodionova and Yanina Wickmayer 6-3, 2-1 (ret.) in the quarterfinals.

Their run ended with a 7-5, 6-4 semifinal loss to eventual champions Lizette Cabrera and Sujeong Jang.

It was Miller’s first tournament since turning professional.

Miller’s entry into Wimbledon caps an eventful year that saw the 22-year-old flourish after arriving at NC State as a fourth-year transfer from Texas Tech.

“For me, NC State just felt like the perfect fit, from the coaches to the teammates to the education,” Miller said upon joining the Wolfpack last fall. “When speaking to Simon and (assistant coach David Secker), it felt like all of the goals aligned and the possibilities were endless.”

As it turns out, she was right.

She won 19 singles matches and went 27-5 in doubles play in 2022, earning third-team All-ACC honors for her efforts. She then earned All-America status with her championship performance in the NCAA Tournament.

Miller and partner Jaeda Daniel defeated 14 nationally ranked opponents in 32 doubles matches this season before entering the postseason as the top-seeded duo in the NCAA doubles bracket. The pair backed up that ranking by sweeping through the field to earn the first national title in the 45-year history of the Wolfpack program.

Miller and Daniel defeated Miami’s 13th-ranked duo of Daevenia Achong and Eden Richardson 6-2, 7-5 to win their championship in Champaign, Illinois.

It was the second time this season that they defeated their ACC rivals, having beaten the Hurricanes pair 6-4 during the regular season.

Miller amassed 45 singles wins and 48 doubles victories in her three seasons at Texas Tech before she arrived in Raleigh, reaching a career-high doubles ranking of No. 35. Fourteen of those singles victories came in 2020-21 when she earned the Big 12 championship at the No. 4 position.

“Nell was a player we looked at prior to college and unfortunately didn’t have the opportunity to see her represent the Wolfpack at that point in her career,” Earnshaw said at the start of the season. “When a second chance came around (last) summer, this was a no-brainer. We’re fortunate Nell was on board and chose NC State to finish out college tennis.

“We played against Nell both in 2019 and 2020, and her passion, competitive spirit and energy really stood out to us. This was a natural fit for us.”