It was just under 12 months ago that Zoe Hives was enjoying success at an event she had grown up dreaming of playing in.
Her breakthrough appearance in an Australian Open main draw was a career highlight for the young Kingston star, who managed a round one victory over US player Bethanie Mattek-Sands before a round two exit at the hands of French seed Caroline Garcia.
Things had continued along well for the 23-year-old, who claimed her first WTA doubles title in April alongside new partner Astra Sharma and played in qualifying rounds for Wimbledon and the US Open for the first time.
She even broke inside the world top 150 rankings in September.
But since then, illness has sidelined Hives and ruled a line through her hopes of returning to the Australian Open later this month.
"I got quite sick at the end of July and kept playing, but I was kind of getting worse so I had some blood tests done. And it came back with glandular fever, it was confirmed," she said.
"I stopped (playing) at the end of September because the symptoms were just getting worse, like fatigue and dizziness whilst playing and it's been hard to recover.
"At the end of September, I decided I'd better get well thinking it would take a few weeks off. Not three months, which I'm at now and I'm still not back to 100 per cent yet."
Hives said she lifted her training at one point in October or November and had suffered a set-back.
"I had one slightly bigger day which was a light gym session and then a hit two hours later and I just went backwards from there," she said.
"So I just have to be really careful this time with the training that I take it really slowly, let my body just adjust to it and then hopefully it will be gone. But, yeah, I'm still not 100 per cent, still get a bit dizzy and I'm still very tired."
Hives' last competitive match was at an ITF event in Darwin during late September, where she lost in straight sets to Abbie Myers.
She said it was "really disappointing" to be missing the Australian Open in 2020.
"It's disappointing, but it is what it is and you've got to deal with it and wait to get better," Hives, a former Mount Clear Secondary College student, told The Courier.
"I did decide that I would wait until I got better, but I didn't think it was going to be that long. I just can't keep going with how I was feeling and how I am feeling just with everyday life now."
The Australian Open will kick off on January 20 and run through until February 2. It will take place at Melbourne Park.