Twenty-one year old Ajla Tomljanovic is one of many young stars who has emerged from the WTA tour in recent months. It will definitely be worth every tennis fan’s while to watch the Croatian who became an Australian citizen in 2014 as she flies further and further up the rankings. Ranked 453rd in the world at the end of season rankings only three years ago, she now sits, rather impressively, in 47th: a career high for her.
I can remember the days when her following on Facebook was 250. Even from a very young age she was producing some eye-catching performances, and in her teenage days she caught the attention of plenty of tennis fans: she earned herself a wildcard for the 2009 BNP Paribas Open aged just fifteen, for example.
In a recent interview she stated that her goal was to become world number one, and it wouldn’t be a good idea to bet against her at least coming close to achieving this. Huge wins over big names such as Francesca Schiavone, Agnieszka Radwanska and Elena Vesnina saw Tomljanovic reach round four of the French Open last year, and 2014 became a stunning year for her as she reached the quarter-finals and third round of the respective Australian Open and US Open doubles tournaments with fellow Australian Jarmila Gajdosova. The pair beat world number one Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci along the way.
Another blistering performance at the start of 2015 gave Ajla her biggest win of her career to date as she defeated former world number one Jelena Jankovic in straight sets. At the Australian Open she managed to reach the secound round before being knocked out by a higher-ranked opponent. It seems that she is gradually building bridges with these impressive wins (and impressive performances, at least, in defeat) to become a real force to be reckoned with in women’s tennis.
In February 2015 Tomljanovic reached her maiden WTA final in Thailand, gaining valuable ranking points and prize money. She lost to Daniela Hantuchova in three sets but the experience was priceless as she pushes forward towards the second grand slam of the year at Roland Garros, where she will be hoping to make a name for herself, as clay is her favourite surface. With other young female tennis players impressing such as Eugenie Bouchard, Karolina Pliskova, Madison Keys and Garbine Muguruza the women’s game is very strong at this moment in time, and it seems that in the future it will be stronger still.
I mentioned that I remember when her Facebook following was 250. Now, it is over 12,000 as she continues to win over tennis fans all over the world. The future is bright for this particular rising star and 2015 and beyond will be incredibly exciting for her. I for one cannot wait to see what the future holds for her.
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