French Open

Evert inspiring Tomljanovic

2014-05-30 17:00
Ajla Tomljanovic (AFP)

Paris - Chris Evert knows what it takes to win the French Open, her seven titles being the all-time best, and fast-rising Croatian Ajla Tomljanovic is hoping some of the American's Roland Garros savvy can rub off on her.

The 21-year-old, who has been training at Evert's tennis academy at Bradenton, Flordia since she was 13, reached the last 16 of a Grand Slam event for the first time on Friday, powering her way past third seed Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 6-4.

And with the top half of the draw wide open following the shock defeat of top seed Serena Williams, Tomljanovic has a golden opportunity to go deeper and make a name for herself.

It's the kind of scenario that Evert would have exploited to the full in her glory years in the 1970s and 80s and her inside knowledge has made a big difference for Tomljanovic.

"I'm very fortunate to have her in my corner," she said.

"Not only she helps me on the court, but we actually have a great relationship off the court.

"We get together when I'm in Boca (Raton). And, you know, she calls, I call her, she calls me.

"So it's really great for me to have her as a friend and as a mentor. She definitely has a ton of knowledge and that part in particular, I think she was very good at when she played or maybe the best.

"So it's kind of nice to see it from her perspective when she watches me play, to see if I'm nervous.

"She always thought I had good composure but maybe thought I could be a little bit more feisty out there."

Tomljanovic was certainly feisty last year at the end of which she was ranked 78th in the world, improving from 495th -- the biggest ranking improvement by any player in the top 100.

The previous year she was sidelined with a bout of mononucleosis and played in only six tournaments.

This year she lost in the third round at the Australian Open but more recently failed to qualify for the main draw at Madrid and Rome in the buildup to Roland Garros.

Evert apart, she has also benefitted from the work she has put in with David Taylor, the former coach of 2011 US Open champion Samantha Stosur.

"Last year was my comeback year from mono, and I think I got myself to 70 to finish the year, and I thought that was a good effort," she said.

"Then I started working in December with my new coach, Dave Taylor, and I really think that helped a lot, because he really implemented some things in my game that I really needed. I really owe him this win today, for sure."

Read more on:    wta tour  |  french open  |  tennis

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Sport Talk


Which is your favourite Grand Slam of the year?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.