Ballarat’s Zoe Hives has taken another massive step in her tennis career, her biggest yet, earning a wildcard to the main draw of the Australian Open women’s singles.
Hives said she was extremely excited by the news, she knew she was a chance for a wildcard, which is awarded by Tennis Australia, but for it to be confirmed was a special moment.
“I knew I was in the mix.
“My first win at Brisbane was pretty good and then I pushed the next girl, so that didn’t hurt my chances.”
Hives showed her potential through last week’s Brisbane International qualifying, defeating former US Open semi-finalist Yanina Wickmayer 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 before pushing up-and-coming teenager Anastasia Potapova all the way in a 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 defeat.
Hives said these results, along with the three ITF singles titles in the back-end of last season, gave her the confidence she belonged at the level.
“I’m a bit nervous about it, but I feel pretty good.
“Brisbane helped reinforce that I belong at that level, so I’m feeling pretty good about it. Come the day I might be a bit nervous, but I’m just looking forward to it and having the opportunity.”
Not only will this be a memorable occasion for Hives, but with a minimum paycheck of $75,000 for the tournament on offer, this will provide a financial springboard to allow the rising tennis star to attend more overseas tournaments.
The Australian Open draw will take place on Thursday.
The Courier, January 7, 2019 | Daniel Short