Tomljanovic: Serena “inspired me to go for my dreams” | 2 September, 2022 | All News | News and Features | News and Events

Australian Ajla Tomljanovic has the chance to end the career of 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams on the fifth day of this year’s US Open.

New York, USA, September 2, 2022 | Leigh Rogers

In a record-breaking career spanning four decades, only one Australian player has managed to score a single win against the indomitable Serena Williams.

Ajla Tomljanovic now has the chance to become second, when she faces the American champion in the third round of the US Open.

The world number 46 hopes to follow in the footsteps of Australian great Sam Stosur, who scored three career victories against the 23-time Grand Slam champion. The most memorable came at Arthur Ashe Stadium, when Stosur defeated Williams in the 2011 US Open final.

“It’s definitely something I’ll never forget,” Tomljanovic said ahead of tomorrow’s showdown (Saturday at 9am AEST).

“It’s going to be a great time no matter what the outcome … I’ve been a fan of Serena since I was a kid.”

Tomljanovic’s respect for the 40-year-old champion is evident.

I think it has changed sport, tennis, but what she has done around the world for women in sport is also incredible, “said Tomljanovic, who has equaled his best career result at the US Open and is looking to pass. in the fourth round for the first time.

“It paved the way for so many people, it inspired me to make my dreams come true. Her longevity too. I’m kind of in the part of my career now where they call you on the older side. She made that kind of non-existent. “Old” isn’t even a word in his vocabulary. Very grateful to her so. I think there is no one like her. “

This is 29-year-old Tomljanovic’s first career encounter with six-time US Open champion Williams, who is participating in the 81st and final Grand Slam tournament of her phenomenal career.

“I just remember seeing her at the Wimby Finals, with my sister in front of the TV after my workouts. It’s a bit surreal to me that she made it and played in her own era, ”said Tomljanovic.

“I was pretty sad before this tournament that I had never played it before. It could have been an opportunity that I will never play it before she retires. “

Williams drew record – and boisterous – audiences for each of her games during her farewell tournament.

Tomljanovic, who will compete for the first time at Arthur Ashe Stadium, is determined not to let a patriotic American crowd become a determining factor.

“I was playing both of my games so far at the same time at Camp 7 and I could hear the crowd. I’m like Court 7 isn’t that close. I kept thinking, ‘Oh my God, this bothers me and I’m not even playing her,’ “admitted Tomljanovic.

His plan is to “stay in my little bubble” and “block it as much as possible”.

“I remember Novak (Djokovic) once said, when the audience was against him, they just pretended it was for him. When they sing, I don’t know, Rafa, Roger, anyone, hear Novak, Novak. I liked that answer. I could use it.

Former world number 1 Williams insists he feels no pressure in his final tournament and treats every match as a “bonus”.

“I have nothing to prove. I have nothing to win. And I have absolutely nothing to lose, “Williams said after knocking out world number 2 Anett Kontaveit in the second round.” I’ve had an ‘X’ on my back since ’99, so it’s fun. “

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