Re: Shannon Golds gets last Maindraw Wildcard!
Wild time for Golds
The Gold Coast Bulletin
BRING on Martina Hingis -- that was the message from Gold Coaster Shannon Golds after being awarded the third and final wildcard into the main draw of the Australian Women's Hardcourts yesterday.
Golds thought she would have to qualify the hard way after being beaten by Sophie Ferguson in the final of the wildcard playoff yesterday morning.
She was originally going to try to qualify through the 32-woman qualifying round, which begins at Royal Pines this morning. But the 20-year-old received a late Christmas present from tournament organisers, who awarded her the last tournament wildcard.
Her presence in the main draw will mark her first appearance at a WTA Tour level tournament.
Golds was over the moon when notified, and said she would love to face five-time grand slam champion Hingis in the first round.
"I'd love to play Hingis, for sure," she said. "There is no pressure on me and I'd have nothing to lose.
"It's not every day that you get to play someone like Hingis."
Not many rookies would be too keen to face the top seed in the first round but Golds said she believes she would learn a lot from the experience.
"It is a good chance to see where you are at," she said. "And you can see what you have to work on."
She will find out if her wish is granted when the main draw is announced this afternoon.
It is amazing to think that only 12 months ago Golds was ready to quit the sport and head to university.
"I think at the end of last year I was going to stop playing and study to become a primary school teacher," she said. "But I thought I might give tennis another go because I'm still young. Obviously it's been a good decision."
Currently ranked No.599 in the world, Golds aims to be inside the world's top 300 by the end of 2007.
This year she won the $US10,000 ITF tournament at Hope Island, which followed an impressive quarter-final appearance at the $US25,000 ITF event in Mackay late last year.
Tournament Director Liz Smylie said Golds deserved the wildcard spot in her home tournament.
"I was very impressed with her form over the past couple of days in the wildcard playoff and I think she has a lot of potential," said Smylie.
"She now has a great opportunity to face some of the best players in the world. One of the most important functions of tournaments in the Australian Open Series is the opportunity they provide to up-and-coming Australian players, and I'm sure Shannon will make the most of this."
Competition begins at Royal Pines today with the 32-woman qualifying round, which will wrap up on Sunday afternoon.
Four positions into the main draw are available.