So the long march to the Australian Open begins this week for our girls.
I am going to be critical over the next few months because I think in the past I have fallen into a false sense of hope for the summer
I want Sally, Olivia and Isabella to stand up and really deserve their (potential) wildcards into the main draw. Quarter finals don't cut it in my books - I'm looking for consistent semi final, runner up and winning performances. If they don't deliver, they don't deserve to be given wildcards into the Open IMO. All three (but particularly Sally and Olivia) are at a crucial time in their career right now - do well and move away from playing the Aussie 25ks and on to bigger and brighter things, or get stuck in a rut and struggle to get out touring Australia twice annually.
Looking at today's results - none of the three were impressive at all.
Peers has struggled since the Open and looks like she was lucky to survive Bobusic. Who would have thought, going from the 2nd Round of the US Open as a qualifier in 2010 to almost losing in the opening round of a 25k in Alice Springs to someone ranked outside the top 300 in 2011. Sally needs to build form and confidence (and rebuild her ranking) in these tournaments.
Isabella's 7-5 6-4 win over Woolcock is hardly inspiring either. Woolcock might be a fellow AIS athlete but she hasn't exactly set the world alight on the junior circuit this year. Was expecting a more convincing win here. Hopefully Isabella can step it up in the next round and make the semi finals. I'll be disappointed if she doesn't.
Olivia probably had the best win of the three but it still wasn't convincing. Myers is a decent junior but Olivia is capable of beating someone like her much more comfortably IMO. Cakewalk draw to the quarter finals, she should make it to at least the final.
I'm also looking for the junior generation to step up. Rajicic has been bitterly disappointing since her performance in AO Quallies. She has the talent to go far but she's simply got to play more matches to make the next step. However given her seemingly part time commitment to tennis this year she needs to perform well - and consistently - this year to warrant another run in qualifying IMO. I hope tennis soon gets her full attention, if not, it is a waste of talent.
Sanders has scored two great wins - I'll be following her results over the rest of the circuit closely. Hadzic has a few points to defend and hasn't done a lot since her run in Cairns last year, though she has travelled. She deserves a run in AO Quallies if she plays out the 25ks and can improve her ranking. Woolcock, too, could get a run in qualifying if she can improve her ranking and win some matches in the main draws.
If none of the juniors can prove their worth then the wildcards should go to the likes of Bobusic, Dominikovic, Adamczak, Patterson (hopefully her body is right and she can end an otherwise disappointing season well), Letcher (where is she, very promising start to the year now MIA) etc etc