Ajla Tomljanovic in brutal revelation about tennis career ahead of Australian Open

The Aussie tennis star says she is hungrier than ever after an injury riddled 2023.

Pictured Ajla Tomljanovic
Ajla Tomljanovic says she’s raring to go at the Australian Open after overcoming self-doubt and an injury riddled 2034 campaign. Image: Getty

Australian tennis star Ajla Tomljanovic believes "special things can happen" this summer as she continues her comeback from an injury-riddled 2023 campaign. The Aussie is ramping up her preparations for next week's United Cup before heading to Melbourne Park and believes she can come back better than ever.

Tomljanovic rose to a career-high 32 in the rankings after she reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon and the US Open last year but her run of form was halted by a knee cartilage injury that plagued her for most of this season and forced her out of the United Cup and Australian Open. She has plummeted down the rankings but the three-time grand slam quarter-finalist used her protected ranking to make the Open main draw and is adamant she can scale the heights again after regaining confidence in her movement following surgery in January.

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The Aussie made a promising return at the US Open this year and was back in fine form when she won her maiden title in Brazil last month which has seen her confidence boom. "I honestly do believe that I can get back to that level (of contending for slams) if I get healthy, which I believe I'm already there," Tomljanovic told AAP on Wednesday. "Maybe there's 15 per cent left that I still need to get back to, but I think it is within my reach."

She also revealed she had to overcome the self-doubt that crept in during this year. "(I questioned) if I’ll ever be able to come back physically and be able to do what I expect from myself with what’s required to play at a high level," she said.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 13: Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia practices ahead of the 2023 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 13, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo credit should read Chris Putnam/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
The three-time grand slam quarter-finalist used her protected ranking to make the Australian Open main draw. Image: Getty

"The rehab was tough because for a while there was pain, and I don’t have experience with that. That was a big unknown so I had to put a lot of trust in the people that I chose to surround myself with. I’m grateful to those people because without them it would have been a lot more challenging.”

Ajla Tomljanovic says time is on her side

The Aussie, who turns 31 in May, believes time is still on her side thanks to the improvements in science and dieting moving the marker for retirement back a decade. "I don't feel like I'm 30 even though I am," she said. "I know my body doesn't lie, but having just a few setbacks over the years, I do feel very fresh in my mind."

Tomljanovic will begin her summer spearheading Australia's United Cup campaign in Perth from December 29 where she will play alongside the likes of men's world No.12 Alex de Minaur, women's doubles world No.1 Storm Hunter and retiring former US Open quarter-finalist John Millman.

She will then round out her Australian Open preparations at the Adelaide International from January 8-13. "Coming into the early summer, I believe that special things can happen," Tomljanovic said.

"Yeah, it would be amazing to make quarters or more in Melbourne. But I also am kind of going back to being just a kid playing again because I'm excited to just be part of these events again because you don't know how well you're going to do until you step on the court."

- with AAP

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