Aussie prodigy set to miss Australian Open over vaccine refusal

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Olivia Gadecki, pictured here in action at the Australian Open in 2020.
Olivia Gadecki in action at the Australian Open in 2020. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Tennis Australia is dealing with another crisis less than a month out from the Australian Open, with one of the country's most promising rising stars choosing not to get vaccinated.

Teenage sensation Olivia Gadecki is set to miss the entire Australian summer of tennis in a huge blow.

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Barely a month after making her Fed Cup debut for Australia, Gadecki has rocked tennis circles with her stance that conflicts with government regulations that require all players to be fully vaccinated to contest the Australian Open from January 17-30.

Tennis Australia have reportedly been working for weeks trying to convince Gadecki to change her mind.

However it's believed the 19-year-old won't budge despite being a shoo-in for an Australian Open wildcard.

Unless there is a late change of heart, Australian fans won't get to see the emerging talent play this summer.

It's also unclear if Gadecki's decision not to get vaccinated will affect her scholarships with Tennis Australia, though it's likely TA will continue to support her remotely.

If she was to accept a wildcard into the Australian Open, she would be guaranteed of a $100,000 payday for making the first round.

Mentored this year by esteemed women's coach David Taylor, Gadecki enjoyed a phenomenal breakout season in 2021 that even captured the attention and admiration of women's World No.1 Ash Barty.

Unranked at the start of the year, Gadecki has soared to No.237 in the world following a 50-win, two-title, four-final season on the WTA's lower-level circuits.

Olivia Gadecki, pictured here at the Adelaide WTA event in February.
Olivia Gadecki at the Adelaide WTA event in February. (Photo by Sarah Reed/Getty Images)

Olivia Gadecki had captured the attention of Ash Barty

The Queenslander hasn't looked back since a stunning victory over 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin at the Phillip Island Trophy at Melbourne Park in February.

"Second-ever pro match. It's a pretty amazing thing. She's a pretty good story," Taylor recently told AAP from his European base in Liechtenstein.

"She had zero ranking, zero, February 1 and here she is top 250 already - it's unheard of.

"In her first-ever pro match she lost to the world No.60 in three sets, second-ever match beats Kenin and then in her first-ever $25,000 pro event, she gets to the final in Madrid.

"She's going to be good. This girl will be good, I think."

So good that Barty has taken a shine, assisting and mentoring.

"Ash has really helped her," Taylor said.

"Forget about doing things for an image or whatever, Barty seriously puts some effort into this girl - weekly contact, watches her matches online even when she was playing Wimby (Wimbledon).

"One guy sent through a picture of Ash watching her online on an ITF website.

"Hits with her almost always up in Brisbane. Like even in the French Open when Olivia got a wildcard into qualies, Ash was hitting with her on Philippe Chatrier (centre court).

"It's just amazing what Ash has done for this girl. She typically keeps to herself, Ash, but to Olivia, God, she's been so supportive and a real mentor. It's nice."

with AAP

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