Young Guns: Ajla Tomljanovic
Published December 03, 2013 12:01
Every day through Friday this week, wtatennis.com will showcase Young Guns, those who showed signs of future stardom in 2013.
The future looks bright for Croatian tennis, with 20-year-old Ajla Tomljanovic and fellow Young Gun Donna Vekic having displayed star power. In fact, the 5-foot-11 Tomljanovic has plenty of power in her game as well.
"I would say I'm an aggressive baseliner," Vekic said. "Because I'm tall, I have big strokes but I'm trying to develop an all-court game, you know, come in more and finish points easier. But we're still working on everything and I think my serve and backhand are my biggest strengths right now."
Here is some evidence that Tomljanovic's work has been paying off, qualifying her as a Young Gun:
• Tomljanovic recorded her first two Top 50 wins in 2013, including a career-best defeat of No.26 Julia Goerges en route to a fourth round showing in Miami in March.
• Tomljanovic made her first WTA quarterfinal at Québec City in September.
• Tomljanovic posted a 43-22 record at all levels in 2013, including 16-10 in WTA matches.
• An illness caused Tomljanovic to come into 2013 ranked just inside the Top 500, but she skyrocketed more than 400 spots in finishing the season as the highest-ranked Croat at No.78.
Despite that ascension, Tomljanovic is far from satisfied with where she's at, so a further ranking rise would hardly be a surprise.
"Short-term goals are just to get my ranking up as high as possible every week and just keep on developing," Tomljanovic said. "But, long-term it's the dreams you had when you were a kid - you want to be the best, win Slams and be No.1. Before that, though, there are a lot of short-term goals."
Should Tomljanovic achieve those long-term goals, she would join former French Open winner Iva Majoli as Croatia's only Grand Slam champions and would surpass former No.4 Majoli as the highest-ranked Croatian.