Ajla Tomljanovic might have begun the 2022 season as a side character, but by the end of the year, she would step out of the shadows and into the brightest of spotlights. Through it all, she turned her heartbreak -- both on and off the court -- into a season of personal growth.
The cameras were rolling throughout Tomljanovic's season, which we will see featured on Netflix's "Break Point," which premieres Jan. 13.
WTA Insider caught up with Tomljanovic at the "Break Point" Premiere Party in Melbourne to discuss her experience:
WTA Insider: How different do you feel now that you've seen the episodes compared to when you started filming 12 months ago?
Tomljanovic: Oh, you can't compare it. When I started filming in January, I had a really tough month. I watched my episode and I was like, "man, this is going to be such a downer" because I remember my feelings inside. But then I watch and I'm like, "Nobody gets how much I'm struggling."
I just think I always put on this brave face and happy face. I think that's also my strength because I go through things in a tough way. But that was an interesting thing that I saw. I was expecting to be mopey.
Then when I had a tough start, I was like, what's the point of following me around? This season is not looking good.
I'm so glad in all my years on tour to have this year captured, not just because of some of the results I had, but the personal growth that happened. I don't know if people will be able to see that. Hopefully they will, but if not, the people close to me, we always talk a lot about this year."
WTA Insider: Was there ever a moment when you thought this was a mistake?
Tomljanovic: After my loss to Badosa [at the Australian Open], I thought that. I put my personal life out there as well. I couldn't control certain things. When you sign up for it before, you're just thinking very positively. And then I was like, "Oh, man, this is going to be there forever."
There were little doubts of, "Why did I do this?" But I think that's just any moment of weakness. You're questioning everything and all of these negative thoughts come into play. And very quickly after, it's like, who cares? Nobody really gives a s--- except you.
Maybe it wasn't a great idea to mix my personal life with my professional, but I don't have regrets. I love that I did it. The growth that happens is unbelievable.
WTA Insider: Do you think doing the show might have helped or hurt you last season? Whether providing extra motivation or stress?
Tomljanovic: I was very flattered when I was picked as one of the players because there weren't a lot of players in this first season. But there was a little bit of pressure. I don't want to be the one that they're like, "Oh, this is a tough part of tennis." I wanted to be the success story or have my moment.
For a while there in the beginning of the year, I was like, "What if I never have my moment on camera and I'm just going to be like well tennis is sometimes like this, it's tough." Or maybe they even cut me out.
Around April, I completely let go of the idea of Netflix. I was like, the show will be great, I'm sure they'll have stars, they'll have cool stories. Maybe mine won't make it, but that's just my life, you know? I can't judge myself for that.
WTA Insider: Earlier, you mentioned the personal growth you experienced over past year. What do you mean by that?
Tomljanovic: I always knew whatever I do on the court is what speaks the loudest. That's why all my motivation goes into just working hard. At one point in my life I was like, "Man, I'm too old now to be someone they talk about," you know? It's not that that's what I want, but that's part of the reward, right?
I remember telling my dad one time that I'm never going to be someone people remember. He was like, "What do you care what people remember? The people that matter will remember you." But also who says that?
I think once I kind of let go of any expectations and just be happy with who I am, everything else I can't control. It took a lot of weight off my shoulders.