26 year old Ajla Tomljanovic says she has set her sights on representing Australia at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, in an interview to SportingNews. Tomljanovic changed her residency from Croatia to Australia back in 2014, became an Australian citizen in 2018 and the ITF deemed her eligible to represent Australia just before the 2019 Fed Cup final.
In her first appearance for Australia, she went 1-1 in singles as Australia went down to France in the final. Tomljanovic says, "She [Alicia Molik] called me when I was in Shenzhen the day after the second to last tournament of the season.
[It] was really great timing because I was feeling a little bit low and I wanted to finish strong. Part of me just didn’t have the fire anymore and that kinda gave me something...to look forward to which was bigger than just individual tournaments.
It was definitely the loudest and the most packed stadium I’ve ever played in and just the way they embraced me was incredible. Part of me felt like I was doing this for a longer time, the way they were behind me. Obviously they get behind you when you’re trying so hard on the court and representing your country with pride.
I did it as best as I could." She says she now wants to win a medal for Australia at the upcoming Olympics. "The Olympics are actually a really big goal of mine this year to make it and go. I think my ranking is right now on the cusp, but there’s a long time until then.
I’m really hoping that I have a strong first part of the season so that I qualify. It would be something I’d never forget, now that I can be eligible, I’m really excited for it. There’s a certain pride that comes with it, when you put that green and gold jacket on.
I think the culture within the team we are a part of is great and that’s what makes it for me. The people who got behind us was the cherry on top. Even if we played in just some shitty indoor court with three people, I think I would still feel that pride and responsibility.
I would want to do so well because of the team spirit I was a part of, I give them a lot of credit for that." The top 56 players in the world qualify for the Olympics and with her current ranking at No. 52, she will need to ensure that she remains within the cut-off range as of early June.