Arina Rodionova gives TA slap to face after Australian Open wildcard controversy



by DZEVAD MESIC

Arina Rodionova gives TA slap to face after Australian Open wildcard controversy
© Getty Images Sport - Kelly Defina

Arina Rodionova got her revenge against Tennis Australia on the court as the 34-year-old is set to become the oldest WTA player to make its debut in the top-100.

Rodionova, who was born in Tambov, represented Russia at the start of her career before switching to Australian nationality in 2014. In her mid-thirties, Rodionova is enjoying the tennis of her life and she is currently the highest-ranked Australian female tennis player after winning seven ITF titles last year.

Although Rodionova is the highest-ranked Australian female tennis player, she didn't make the Australian Open main draw cut. But even her status wasn't enough for her to receive a main draw wildcard as several Australian players received a wildcard but not Rodionova.

Rodionova, who entered this week enjoying a career-high ranking of No. 101 in the world, made the quarterfinal at a WTA 250 tournament in Hua Hin this week. Following her Hua Hin result, Rodionova is set to break into the top-100 for the first time in her career and become the oldest top-100 debutant on the WTA rankings. 

Rodionova, who will be ranked at No. 98 on Monday, will be 26 spots ahead of Kimberly Birrell, the second top-ranked Australian female tennis player. For Rodionova, making history is the best possible response to Tennis Australia overlooking her for an Australian Open main draw wildcard.

Arina Rodionova
Arina Rodionova© Getty Images Sport - Chris Hyde
 

Rodionova believes Tennis Australia has something against her

It's a pretty rare - almost unseen occurrence - that one of the top players from one country gets overlooked for a wildcard from its own federation. 

After being overlooked for a main draw wildcard, Rodionova attempted to earn a main draw spot through the Australian Open qualifying event but failed to do so after losing to Leolia Jeanjean in the first round. After the loss, Rodionova made some brutally honest comments.

Arina Rodionova
Arina Rodionova© Getty Images Sport - Chris Hyde
 

"The only regrets I have [from loss] is just I gave Tennis Australia something to celebrate," Rodionova said after losing in the Australian Open qualifying.

"I think they are very pleased with my result [today] and that is what makes me upset. I did everything I could to possibly deserve [a wildcard]...so absolutely, yes it feels personal.

"It started years and years ago, and there were so many incidents that happened between myself and people in charge. It is very clear to me that I am not liked, and it's not just clear to me, it's clear to every single [Australian] tennis player."

Arina Rodionova Australian Open