Aiava’s date with destiny in Brisbane
Originally published on 03/01/17 00:00
The 16-year-old Australian qualifier, who was born on May 10, 2000, upset Bethanie Mattek-Sands 2-6 6-3 6-4 in the first round of the Brisbane International at the Queensland Tennis Centre on Tuesday.
Currently ranked No.386 in the WTA rankings, Aiava will make her Grand Slam debut at the Australian Open, having earned a wildcard after winning the Under-18 title at the Australian Championships last month.
“I’d like to play Serena Williams, she’s my idol, so that would be a good experience," said Aiava, who has also earned a doubles wildcard with Alicia Smith. “It feels unreal. I’m so excited to have the chance to play both singles and doubles at my favourite grand slam – it hasn’t really sunk in yet. It’s been a dream since I was five to play in a Grand Slam.”
Aiava, who was inspired to play tennis after watching Williams win the 2005 Australian Open as a five-year-old, won the Longines Future Tennis Aces tournament back in 2012, winning the opportunity to hit with 22-time major winner Steffi Graf.