Daria Saville.
Daria Saville says the future's bright for Aussie women's tennis despite the Paris wipeout. Image by Darren England/AAP PHOTOS
  • tennis

Australian women’s tennis will find new star: Saville

Ian Chadband May 28, 2024

Amid the gloom of the worst women’s results for Australia in the French Open for 27 years, the irrepressible Daria Saville conjured up a big smile and offered a bold declaration.

“We’ll definitely have a rising star, don’t worry about that” said Saville, quizzed about whether there was genuine reason for concern that no Australian woman was able to reach the second round since 1997 at the venue which crowned Ash Barty as champ just five years ago.

“I think we’ve got a few girls that are gonna make it, they’re gonna definitely succeed.”

Saville and Ajla Tomljanovic, both now in their 30s and having suffered more than fair share of injury setbacks, were the only two Australians in the women’s singles main draw but couldn’t get past tough seeded opposition over the opening two days.

“Ajla and I are coming back from injuries and haven’t been back for even a year, and Storm (Hunter) has an (ACL) injury.

“So though it’s certainly not great that we’ve got no-one through to the second round, it’s down to the circumstances, and I’m still encouraged about the future.”

Expanding to AAP about the promise of the new brigade, she said: “I really like Taylah (Preston), she was great at Billie Jean King Cup this year, and (15-year-old world junior No.3) Emerson (Jones) and Olivia (Gadecki) will be good too.”

Taylor Preston.
 Taylah Preston is one of those being tipped as a future star by Daria Saville. Image by Darren England/AAP PHOTOS 

She felt both 18-year-old Preston and 22-year-old Gadecki had shown their promise despite tough three-set losses in the Roland Garros qualifiers.

“Taylah had the match on her racquet, but she’s so young, she’s gonna gain all that experience and she’s gonna get there,” said Saville.

“I really like where Taylah’s tennis and her head is. I think she’s gonna do great things, but we also need to be patient. She’s doing all the right things.

“Same with Olivia. It’s just a bit of inexperience, a bit of nerves, but everyone has to start somewhere.”

Saville says she’s happy to help the youngsters and has already acted as a kind of “tour big sister” for Preston.

“We’ll stick together. I think they all have everything they need to be good. And at the end of the day, it’s up to them, but if you just look at where they are now, where their tennis is and how they’re hitting the ball, I’m like, ‘oh, there’s no way that they’re not gonna be good.”