21-year-old, who scalped 3rd seed Agnieszka Radwanska, can't thank mentor-friend Chris Evert enough
Paris: Chris Evert knows what it takes to win the French Open, her seven titles being the all-time best, and fast-rising Croatian Ajla Tomljanovic is hoping some of the American's Roland Garros savvy can rub off on her.
Joy: Ajla Tomljanovic. Pics/Getty Images
The 21-year-old, who has been training at Evert's tennis academy at Florida since she was 13, reached the last 16 of a Grand Slam event for the first time yesterday, powering her way past third seed Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 6-4.
It's the kind of scenario that Evert would have exploited to the full in her glory years in the 1970s and 80s and her inside knowledge has made a big difference for Tomljanovic.
"I'm very fortunate to have her in my corner," she said. "Not only she helps me on the court, but we actually have a great relationship off the court. We get together when I'm in Boca (Raton).
Always on call
"So it's really great for me to have her as a friend and as a mentor. She definitely has a ton of knowledge and that part in particular, I think she was very good at when she played or maybe the best.
Playing mentor & friend: Chris Evert
"So it's kind of nice to see it from her perspective when she watches me play, to see if I'm nervous. She always thought I had good composure but maybe thought I could be a little bit more feisty out there."
Recently, she was asked by tennisworldusa.org about being mentored by a legend like Evert, and she said, "Me and Chrissie have a great relationship.
She is a friend. We talk a lot on the phone, we have a lot of fun together. She taught me how to stay positive She is sort of a second mom to me."
Tomljanovic was certainly feisty last year at the end of which she was ranked 78th in the world, improving from 495th.
In 2012, Tomljanovic she was sidelined with a bout of mononucleosis and played in only six tournaments.