The Roar
The Roar


'Been a while': No bad blood with fiery Latvian ahead of second-round showdown despite spicy history - Tomljanovic

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16th January, 2024

Ajla Tomljanovic insists there is no bad blood between her and Jelena Ostapenko as the two rivals prepare to square off in the second round of the Australian Open.

Tomljanovic set up a rematch of her infamous clash with the Latvian at Wimbledon in 2021 by securing an emotional comeback win over Croatian Petra Martic just after midnight at Melbourne Park on Wednesday.

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Tomljanovic hauled herself from the brink of elimination to mark her return to her home slam with an extraordinary win over Petra Martic.

A year after being ruled out of the 2023 Open in tears with a knee injury that ruined her season, Tomljanovic came back from a 4-1 deficit in the decisive third set to prevail 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 6-4.

“I really was out at one point,” Tomljanovic said after completing the two-hour, 56 minute thriller after midnight.

“You guys (the crowd) never gave up even more than me. I was like ‘if you’re here, I should give it my best’ … I’m really grateful that you all stayed this late.”


Australia’s three-time grand slam quarter-finalist believes things won’t get nasty with Ostapenko as they did at the AllEngland club three years ago.

“What happened happened. It’s been a while,” Tomljanovic said.

“I think we played each other after once more (at Eastbourne in 2021), and she beat me.

“Look, I have respect for her as a player. 

“What happened, that was just in that moment. I just reacted. 

“We never spoke about it.


“We’re both going to be competitive, that’s for sure. 

“I do think at least from my side I respect her as a tennis player. In that moment, I wasn’t happy.”

Ostapenko – 4-0 down in the final set – insisted she needed a medical timeout for an abdominal injury.

The furious Tomljanovic protested, telling the chair umpire Fiona Edwards: “You know she’s lying, right … we all know”.

Ostapenko won the next two games but Tomljanovic went on to take the set and match, 4-6 6-4 6-2.

The two then exchanged words at the net, before trading barbs in their respective press conferences.


Among the comments Ostapenko said she had “zero respect” for the Australian who retorted that the Latvian was “disgraceful”.

Tomljanovic was quick to claim underdog status ahead of Thursday’s rematch.

“I’m definitely the underdog. I love that,” the 30-year-old said.

“But I feel like playing her in the second round, I’m probably going to hopefully play even better than I did today.”

Ostapenko wouldn’t be drawn on their Wimbledon scrap, or her dispute with Tomljanovic.

“There were some situations, but I don’t look back at it,” she told AAP.

Ostapenko, who won her first-round match on Tuesday, planned to watch the Tomljanovic-Martic clash but was quietly confident regardless of who she played.


“I’ve beaten her a couple of times,” she said.

“It’s not going to be an easy match but I will more try to focus more on myself and my game.”

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World No.10 Ostapenko has enjoyed a brilliant start to her time in Australia, winning the Brisbane International doubles title with Lyudmyla Kichenok, then her seventh singles title in Adelaide.

“I mean, I’m still quite emotional on court but I think it’s my personality on court,” she said.

“I really am a fighter and I will never give up so sometimes I get really mad when I lose those points.”