Daria Gavrilova is being hailed for her humility and class after delivering a heartfelt apology for a spectacular fourth-round meltdown at the Australian Open.
Australia’s new tennis princess admits her costly centre-court tantrum against Carla Suarez Navarro on Sunday night was unacceptable and – even in despair – is accepting full responsibility.
Gavrilova looked set to become the first home hope to reach the women’s quarter-finals in seven years after dishing out a bagel in the opening set only to mentally unravel in a gut-wrenching 0-6 6-3 6-2 loss on Sunday night.
While Suarez Navarro can look forward to a last-eight showdown on Tuesday with Polish fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska, Gavrilova will wonder what might have been after letting the world No.11 off the hook in spectacular fashion.
The 21-year-old chastised herself, lashed her courtside entourage, smashed her racquet – over and over – and kicked a ball in disgust in front of the sell-out crowd at Rod Laver Arena.
And all this while the Melbourne local was up a service break in the third and deciding set and poised to become the first Australian woman since Jelena Dokic in 2009 to make the last eight.
“Yeah, it wasn’t great and I’m very disappointed with myself. I was being a little girl,” she said after admitting she’d wanted the win too much.
“I played very well in the first set. I guess I was starting to overcook it a little bit in the second and got very emotional. Yeah, was just going crazy.
“I got emotionally fried in the second set. I was getting angry with myself, just showing way too much emotion.
“I’ve never played that deep in a grand slam, so maybe that’s why.
“It’s not acceptable. I don’t know why I did that. I was terrible.
“I mean, I played good. But the behaviour, I’ve just got to learn from it.”
Gavrilova – who collected a cheque for $200,000 for her career-best run at a grand slam – also took to social media to confess to being a “spoiled brat out there”.
The post attracted hundreds of “retweets” and “likes”, confirming she’d been forgiven by most of the Australian public.
Her loss leaves Bernard Tomic as the last Australian remaining in the 2016 Open singles draws.
Tomic will play British second seed Andy Murray on Monday night for a place in the quarter-finals for the first time at his home grand slam event.
Gavrilova will have to be content with making the last 16 at a major for the first time after taking down two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in round two and then scoring a fighting three-set triumph over French seed Kristina Mladenovic.
The WTA’s 2015 Newcomer of 2015 is projected to enter the grand slam seeding zone at No.32 in the world following her spirited run.