Tennis runs in the family for Gold Coast teenager Kimberly Birrell who is about to perform on the nation’s biggest stage thanks to a wildcard into the Australian Open main draw.
The 17-year-old was on Tuesday named as one of four Aussies to receive the last of the automatic entries to the Melbourne grand slam.
“My coach told me and my dad was there too so he’s obviously super-proud,” Birrel said on the sidelines of the Hobart International where she also earned a wildcard and will on Wednesday play a second-round match.
“It’s been both of our dreams so I was really glad he was there.”
Open officials named Birrell, along with Perth’s Storm Sanders and men Matthew Ebden and Jordan Thompson as the last of the wildcard recipients.
Qualifying rounds for the tournament begin on Wednesday and the main draw will be finalised on Friday.
For Birrell, whose father and grandmother are both tennis coaches, the news has sparked great excitement.
And the potential to meet a top-ranked player such as Serena Williams still hasn’t quite hit home.
“That’s such a crazy thought,” the world No.341 said.
“It would be such an amazing experience to play one of the top-10.”
For left-handed Sanders, 21, it is her third successive wildcard to the Open main draw, where she previously hasn’t progressed past round one.
Fellow West Australian Ebden, 28, has featured in the main draw five times in the past with his best performances coming in 2012 and 2014 when he made the second round.
World No.149 Thompson, 21, has lost in round one at Melbourne Park the past two years.