Daria Gavrilova is promising no more meltdowns after delivering a heartfelt apology for her spectacular fourth-round implosion at Melbourne Park.
Australia’s new tennis princess admitted her costly centre-court tantrum against Carla Suarez Navarro was unacceptable and – even in despair – accepted full responsibility.
Gavrilova looked set to become the first home hope to reach the Australian Open women’s quarter-finals since Jelena Dokic in 2009 only to mentally unravel in a gut-wrenching 0-6 6-3 6-2 loss on Sunday night.
The 21-year-old chastised herself, lashed out at her courtside box, smashed her racquet – over and over – and kicked a ball in disgust before literally tearing up her game plan as she stormed off Rod Laver Arena.
And all this while the Melbourne local was up a service break in the third and deciding set.
“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.
The former US Open junior champion – who teamed with Nick Kyrgios this month to break Australia’s 17-year Hopman Cup drought – admitted she’d found her meteoric rise to stardom in her adopted country a little overwhelming.
“I don’t know what to do. It’s all happening for the first time in my life, so I just go with it,” Gavrilova said.
“I got people that help me with everything. They’re guiding me.
“I think I handled myself very well in the first three matches. I was very happy about that and proud. But, like I said, I’m very disappointed about (my fourth-round showing).”
There are plenty of positives to extract from the wreckage, though, after threatening to add the 10th seed’s scalp to Open wins over two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and seeded Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic.
“I was beating a top-10 player, I was winning 6-Love, I was up 1-Love in the second set. That gives me a lot of confidence,” Gavrilova said.
The WTA’s Newcomer of 2015 is now projected to enter the grand slam seeding zone at No.32 in the world following her spirited run.