Olivia Rogowska is Australia’s only player in action on day one of the French Open – and oh how she’s earnt the honour of launching the 12-strong assault.
Rogowska will take on Slovakian Magdalena Rybarikova on Sunday (about 1am Monday AEST) after qualifying for a grand slam main draw for the first time.
Since bursting onto the scene at Roland Garros as a teenager in 2009 with victory on debut over three-time major quarter-finalist Maria Kirilenko, Rogowska has experienced nothing but heartache in Paris.
Five times she’s fallen in qualifying, with a three-set loss last year after she stood two points away from making the main draw a particularly tough pill to swallow.
So to earn her stripes in 2015 after being two points from elimination made Rogowska’s breakthrough extra special.
“I’m really pleased that I got over some mental barriers that I’ve been working on,” she said.
“It’s always been a goal of mine to qualify for a grand slam and now I’ve done it.”
Like they have on nine previous grand slam occasions, Tennis Australia could easily have awarded Rogowska a wildcard under a reciprocal arrangement with the French Tennis Federation.
But with five direct entrants already in the women’s main draw and no standout candidates for a free ride, TA opted against gifting any wildcards this year.
Rogowska embraced TA’s tough love.
“They have a good point. No girl had any outstanding results,” said 23-year-old world No.196.
“I understand where TA came from and I respect their decision.
“I’ve gotten a lot of help in the past and I wasn’t expecting a wildcard or expecting any help.
“To get a wildcard is a lot easier, but I’m really proud I got through and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I’ve got some matches under my belt and I feel like I already have an advantage over my first-round opponent.”
Ten Australians including seeds Samantha Stosur, Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrgios open their campaigns on Monday.