Sara Tomic candidly admit’s it’s not easy trying to emerge from the shadows of her famous older brother Bernard.
But the 17-year-old wouldn’t have it any other way as she strives to forge her own professional tennis career.
“It’s always going to be there. Bernard’s always going to be my brother,” Tomic said after reaching the third round of the Australian Open girls’ singles at Melbourne Park on Monday.
“Hopefully in a few years I’ll be known just as Sara.
“But I still love the attention and I love him and he loves me and that’s all that matters.
“If we need to go separate ways on the tennis tour. That’s okay.”
The way she’s going Tomic may earn her own name sooner rather than later.
Turning 18 next month and contesting her fifth and last Open junior championship, Tomic is through to the final 16 for the first time after crunching six aces in a 6-4 6-1 second-round rout of Thai Bunyawi Thamchaiwat.
“I was very happy with my serve today. I was really feeling comfortable,” she said.
The teenager – who has climbed to a career-high No.448 in the world in September after enjoying some lower-level success in the pro ranks – credits her exposure to the women’s game and the fulltime commitment of her father-coach John.
After guiding Bernard for much of his early career, John Tomic has taken somewhat of a back seat as the 23-year-old flies solo these days and Sara loves it.
“It’s honestly so good. Like, I’m so happy that my dad’s working with me,” she said.
“It’s good to have a little break from Bernard. Obviously Bernard and John have been travelling so many years together and it’s nice to have my dad there, spending more time with me.”
Hoping to gatecrash the top 200 in 2016, Tomic idolises world No.1 Serena Williams and, like Bernard, is intent on making it all the way to the top.
“Tennis is like so great,” she said.
“Serena made me. Well, she didn’t make me, but watching her play has really made me want to be the best I can be and I can try and I’d love to compete with her soon.
“But hopefully in a few years I can.”
Fellow Australian Baijing Lin also advanced to the third round of the girls’ singles on Monday.
Lin upset 14th-seeded Czech Lucie Kankova 6-4 7-6 (7-4), while Australia’s only seeded junior made the last 16 in the junior boys’ event.
Sixth seed Alex De Minaur, a semi-finalist at last year’s US Open junior championships, moved on with a 6-3 7-5 win over Frenchman Elliot Benchetrit.