Monday January 28, 2013
Gajdosova sends out mixed message
MATTHEW Ebden backed Jarmila Gajdosova to return to the higher echelons of women’s tennis after the local wildcards joined forces to win the Australian Open mixed doubles title yesterday.
Ebden and Gajdosova, who both lost in the first round of the singles at Melbourne Park, defeated unseeded Czech pair Lucie Hradecka and Frantisek Cermak 6-3, 7-5 on Rod Laver Arena.
Gajdosova, a volatile and unpredictable player with a career-high ranking of 25, has plummeted to 166. A difficult two years have included the end of her marriage and the death of her mother from throat cancer.
After she held her nerve to serve out the match, Ebden claimed the 25-year-old was on the cusp of a career resurgence.
“She has an incredible serve,” Ebden said. “It’s very powerful, one of the best women’s serve on the tour. For me, she’s one of the best players on the women’s tour.
“She’s going to take a lot of confidence from this and head right back up there, even further up than she was before.”
Ebden and Gajdosova became the first Australians to lift a senior title at their home Slam since Sam Stosur and Scott Draper won the mixed doubles in 2005.
“It was a bit nerve-wrecking, I’m not going to lie,” Gajdosova said.
Gajdosova’s powerful game caught her male opponents off guard in their run through the draw, according to Ebden. They now plan to contest as many majors as possible.
“All the guys in the locker room playing mixed said she hits the ball harder than the guys,” Ebden said.
“They said she hits bigger. She’s tough, and she’s big on big points. It’s never easy serving out any match, let alone a Grand Slam final. She was incredible.” — AFP