New Zealand Olympic Committee's general secretary Kereyn Smith says in the end Marina Erakovic proved to them that she is worthy of going to the London Olympics.
Her case has been one of the most hotly debated selections for the Games as the NZOC stated it needed to be sure she could make it to the last 16 of the tournament, despite the International Tennis Federation (ITF) wanting her to go.
The long and drawn out process finally came to an end today when Smith confirmed that the world No 45 will be able to represent her country at the Olympics for the second time.
Smith said that when the selectors weighed up her situation, there was enough evidence to suggest that she could make it to the last 16 in the tournament which will have 64 players in the first round draw.
Her selection was only considered by the NZOC when it received her application from the ITF last Thursday.
"The process for us has been comprehensive and I would like to acknowledge Tracy [Hall, Tennis NZ high performance manager] and Steve's [Johns, Tennis NZ CEO] patience, which I think it's fair to say was tested," said Smith.
"However, we make no apologies for that because from our point of view it's about being comprehensive and it's an evidenced based process.
"So it's important to us that we have the information that enables us to either confirm or not an athlete in selection.
"So in that context, the basis for us in combination was three or four things.
"Firstly, the Olympic field and where Marina is ranked in it, we anticipate her to be in the top 30 by the time you take out double ups from countries.
"The fact that during the qualifying period she has beat top 16 players on more than one occasion, including the number two player in the world [Victoria Azarenka].
"Her win/loss record on grass is very competitive and to that end, having the Olympic Games event on the Wimbledon grass is obviously in her favour.
"We also thought it was important to note that in 2012 Marina had reached the top 16 in four tournaments.
"So for us, all of those things in combination led us to the position to select Marina."
Erakovic, who is in London preparing for Wimbledon, which starts next Monday, said in a press release she was delighted to at last be told that she would be at the Games.
"I am thrilled to be selected," Erakovic said.
"Representing New Zealand on the grass courts of Wimbledon at the Olympic Games is a huge honour and I am very excited.
"The grass time I get in now before and during Wimbledon will benefit me greatly for the Olympic Games and I am looking forward to joining our team in a little over a month."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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