Marina Erakovic has been given a winnable first round tennis match at the Olympics, with either Venus Williams or ninth-ranked Sara Errani looming in the second round.
The New Zealand No 1, ranked 46th in the world, was today drawn to face Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak, ranked eight places below her, in the first round of the women's singles on the hallowed turf at Wimbledon.
The pair have met twice before, both in 2008, with the ledger at one victory apiece. Significantly, Erakovic beat Wozniak in their only grass court meeting in straight sets. Both lost in the second round of Wimbledon in June.
Italy's Errani will be favoured to beat Venus Williams, whose ranking has slipped to 69th. Wimbledon champion Serena Williams, seeded fourth, was also handed a tricky opening match against Serb Jelena Jankovic.
Top seed Victoria Azarenka was drawn to meet Romania's Irina-Camelia Begu, while second seed and Wimbledon runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland meets big-hitting German Julia Goerges.
Erakovic admitted the Olympics wasn't as prestigious as Wimbledon in her eyes, but spoke positively of her buildup today as the draw was conducted. She arrived on Tuesday from her Florida base.
"I feel really good. Olympics for us is a great thing, it's probably up there with the grand slams. I've been really keen to see how London was going to work out," she said.
"The amazing thing is the weather. Last time we were here it rained every day at Wimbledon; now we've had three days of blue sky. I thought I was in the wrong country."
Erakovic contested the Beijing Olympics but was bundled out in the first round. She was determined to stay in the athletes' village this time around, too, despite a marathon journey across town to Wimbledon.
It took her and coach Christian Zahalka two hours to get there on Tuesday, then 75 minutes the following day after the dedicated Olympic lanes opened. She wasn't going to follow suit and stay at a hotel near Wimbledon, like the US team.
"No. I knew that going into it. Being in the village is being part of the Olympics and I think that's important.
"For me it's the most fun going into the dining hall, seeing all the athletes and trying to guess which sports they're in. It's a great thing to be here."
Erakovic is sharing an apartment with slalom canoeists Mike Dawson and Luuka Jones.
She would only march in the opening ceremony on Saturday morning (NZT) if her first round match was scheduled for Monday. Competition gets under way on Sunday, and Erakovic will find out tomorrow whether she is in action on day one.
- © Fairfax NZ News