Teen star Konjuh gets wildcard for tennis comp

DAVID LONG
Last updated 13:24 26/12/2013
Ana Konjuh
Getty Images
NZ BOUND: Ana Konjuh in action at the US Junior Open.

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Fifteen-year-old Ana Konjuh from Croatia has been given a wildcard for Auckland's WTA tennis tournament, which begins on Monday.

Konjuh has a world ranking of 259 and is the No 2 junior in the world.

Regarded as one of the brightest stars of the future, Classic tournament director Karl Budge made the call to give her one of two main draw wildcards he has at his disposal, with the other previously going to the Czech Republic's Andrea Hlavackova.

2013 saw Konjuh win the girls' singles and doubles at the Australian Open, represent Croatia at the Fed Cup - where she defeated Urszula Radwanska - and take out her second junior Grand Slam title at the US Open. 

"She is absolutely a star in the making and we can't wait to see her take to our centre court," Budge said.

"We hope to build a strong relationship with the Croatian and lure her back to New Zealand in future years to headline our event".

With the lack of depth among New Zealand women's players, there wasn't anyone who had done enough to be handed a main draw wildcard. Marina Erakovic can make it into the main draw with her world ranking of 46.

There are three wildcards available for the qualifying tournament. One has been given to Sacha Jones, who plays as an Australian but last week won the New Zealand championships.

For the other two wildcards spots, Dianne Hollands (ranked 687) Emma Hayman (714), Abigail Guthrie (1241) and the unranked 16-year-old Paige Hourigan will battle it out.

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- Fairfax Media

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