Aussie star Ajla Tomljanovic reveals tennis legend Chris Evert has become her mentor

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Aussie star Ajla Tomljanovic reveals tennis legend Chris Evert has taken time out from her cancer battle to become her friend and mentor as she charges into the quarter finals at Wimbledon

  • Ajla Tomljanovic, 29, has become firm friends with US tennis legend Chris Evert
  • Stems from pair both living in Florida, Evert also happily taken on a mentor role
  • Aussie tennis star faces 17th seed Elena Rybakina for a spot in Wimbledon semis

Australian tennis star Ajla Tomljanovic has revealed having tennis legend Chris Evert as a close friend and life mentor has resulted in her second successive quarter-final appearance at Wimbledon.

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The 29-year-old beat France’s Alize Cornet 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in an epic fourth round match which lasted two hours and 35 minutes.

Post-match she revealed her friendship with Evert – who won 18 career grand slam singles titles, including three at Wimbledon – has taken her on-court belief to another level.

The friendship developed with the pair both calling Florida home. 

 ‘Over the past few months we’ve been talking more than ever. She’s been there for me, like, this year a lot. It’s been so nice,’ Tomljanovic said.

‘We love each other, so we are there for each other in that way. She texted me before the match that she believes in me.’

Ajla Tomljanovic (pictured) has revealed having tennis legend Chris Evert as a close friend and mentor has resulted in her second successive quarter-final appearance at Wimbledon

Ajla Tomljanovic (pictured) has revealed having tennis legend Chris Evert as a close friend and mentor has resulted in her second successive quarter-final appearance at Wimbledon

Evert, who won all four slams in what was a glittering career, has long maintained confidence was always the key for Ajla Tomljanovic

Evert, who won all four slams in what was a glittering career, has long maintained confidence was always the key for Ajla Tomljanovic

Evert is currently battling ovarian cancer, and being a key part of Tomljanovic’s success at the All England Club has been a welcome distraction, according to the unseeded baseline grafter.

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When Evert repeatedly stated ‘Ajla, you’re in the quarter-finals again’ not long after the duo shared a phone call following the victory against Cornet, the enormity of the achievement began to sink in for the world No.44.

Evert, who won all four slams in a glittering career, has long maintained confidence was always the key for the woman who spent her formative years in Zagreb, Croatia.

It is a notion shared by former Aussie tennis player turned coach Wally Masur, who is elated Tomljanovic’s drive is finally being rewarded.

‘It’s interesting because she is such a good player but has given away a few hints that there is a bit of self-doubt there, which on the surface there shouldn’t be,’ Masur told the Sydney Morning Herald.

‘She is really fit, she works hard, taking care of a lot of elements of the game. The way the women’s draw is unfolding, anybody is a chance who can grab the moment.’

The Aussie tennis star (pictured) next faces 17th seed Elena Rybakina for a spot in the Wimbledon semi-finals

The Aussie tennis star (pictured) next faces 17th seed Elena Rybakina for a spot in the Wimbledon semi-finals

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Chris Evert won the women's singles at the All England Club in 1974, 1976 and 1981

Chris Evert won the women’s singles at the All England Club in 1974, 1976 and 1981

Tomljanovic has joined exclusive company as one of only nine Australians to reach multiple Wimbledon ladies’ singles quarter-finals in the Open era.

The nationalised Aussie also becomes the first woman since Jelena Dokic in 2000 to reach back-to-back quarterfinals on the hallowed grass in London.

Her next assignment for a spot in the semi-finals is 17th seed Elena Rybakina from Kazakhstan.

Rybakina won their only previous meeting at the Madrid Open last year – but the one-time girlfriend of Nick Kyrgios is far from intimidated.

‘After last year facing Ash (Barty in 2021), I think I can face anyone,’ Tomljanovic said.

‘Hopefully it’s going to be more of a contest. What I’ve learnt from last year is I have to bounce back really quickly, forget about the positive emotions and just focus on the next match.’

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