Date with Destanee won't be the last

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Date with Destanee wont be the last
Australia's Destanee Aiava hits a return against Germany's Mona Barthel .

Melbourne - The young Australian showed plenty of power and confident shot-making

By AFP

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Published: Mon 16 Jan 2017, 8:18 PM

Last updated: Mon 16 Jan 2017, 10:22 PM

Teenage sensation Destanee Aiava, inspired by tips from Serena Williams, promised her historic Australian Open appearance won't be her last despite crashing out in round one on Monday.
Sixteen-year-old Aiava became the first player born this millennium to contest a Grand Slam tournament, and showed she could be a force in the future in her 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) defeat to Germany's Mona Barthel.
The young Australian showed plenty of power and confident shot-making - and few signs of nerves - and she ran Barthel close in the second set before succumbing in 92 minutes.
"This isn't the first and the last time I'm going to be here. There's plenty more to come," she said afterwards.
"Nothing really surprised me. I think I learned how to be more composed out there, and I didn't rush as much. But obviously it wasn't my day," she added.
Aiava, coached by her non-tennis playing mother Rosie, practised with Williams before the tournament and she said the American great had passed on some memorable advice.
"She told me to dream big and you'll achieve big. Yeah, she's quite a nice person. It was a really good experience to get to hit with her," Aiava said.
According to reports, Aiava, who was born in Sydney to parents of Samoan origin, announced she wanted to be world number one after watching Williams win the Australian Open on TV.
None of her rugby-mad family plays tennis although her father, former power-lifter Mark, coaches mixed martial arts, which she uses in her training sessions.
Aiava said she was comfortable being coached by her mother because "she understands me, as a person.
"She's the only one who can get through to me on court. She knows how to talk to me and then I'll understand what she wants from me.
"When I'm working with other coaches, they use terms that I don't really understand. It just doesn't work. That's a good combination there."
She played down the achievement of playing her first Grand Slam match, which also brought her biggest payday yet of Aus$50,000 ($37,400) as a first-round loser.
"I don't like to focus on that or gloat. Just taking it one tournament at a time and not having a lot of celebration, because it's only a small thing," she said.


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