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Saville’s Wimbledon wildcard plea pays off

Some players are skipping Wimbledon this year because there’s no rankings points on offer.

Others are indifferent but playing on despite the controversial ban on Russians and Belarusians over the invasion of Ukraine.

Then there’s Daria Saville.

She basically begged officials for a wildcard, so desperate was the Australian No.2 to have the honour of competing at tennis’s most prestigious event.

After missing the direct-entry cut-off as she continued her inspiring comeback from a crippling foot injury, Saville revealed she contracted the All England Club direct to plead her case for inclusion in the main draw.

“Maybe that it was coming from me and not from an agent might have helped,” she said.

“I requested and sent an email. That’s all I could do, right?”

“I didn’t want to brag about my results but I pretty much said that I missed out by only a little bit and would be inside the cut.

“I then sent another email saying, ‘I had a good run in Berlin and now I am inside the top 100. Hello? Please?’.

“I saw that they hadn’t announced the last two, so I was like, ‘Let me just send another email’.”

It all paid off when Saville was awarded the last of seven women’s singles wildcards last Saturday.

“I was really surprised,” said the one-time world No.1 junior.

“I was still in Berlin when I got the email that Wimbledon wants to offer me a wildcard. I was over the moon. It is pretty special to be selected as a wildcard.

“You just never know how the selectors, the committee, are going to go about it. I had zero expectations. In fact, I was on my way to Roehampton to play qualifying.”

Saville makes no apologies for wanting a wildcard so much.

“Wimbledon is beautiful. It is a dream tournament. It is amazing,” the bubbly baseliner said after drawing Viktoriya Tomova in the first round.

While personally surprised, in reality Saville was most deserving of the wildcard, having soared some 531 rankings spots since February.

The former world No.20 arrived in London 96th in the standings after being Australia’s last player standing at the French Open and dumping dual Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the second round.

Even Saville admits her impressive comeback form is ahead of schedule after she privately feared her career may have been over during a 13-month layoff in 2019-20 and another 10-month absence last year.

“I never really even discussed it with anyone,” Saville said.

“(But) I had thoughts where, ‘OK, what if the surgery is not going to be successful?’

“I had some tough few months while I was recovering where it was not tracking in the right direction.

“I stalled. I was like, ‘What is happening? Why? Why is it not improving?’ That was a bit hard. I was like, ‘Oh my God. What if I can’t get back?’.”

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