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Australian Open spray forgotten as star selected

Australian tennis player Arina Rodionova downplayed her criticism of Tennis Australia following her selection Australia’s Billie Jean King Cup tie against Mexico in Brisbane this weekend.

In January, Rodionova, currently ranked No.99, was overlooked for a wildcard at the Australian Open despite being the country’s top-ranked women’s player at the time.

Following the decision, the 34-year-old declared she was “not liked” by Tennis Australia officials, saying they would have been “pleased” she was eliminated during the qualifying phase of her home grand slam.

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However, Rodionova did her best to move on from the comments when asked about her situation ahead of the Billie Jean Cup clash, telling reporters representing Australia and her criticism of TA “are two very different things”.

“At the end, I didn’t qualify [for the Australian Open] like I probably should have and I didn’t. So that’s on me,” she said.

“If I want to give myself the opportunity to play on big courts, then I should win more often. So I’ll try to do that.”

Rodionova has been overtaken in the rankings as Australia’s top-ranked female player by fellow Russian-born Aussie Daria Saville, who sits at 94 in the WTA rankings.

“In the Australian Open, I’m playing for myself. Here I’m representing the country, so I don’t see any correlation between those two events.

“Whatever happened in January, it’s happened in January.

“I’m really happy to be part of the team again after a few years.”

This week’s Billie Jean King Cup tie is the first on Australian soil since 2019 when the competition was still known as the Federation Cup.

The Australians go into the tie as the No.2 ranked team in the competition as they aim to reach the finals for a fourth successive year.

The clash with Mexico is the first between the two nations since 1983.

Aussie coach Sam Stosur will reveal her singles selections on Wednesday with doubles players Ellen Perez and Taylah Preston also in the squad.