Home » Tomljanović puts ‘challenging’ period behind her to target French Open

Tomljanović puts ‘challenging’ period behind her to target French Open

Ajla Tomljanović has declared herself “feeling great” and raring to go again at the French Open after overcoming the most challenging spell of her career.

The main flag-bearer for Australian women’s tennis since Ash Barty’s retirement, Tomljanović has been cruelled by injuries, illness and surgery over the past 18 months.

Admitting how easy it would have been to feel sorry for herself, Tomljanović says she resisted any self-pity and has come through the other side, convinced her best tennis is in front of her, even at 31.

“Feeling great this week. It feels really nice to be back,” the three-time grand slam quarter-finalist told AAP from Paris.

She returned to competitive action in Parma last week after a four-month break following a knee injury and surgery to remove non-cancerous uterine tumours.

Ajla Tomljanović has spent more time on the injury table and the practice court than at competitions in recent months.(Getty Images: Robert Prange)

Then, disappointingly, after a winning return, she pulled out early in her second-round match to protect a stiff neck.

But Tomljanović explained it was only a precaution to ensure she was firing for Paris, where she will be featuring in her 35th slam.

“Physically, I’m very happy with where my knee is at, and my overall health as well,” Tomljanović said.

“I was really happy with how I felt in the first round and I’m not upset [about pulling out in Parma] because coming back from injury is never easy.

“I’m trying to take it just day by day, doing everything I can to feel better.

“I’m pretty excited for the French [Open], looking forward to the matches because I really feel like, by Sunday, I can get in great shape to feel good and put my best foot forward.”

The question remains whether Tomljanović, whose knee trouble began not long after she had reached the high point of her career by sending Serena Williams into retirement at the US Open and reaching the quarterfinals, can rediscover that level.

Ajla Tomljanovic holds her hands on top of her head

Ajla Tomljanović reached the US Open quarter finals in 2022.(Getty Images: Robert Prange)

She is upbeat, if understandably cautious, but thinks she is mentally stronger and better equipped to do so.

“I’m not gonna lie to you, it’s been really challenging. I came off my career-best year and felt I was ready to do bigger and better things,” she said.