MELBOURNE, Australia — Olivia Gadecki is doing her best to stay grounded. This is despite the 20-year-old Queenslander, and wildcard at the 2023 Australian Open, posting the biggest win of her career – a straight sets victory over qualifier Polina Kudermetova.
It was her first Grand Slam main draw match, and her biggest ever payday – so far. Gadecki will pocket at least AU$158,850, and after a nervous giggle at the prospect of such a sum being available to her going forward, the world No. 199 was circumspect about what the money will mean for her career.
“I didn’t even think about the payment, to be honest,” she said. “Looking back at my match, it kind of seems like a blur, to be honest, but I’m just really excited to get the win and really excited to get to play again on Wednesday.
“It doesn’t really change the way I go about my career. It just gives me a little bit of a safety net, which is really important when it comes to being an athlete.”
Life on tour as a professional player, especially one outside the top 100 can be tough. It often means being required to qualify for main draws of major tournaments, and pay for early exits at minor tournaments can often end up costing players, instead of them running a small profit.
Gadecki said up until now she has been “supported” by Tennis Australia, but she is aware she has little wiggle room for form, performances, and a greater level of comfort on tour.
“Just having that security and knowing you don’t have to rely on doing well each and every week to be able to find yourself [is great],” she said. “And, you know, the help from Tennis Australia is just amazing. I’ve been so lucky to be able to be supported by Tennis Australia, especially Craig, since I was very young. Without them, I wouldn’t be here right now.
“My family is here, and my mom has put in a lot of time, sacrifice and dedication into my career and money can’t buy that. I’m really just happy we can share that moment together.”
Gadecki has garnered some extra support in the form of fellow Queenslander and former world No. 1 Ash Barty, who is mentoring the 20-year-old in 2023. When asked about the link between Barty and the win, Gadecki praised the influence and advice she’s been given from the three-time Grand Slam winner.
“[Barty] sent me a text after my match, which really meant a lot. But I’m sure everyone kind of knows she’s always been in my corner, and I’m so lucky to have her. Whenever I need advice or anything, I’m always able to contact her,” she said.
Gadecki faces Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk on Wednesday for a place in the last 32.