Greg Jones' upset victory over sixth seed Jurgen Melzer at Stanley St has come at a cost - he now can't compete in the Australian Open.
For Sydney-born Jones, though, a player ranked No 373 in the world who enjoyed the best win of his career in beating world No 29 Melzer, of Austria, in the Heineken Open, there is no regret. There was only the slimmest chance that he could win a wild card for Melbourne and after his 7-6 6-2 victory today (Tues), which took a mere 81 minutes, he has a run in Auckland to look forward to.
"It's a good problem to be having,'' the 23-year-old Jones said. "I'm super glad I won and I'd obviously rather play here and keep winning because that's what's best for my career right now, but at the same time there is a little disappointment. I'm not going to get the opportunity to play in the tournament I grew up watching, and that was my dream since I was a child.''
Jones, who had to fight his way through qualifying to make the main draw in Auckland, was all class against his much higher-ranked opponent, who reached the semifinals of the French Open last year.
Jones' aggressive play constantly pressurised Melzer, who verbally took out his frustrations on a line judge in the first set.
"I thought I played pretty well today and made him feel pretty stressed out there,'' Jones said. "He's probably the best player I've ever played so to win is a good feeling. I was fortunate. He probably hasn't seen me play a lot but I've seen him play a lot on TV throughout all the slams and during that run when he made the semis of the French Open. So I've got a huge amount of respect for him and I was pretty lucky I was on my game. I think the wind might have helped me a bit too.
"I didn't have much to lose to be honest, he's expected to win. In the bigger moments I thought `to hell with it, I'll see what happens'. I got lucky I guess.''
An injury-plagued 2012 accounts for Jones' modest ranking. He reached as high as 179 in 2010 but knee and elbow problems put paid to that. He would normally play in Sydney at this time of year but decided to travel to Auckland as he thought his low ranking would preclude him from qualifying.
"I was injured for three months of the year with my knee and then five weeks at the end of the year with my elbow so I did have some injury problems but in between that was probably one large mental injury.
''[It was] just frustration at being injured and watching my ranking drop every week without being able to do anything about it and also when I came back I had to play on clay which was difficult with my knee. I lost a bit of confidence and sometimes that's just how it goes.''
The day's first upset came with Dutchman Igor Sijsling's 3-6 6-3 7-5 victory over his higher ranked countryman Robin Haase, which pits him against third seed Tommy Haas in the next round.
- APNZBy Patrick McKendry Email Patrick