Tennis: Yes, her brother did once win Wimbledon

By Gregor Paul

Living in the shadow of an older sibling is very much a blessing rather than a curse for Michaella Krajiceck.

The 18-year-old, who is currently ranked number 33 in the world, is the half-sister of 1996 Wimbledon winner, Richard.

Every tournament she plays there are questions about her brother and she is regularly introduced as sister of Richard, the guy who won Wimbledon.

But according to the younger Krajiceck: "It's definitely a good thing for me to have a role model I like in the family. I am enjoying his advice and that is why people recognise me more because of him.

"I know it is getting less and less but I think it is going to be there forever. I was seven at the time when he won Wimbledon. I was in front of the TV but I was more interested in my dolls I think so I wasn't really watching him."

Interestingly, while Richard offers advice and plays with his sister when he can, it was Krajiceck's mother who was the driving force pushing Michaella towards the WTA Tour.

"From a very young age she wanted me to be a professional tennis player and also, of course, Richard was playing so well already. She was the one who got me interested."

Krajiceck is now in her fifth year as a full-time professional and has almost won US$1 million in prize money. She's yet to win a tournament, though, and while her time in New Zealand is essentially preparation for the Australian Open, she is a good outside bet to do well in Auckland.

In the last two years she has been ranked inside the top 40 and her game has been good enough to consistently knock off some bigger names. Her challenge this year is to find a way to string together back-to-back victories to give her that elusive first tournament victory.

Whatever happens this week she should leave New Zealand with happy memories as she will partner local favourite Marina Erakovic in the doubles, making her an instant favourite with the home crowd.

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