A blend of Kiwi resolve and Australian swagger could not save Sacha Jones from a first-round elimination last night, though she saved her best volley for Tennis New Zealand.
The 21-year-old played her final match as a New Zealander before switching her allegiance to the left side of the Tasman Sea, but fell to Ukraine-born Briton Elena Baltacha 6-2 4-6 6-3 in the first round of the ASB Classic.
That leaves Marina Erakovic as New Zealand's only remaining hope.
Jones entered the arena a little sheepishly (she'll hear plenty of sheep references where she's going) and left two hours and 11 minutes later, for all intents and purposes, as a dinky di Australian.
"A couple of people mentioned that I should be ready in case anybody makes a few comments and I was ready for that," Jones said. "Other than that I tried to protect myself: I didn't read anything or listen to anything or watch anything on the subject.
"I'd made my decision - which was obviously a very tough decision - and I didn't really want to let other people's opinions influence me."
Jones, ranked 274 in the world, leaves as the second-best female player in New Zealand and joins Australia as their ninth-highest ranked player. But it is the nebulous concept of a "system" she is interested in.
"I'm not quite sure how you define 'system' in New Zealand. I think everyone has done it individually. Marina's done it her way and she's obviously been very successful. I've done it my way and the guys do it their way.
"I don't think [my decision] sends a message other than do what you can to chase your dreams."
Jones' father Mel is Australian and she said she had been mulling a switch for four or five years, but had tried to postpone the inevitable for as long as possible as she tried to make it on her own. But injuries had set her back and she felt she needed the comforting blanket that a cashed-up Tennis Australia could provide.
"I'm 21 and I don't really want to leech off my parents," she said. "When I was in Australia last time I sat down and had talks with Tennis Australia and they were really keen to have me on board."
The why and wherefores of her decision have created a minor stink in what is a traditionally quiet time for the sports news cycle. The controversy has been stirred out of a slightly paranoid sense of wounded national pride, rather than any great sense of loss.
Jones, who entered the ASB Classic as one of three wildcards, is a decent player but there is little concrete evidence that she is poised to become a world-beater. Better access to resources, including brother GD Jones as a full-time coach on the road, might lead to a rankings boost, but on last night's evidence her shot-making skills are some way shy of the very best.
She is prepared to graft, though. That was obvious when she recovered from a miserable first set to break Baltacha twice to lead the second 5-1.
She took out that set and was close in the third before cramping in her right hand - "I couldn't actually open my thumb to change the grip on my racquet" - saw her service game crumble and the match slip away.
There was a curious prelude to the match when one of three shufflers - it's a dance craze, apparently - went crashing over the net and on to his back after an epic mini-tramp failure, proving the maxim that little good comes of dressing badly.
Jones' failure was not so glaring, though she did have moments in a nervous first set when she was exposed. One second serve was so wide it would not have landed in a second service box.
In difficult, gusty conditions she showed admirable fight - something that will be appreciated by her adopted country.