For someone so young, Jade Lewis seems to take everything in her stride.

The promising Kiwi tennis player, who was granted a wild card into the ASB Classic on Wednesday, has plenty on her shoulders but doesn't seem to get fazed by much.

The 18-year-old is the latest hope for the New Zealand tennis public, looking for a successor to Marina Erakovic in the women's game..

Sacha Jones was meant to be - before her defection to Australia followed by premature retirement - and several other youngsters have failed to push on.


Lewis looks a good prospect, but carries the burden of a storied name in New Zealand tennis. She is the niece of Chris Lewis, who reached the 1983 Wimbledon final (among many other achievements) while another Uncle Mark and father David were tour level professionals and Davis Cup representatives.

"They've all done really well in tennis and hopefully I can do as well as them," said Lewis. "It's pretty cool to have my dad and my uncles who were that good at tennis. There's nothing bad about it."

Lewis has watched some of Chris' famous feats at the Wimbledon museum ("they have the last games of Chris's final") and also seen clips of her father in action over the years.

Now she has a chance to make her own mark.

Playing in the main draw of a WTA tournament will be a massive step up for Lewis, who spent most of last season playing ITF Junior tournaments.

But the teenager showed glimpses of her promise at this year's ASB Classic, when she took the first set against world No88 Lauren Davis, before losing in three sets.

The rest of her 2016 season was mixed; she struggled in the European summer, before achieving some better results when she returned to her American base for the northern hemisphere spring.

Her win at the recent New Zealand Championships demonstrated her growing maturity; she couldn't find her range or rhythm in the final against Paige Hourigan but showed real grit to stay in the match, then outlasted her more experienced opponent.


"It was an easy decision to give her a wildcard," said tournament director Karl Budge. "You always want to reward and give opportunities for young Kiwis. Jade's very impressive, her attitude is unbelievable for a young girl. She is very mature and she conducts herself like she is already on tour. I've seen her in here (at the ASB Tennis centre) all day every day since she arrived in the country, she is hitting twice a day, in the gym twice a day."

The presence of Lewis means there will be two Kiwis in the main draw for the first time since 2012, when Jones and Erakovic both featured in the tournament.

"It will be a cool experience and hopefully I can do well," said Lewis. "I know I can play that level when I am playing as long as I focus and play my own game I should be good. It's pretty exciting and there is nothing that's bad about it. It's going to be a good experience."