New York, NY, USA, 28 August 2017 | Darren Walton (AAP)

She was Australia’s best Wimbledon performer so it’s hardly surprising that Arina Rodionova now feels she belongs among the tennis elite.

Rodionova plays Dutchwoman Richel Hogenkamp in the first round of the US Open on Tuesday, feeling pumped about her main-draw debut after winning Australia’s wildcard playoff.

“Obviously it’s great to be in the main draw of a slam but I had a good year, so it didn’t come as a complete surprise to me this time,” Rodionova told AAP.

“I’m pretty close to be getting into slams with my own ranking so it’s exciting.”

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After also reaching the Wimbledon main draw with three qualifying wins and then making the second round for the first time, Rodionova continued her rise with a WTA quarterfinal appearance in China to be closing in on the top 100.

She enters the US Open as Australian No.4 behind only big guns Daria Gavrilova, Ashleigh Barty and 2011 US Open champion Sam Stosur.

“I’ve been playing big tournaments now, no longer $25,000 events and ITF,” Rodionova said.

“So that makes a big difference to know that I can compete on a similar level to the top players. I get a lot of confidence out of that.”


The Russian-born Melburnian attributes her improved performances to simply being healthy.

“I’ve always had lots of injuries throughout my career and pretty much had one big one each year so that’s obviously a step back every year,” Rodionova said.

“But this year I’ve been lucky staying healthy and I’ve got a good fitness base and had a good off-season.

“It’s a combination of things. I’m getting a bit older and that also makes me mentally stronger and I’ve got more experience now and I know what to do in certain match situations.”

Rodionova is taking it “one match at a time” in New York but has hopes of making a run.

“I didn’t even see the draw. I only know who I’m playing in the first round but I’m really excited to just compete,” she said.

“I’m really enjoying just being on the tennis court and just the feeling of competition. It’s awesome.”