Melbourne, VIC, 7 December 2018 | Matt Trollope

Already riding high after a strong second half of 2018, Priscilla Hon enjoyed another boost when it was announced she will receive an Australian Open main draw wildcard.

The Queenslander, who was also awarded a main-draw wildcard for the upcoming Brisbane International, sits on the cusp of the world’s top 150, with the Australian summer a prime opportunity to push her ranking even higher.

Hon said that a second straight year of playing a significant number of WTA events had helped her adjust to the sport’s highest level.

“I feel like last year I was excited just to be there (at those tournaments). I wasn’t really thinking I could win matches. I was thinking, oh this is nice, this is cool,” she admitted to

“But now, just being around the girls, you feel a bit more part of it. I’ve obviously competed with some of the best now and I feel a little more confident.

“They’re obviously on another level with the mental part, but if you’re just talking about strength wise, like hitting the ball, it’s all pretty similar. It’s just a few points here and there. Obviously they’re all quite fit so they can last however many matches in a row. So just to physically get there, and stay there (is my goal).”

For the second straight year, Hon qualified for the WTA tournament in Seoul, where she advanced to the second round of the main draw. She also won three rounds of qualifying to reach the main draw in Hiroshima, another WTA-level event.

Following that came an appearance on centre court at the WTA Hong Kong Open, where she competed admirably against top seed Elina Svitolina, who the very next week went on to win the WTA Finals in Singapore.

Hon then returned home and scooped the $60,000 Pro Tour title in Bendigo, a result that helped her secure the Australian Open wildcard.

During that four-tournament stretch, she won 11 of her 14 matches.

“Probably mid-year – and there was still half a year left – but I was like, I’m not really where I want my ranking to be. I don’t have that many tournaments left. And I thought maybe I’ll finish the same as last year, which I wasn’t too happy about,” she said.

“I think mentally you need to get up for it (the end of the season). I think I did again. So I was pretty happy about that. I had a strong end to the year.

“I felt like this year I kind of learned how to restart and reset a little bit better. Having a few more breaks in between whenever I can and just turn off – have a few days off here and there.

“That helped a lot.”

Hon this month began working with a new coach – Frenchman Guillaume Peyre – as she looks to take the next step in her young career.

For the past three years she has significantly improved her year-end ranking, ending 2016 at No.449, rising to No.227 by the end of 2017 and currently residing at No.160.

She has a big January in her sights.

“I don’t want to just play, I want to win matches,” she said. “I don’t just want to compete, I want to win, and that’s my goal.”