Melbourne, Australia , 22 January 2023 | Darren Parkin

Pavle Marinkov has sat in the crowd at the Australian Open over the past three years, dreaming of emulating those battling on court.

Today the 16-year-old got his chance, making his debut in the boys’ singles competition. It proved a memorable one too, beating Austrian Joel Schwaerzier 6-4 7-5 in 90 minutes.

“I’m always here in January. The last three years I’ve been a spectator and can’t believe I now get the chance to play,” Marinkov said after the match.

The New South Wales teen was initially awe struck at the opportunity, but settled in quickly to find his groove.

“I started a bit slowly because I’d never played in front of a crowd like that before. It took some getting used to,” Marinkov said.

“To walk on court was not confronting, but certainly it was like ‘Wow, this is pretty big’.”

Marinkov earned his Australian Open wildcard after claiming the 18/u Australian Championships at the December Showdown.

“I was here last month for the December Showdown and that gave me a lot of confidence,” Marinkov said. “It also gave me a chance to get used to the courts and the way they play which helps.”

Marinkov’s family was in Melbourne during December and they made the trip down again to celebrate this moment with him.

“I played Traralgon (J300 ITF event) last week, so Dad came down with me for all of it. And my sisters have been here as well,” he said. “It’s great to have that support and to have your family around you for a moment like this.”

In the doubles, Alexander Despoja and Jeremy Zhang took out the No.2 seeds from Bulgaria, Adriano Zhenev and lliyan Radulov.

The Aussie wildcards were down a set and a break, but rallied superbly to win 4-6 6-3 [10-7] and advance to the second round.

AUSSIES IN ACTION – Australian Open

Boys’ singles, first round
[WC] Pavle Marinkov (AUS) d Joel Schwaerzier (AUT) 6-4 7-5
[4] Arthur Gea (FRA) d [Q] Brendan Loh (AUS) 6-1 6-2
Tomasz Berkieta (POL) d Charlie Camus (AUS) 6-4 6-4
[Q] Andril Zimnokh (UKR) d [12] Hayden Jones (AUS) 6-1 6-7(5) 7-5

Boys’ doubles, first round
[WC] Alexander Despoja (AUS)/Jeremy Zhang (AUS) d [2] Adriano Dzhenev (BUL)/Iliyan Radulov (BUL) 4-6 6-3 [10-6]
Keegan Rice (CAN)/Hoyoung Roh (KOR) d [WC] Thomas Gadecki (AUS)/Hugh Winter (AUS) 4-6 6-1 [10-6]
Federico Bondioli (ITA)/Matic Kriznik (SLO) d Charlie Camus (AUS)/Emilien Demanet (BEL) 6-4 6-3

Boys’ singles, second round
[WC] Pavle Marinkov (AUS) v Patrick Schoen (SUI)

> VIEW: Australian Open 2023 boys’ singles draw

Boys’ doubles, first round
[5] Hayden Jones (AUS)/Danil Panarin v Manas Dhamne (IND)/Aryan Shah (IND)
[WC] Cooper Errey (AUS)/Marcus Schoeman (AUS) v [4] Mihai Alexandru Coman (ROU)/Matej Dodig (CRO)
[WC] Pavle Marinkov (AUS)/Zachary Viiala (AUS) v Jakub Filip (CZE)/Maxim Mrva (CZE)

Boys’ doubles, second round
[WC] Alexander Despoja (AUS)/Jeremy Zhang (AUS) v Federico Bondioli (ITA)/Matic Kriznik (SLO)

> VIEW: Australian Open 2023 boys’ doubles draw

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