Australia, 15 March 2023 | Leigh Rogers

Emerson Jones achieved a major milestone this week, becoming Australia’s new top-ranked junior.

The 14-year-old from the Gold Coast has climbed to a career-high No.21 in the ITF World Tennis Tour girls’ rankings and overtakes Taylah Preston, a 17-year-old from Perth, as the Australian No.1.

Jones improves eight places after advancing to the biggest final of her young career, at a J300 tournament in Thailand, last week.

It continues an impressive rise for the teenager, who is currently the highest-ranked 2008-born player in the world.

“It hasn’t really taken that long for me to be up high. It’s pretty great,” Jones said during this year’s Australian Open, where she reached the second round in the girls’ singles competition.

Jones, who is targeting success at the junior Grand Slam tournaments in 2023, is following in the footsteps of her older brother, Hayden. The 16-year-old is currently the top-ranked Australian boy at world No.35.

> READ MORE: Getting to know Hayden Jones

While Emerson credits her brother for sparking her love of tennis, she lists her mother, Loretta Harrop, as her biggest inspiration.

“I look up to my mum because she was really good and tough mentally at triathlons,” Jones explained of her mother, who won an Olympic silver medal at Athens 2004. “I take a lot of advice from her.”

Her father Brad Jones was also an outstanding athlete, winning the prestigious Grogan Medal in the Queensland Australian Football League in 1999.

Emerson, who represented Australia at the Junior Billie Jean King Cup Finals in Turkey last year and was a Female Junior Athlete of the Year finalist at the 2022 Australian Tennis Awards, also has esteemed coach David Taylor in her corner.

Taylor has previously guided Australian greats Alicia Molik and Sam Stosur to the top of the rankings and is now a coach at Tennis Australia’s National Tennis Academy.

Jones was announced as one of the newest members of the National Tennis Academy last week.

> READ MORE: Class of 2023 unveiled at National Tennis Academy

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