Australia, 21 December 2023 | Leigh Rogers

Aussie tennis legends Sam Stosur and Alicia Molik believe the future looks bright in Australian women’s tennis.

Kimberly Birrell and Arina Rodionova each achieved new career-highs during 2023, rising to world No.100 and world No.112 respectively.

“Kimbo’s obviously had the year of her career and Rodi’s managed to peak and do the hard yards through the ITF circuit,” Stosur noted.

Stosur, the US Open 2011 singles champion and a former world No.4, predicts Storm Hunter will make giant strides on the singles court in 2024.

“Stormy is obviously No.1 in the world in doubles but she’s always a really tough contender on the singles court,” Stosur said.

“I think the bigger the moment, the bigger the match, she really brings it. So I’m looking forward to seeing Storm play, especially over January.”

Stosur also expects Daria Saville, a former world No.20, and Ajla Tomljanovic, a former world No.32, to quickly climb back up the WTA Tour rankings too.

They are both currently outside the world’s top 200 after undergoing knee surgeries.

“Dasha and Ajla have had unfortunate last 12 months, but they’re both coming back now and looking really fit and healthy again,” said Stosur, who was appointed Australia’s new Billie Jean King Cup captain last week.

“We’ve got a number of players knocking on the door (of the top 100). Dasha and Ajla are certainly among them, especially with their experience.”

Molik, a former world No.8 and Australia’s outgoing Billie Jean King Cup captain, believes Olivia Gadecki can soon break into the world’s top 100 in singles.

The 21-year-old from the Gold Coast rose to a career-high world No.124 during the 2023 season.

“She’s done really well but she’s got leaps to make,” Molik said.

“I really think she can have a huge impact on the WTA Tour (in 2024).”

Molik was super impressed with Gadecki’s form during the Billie Jean King Cup finals last month.

“She wasn’t in the team, but she was our practice partner and I have to say, I think she was best on ground every day to be honest,” Molik said.

“I look at her strengths and I just see so much that she can devastate the top players in the world with.”

Molik sees a bright future too for Taylah Preston.

The 18-year-old from Perth won four ITF singles titles to skyrocket to world No.202 in her first season on the professional tour.

“She’s a real fighter,” Molik said of Preston. “She’s just outside the top 200, so that’s pretty impressive the year she’s had. It’s blown me away actually.”

Preston’s efforts were acknowledged at last week’s Australian Tennis Awards, where she won her third consecutive Female Junior Athlete of the Year Award.

> VIEW: Winners announced at 2023 Australian Tennis Awards

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