Ajla Tomljanovic falls agonisingly short of Wimbledon semi-finals before addressing Nick Kyrgios assault allegations
Aussie tennis star Ajla Tomljanovic has fallen short of the Wimbledon semi-finals following a gallant 4-6 6-2 6-3 loss in the quarter-finals overnight to Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina.
The 29-year-old showed tremendous heart to take the first set off the big-hitting 17th seed, before she was eventually overpowered by Rybakina, who smashed 15 aces to dominate the second and third sets.
You can watch Kyrgios address his assault allegations in the video above
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“It was a bit disappointing because I felt like I played a really good first set. Actually one of the cleanest sets I’ve played all tournament,” Tomljanovic said.
“I felt like the middle of that second she definitely raised her level. She served crazy good.
“Yeah, just disappointed because I felt like with my game I was really there.”
Following the tough loss, the world No. 44 was quizzed about her two-year relationship with fellow Aussie Nick Kyrgios, after he was summonsed to face the ACT Magistrates Court next month to potentially face a common assault charge, amid allegations he grabbed his former girlfriend Chiara Passari in an incident before Christmas last year.
While Tomljanovic was frustrated by the question so soon after her incredibly impressive run at the All England Club, she did reveal to reporters that she had never encountered any domestic violence during her relationship with Kyrgios between 2015 and 2017.
“It’s been a while since our relationship ended,” Tomljanovic said.
“Obviously, I’ve always kept my relationship very private. I would like to keep it like that.
“I’m definitely against domestic violence. I hope it gets resolved.
“But, yeah, I mean, I haven’t had that experience with him.”
Kyrgios also addressed the allegations himself for the first time following his straight-sets quarter-final victory over Chile’s Cristian Garin at Wimbledon overnight.
The in-form Canberran said he was keen to tell his side of the story, but that he would have to wait until his day in court.
“Obviously, I have a lot of thoughts, a lot of things I want to say, kind of my side about it,” Kyrgios said after reaching the Wimbledon semi-finals for the first time.
“Obviously, I’ve been advised by my lawyers that I’m unable to say anything at this time.
“Look, I understand everyone wants to kind of ask about it and all that, but I can’t give you too much on that right now.”
The Aussie firebrand said the allegations and reports about him did affect him in the 24 hours leading up to his quarter-final, however he was able to cast those concerns aside during his time on the court.
“I’m only human,” Kyrgios said.
“Obviously, I read about it and obviously everyone else was asking questions. It was hard.
“It was hard to kind of just focus on kind of the mission at hand. It was quarter-finals of Wimbledon today. I know deep down that’s what I was prepared for.
“It didn’t really affect my preparation at all. I knew I stayed true to myself and give my best performance today.”
Meanwhile, Kyrgios’ ex-girlfriend Chiara Passari, who made the allegations against the tennis star, has also spoken publicly for the first time about the legal matter.
Passari told News Corp she had nothing to do with the fact the allegations were made public just 24 hours before Kyrgios’ quarter-final, insisting she went to ACT Police last December.
The 23-year-old spoke out amid claims from trolls that she aired the allegations in an effort to derail Kyrgios’ Wimbledon campaign.
“The world doesn’t revolve around Wimbledon,” Passari wrote on social media.
Kyrgios’ lawyer Jason Moffett confirmed on Wednesday he had been briefed on the matter and his client, Kyrgios, was aware of the allegation.
“It’s in the context of a domestic relationship,” Moffett told The Canberra Times.
“The nature of the allegation is serious, and Mr Kyrgios takes the allegation very seriously.
“Given the matter is before the court … he doesn’t have a comment at this stage, but in the fullness of time we’ll issue a media release.”
Pierre Johannessen, the instructing lawyer in the matter, said Kyrgios was “taking the matter seriously” and was committed to addressing “any and all allegations once clear”.
Tomljanovic makes gallant Wimbledon exit
Meanwhile, Tomljanovic is feeling bittersweet after going down swinging in a gallant Wimbledon quarter-final loss to Elena Rybakina.
Tomljanovic took the opening set to raise the prospect of an extraordinary 51-year Australian tennis first before bowing out on Wednesday.
Rybakina is the tournament’s ace leader, boasts the second-fastest serve of the 2022 championships and ultimately overpowered Tomljanovic on show court No.1.
But not before Tomljanovic put up an almighty fight.
The 29-year-old played one of the sets of her life to threaten a boilover early on.
Defying her underdog status, Tomljanovic’s fearless groundstrokes and relentless retrieving – including one incredible running topspin lob winner from behind the baseline – earned the world No.44 the first set.
Already the first Australian since Jelena Dokic in 1999 and 2000 to make the quarter-finals, Tomljanovic suddenly looked a chance to deliver the most spectacular and unlikely of encores to Ash Barty’s march to the title last year.
Legends Margaret Court and Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1970 and 1971 are the only Australians to win the Wimbledon singles in consecutive years.
Alas, after losing to Barty in the quarters last year, Tomljanovic again fell at the same stage as Rybakina stepped up to dominate the second and third sets.
Rybakina at one stage reeled off seven games in a row from 2-2 in the second set to 3-0 in the third to turn the quarter-final around.
Despite Tomljanovic gamely breaking back for 2-5 in the deciding set, the reprieve merely proved a stay of execution as Rybakina eventually closed out the match after one hour and 51 minutes.
“I’m really proud of the fact that I managed to play back-to-back quarters. That’s something that I’ll be proud of no matter what,” Tomljanovic said.
“But a bit of a different feeling than last year just because I really felt like I was in this match. I came in really believing that I could win, where maybe that wasn’t the case last year.
“But the good thing is that I’m playing good tennis, and I don’t see why I can’t put myself out there again in the next slam or whenever.
“Definitely think it’s been a step forward, and I can just build off of that.”
– With AAP