Greg Jones' upset victory over sixth seed Jurgen Melzer at
Stanley St has come at a cost - he now can't compete in the
For Sydney-born Jones, though, a player ranked No373 in the
world who enjoyed the best win of his career in beating world
No29 Melzer, of Austria, in the Heineken Open, there is no
regret. There was only the slimmest chance that he could win
a wild card for Melbourne and after his 7-6 6-2 victory
today, which took a mere 81 minutes, he has a run in Auckland
to look forward to.
"It's a good problem to be having," the 23-year-old Jones
said. "I'm super glad I won and I'd obviously rather play
here and keep winning because that's what's best for my
career right now, but at the same time there is a little
disappointment. I'm not going to get the opportunity to play
in the tournament I grew up watching, and that was my dream
since I was a child."
Jones, who had to fight his way through qualifying to make
the main draw in Auckland, was all class against his much
higher-ranked opponent, who reached the semifinals of the
French Open last year. Jones' aggressive play constantly
pressurised Melzer, who verbally took out his frustrations on
a line judge in the first set.
"I thought I played pretty well today and made him feel
pretty stressed out there," Jones said. "He's probably the
best player I've ever played so to win is a good feeling. I
"He probably hasn't seen me play a lot but I've seen him play
a lot on TV throughout all the slams and during that run when
he made the semis of the French Open. So I've got a huge
amount of respect for him and I was pretty lucky I was on my
game. I think the wind might have helped me a bit too.
"I didn't have much to lose to be honest, he's expected to
win. In the bigger moments I thought 'to hell with it, I'll
see what happens'. I got lucky I guess."
An injury-plagued 2012 accounts for Jones' modest ranking. He
reached as high as 179 in 2010 but knee and elbow problems
put paid to that. He would normally play in Sydney at this
time of year but decided to travel to Auckland as he thought
his low ranking would preclude him from qualifying.
"I was injured for three months of the year with my knee and
then five weeks at the end of the year with my elbow so I did
have some injury problems but in between that was probably
one large mental injury.
"[It was] just frustration at being injured and watching my
ranking drop every week without being able to do anything
about it and also when I came back I had to play on clay
which was difficult with my knee. I lost a bit of confidence
and sometimes that's just how it goes."
The day's first upset came with Dutchman Igor Sijsling's 3-6
6-3 7-5 victory over his higher ranked countryman Robin
Haase, which pits him against third seed Tommy Haas in the