Sara Errani certainly punches above her weight on the women’s tour.
The shortest player in the top 10 – by a significant margin – certainly makes her presence felt, walloping heavily top-spun forehands and demonstrating great athleticism to retrieve almost everything thrown at her.
Couple this with a feisty competitiveness and gritty will to win, and you’ve got a player who you most definitely want playing for your town at Australian Open 2014 as part of the AO Blitz.
Errani’s rise into the upper ranks of the women’s game has been nothing short of remarkable.
Barely inside the top 50 when she arrived at Melbourne Park in 2012, she made an unexpected run to the quarterfinals. And her good form simply continued from there; the Italian won four WTA titles that season, went all the way to the Roland Garros final, reached the semifinals at the US Open, and ended her season by qualifying for the elite top-eight field at the WTA Championships in Istanbul.
And although there are many players who have failed to follow up a breakout season the next year and have subsequently plummeted in the rankings, this fate did not befall Errani.
The 26-year-old consolidated her place in the top 10, winning almost 50 matches and enjoyed another stellar run at the French Open.
So how can you get Errani playing for your town at the upcoming Australian Open?
It’s easy – the more points you earn by completing challenges, the more points you earn for your nominated town. And the higher your town finishes on the leader-board, the more chance it will have of being represented by a highly seeded player. The top two towns on the leader-board will flip a coin to see which one scores the top-seeded male player, or the top-seeded female.
Your town could be associated with the Italian at Australian Open 2014; giant information screens around Melbourne Park, plus scheduling signage, would feature her name, nationality and the Australian town she’s ‘playing for’.
It’s a pretty exciting concept, especially when you consider the prizes on offer. If your representative player wins the men’s or women’s Australian Open singles title, your town will be treated to an AO Blitz party for the entire community, and a whole host of other prizes.
While she may not be among the immediate favourites for the title, a motivated Errani will be one the other women in the field will be wary of.
Following her quarterfinal run at Australian Open 2012, Errani bombed in her opening match in 2013, and will be extremely keen to make up for a performance that would have fallen well below her expectations. Supremely fit, she’s built to withstand the often searing summer conditions that characterise the tournament in January, and the medium-paced hardcourts suit her blend of aggression, defence, and heavy shot-making.
And in addition to her singles success at Melbourne Park, she’s enjoyed excellent results in doubles; partnering compatriot Roberta Vinci, she claimed the women’s doubles title in 2013. You can be assured that if – or when – Errani steps out onto Rod Laver Arena, she’ll have the experience and familiarity with her surrounds to feel comfortable on one of the sport’s biggest stages.
By registering for the AO Blitz and completing as many challenges as you can, you'll increase your chances of having Errani leverage that experience into a strong run for your town at Australian Open 2014.