Exciting 15-year-old prospect Emerson Jones has fallen short of joining tennis greats such as Evonne Goolagong Cawley on the Australian Open junior honour roll after losing the girls’ final at Melbourne Park.
Jones, the daughter of Olympic medal-winning triathlete Loretta Harrop, went down 6-4, 6-1 to Slovakian top seed Renata Jamrichova on Saturday.
After winning her quarter-final and semi-final on a gruelling Friday schedule, Jones ran out of steam in the second set of the title match.
But the teenager was still chuffed to have earned the chance to play on Rod Laver Arena on women’s finals day.
“Thank you to everyone that supported me throughout the week,” Jones told the crowd.
“It was an amazing experience with the crowds and everything.
“And congratulations to Renata. You totally deserved it.”
Coached by David Taylor, the long-time former mentor to grand slam champion Samantha Stosur and other stars including Alicia Molik, Martina Hingis and Naomi Osaka, Jones is considered one of the next big things in Australian tennis.
Her mother won a silver medal at the Athens Olympics in 2004, and her 17-year-old brother Hayden made the quarter-finals of the boys’ Australian singles this week.