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Kiwi Aussie Jones bows out in Open
Sam Lienert
14:20 AEST Mon Jan 14 2013

The "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie" chants felt weird for New Zealand defector Sacha Jones but the chance to experience her first grand slam main draw match reinforced the worth of her switch of countries.

The 22-year-old Auckland-born adopted Australian fell 6-3 6-2 to Czech Kristyna Pliskova in just 73 minutes on an outside court on day one of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Monday.

The world No.183's performance was hampered by a limited preparation, after spending the past three months battling a serious wrist tendon injury.

"There was a point where I wasn't even sure when I'd be able to play tennis again or if I'd be able to play, so I'm just thankful that I'm actually able to play tennis again," Jones said.

Her Open entry came through a wildcard, which wouldn't have been granted had she not become an Australian a year ago.

Jones, whose father is Australian-born, said while the move came with several other career benefits including access to Tennis Australia coaching staff, it wasn't purely for professional reasons.

But she betrayed her mixed loyalties when asked if she planned to return in the future to the Auckland Classic - her last tournament as a New Zealander last January - by repeatedly referring to that city as "home".

"I went in to the Classic a couple of times whilst I was home," Jones said.

"Everyone's really nice and friendly to me still so it's lucky.

"I feel sort of torn in the middle sometimes."

She said friends and family in NZ understood her move.

"They all understand that, if I want to play tennis to the best of my ability, I needed to put myself first in some ways," Jones said.

"As much as I miss New Zealand and I still spend a lot of time there, it's really been a good move for myself and my career."


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