Emotional Bolt advances at Australian Open wildcard playoff


“I still really don’t know what to think about it,” Bolt said minutes later.

“It really should be Motty here talking to you, not me.

“He was by far the better player out there today, but unfortunately he went down with a bit of an injury and couldn’t play on.

Blake Mott was in the lead when he was forced to retire through injury.Credit:AAP

“Me and him share the same coach [Peter Luczak], you know, we’ve been training together for the past six weeks, every day.

“It’s hard not to feel sorry for the guy.”

Mott had only returned to professional tennis in September after almost two years out of the game.

He had put together an impressive 14-2 record in that time and took confidence into the wildcard playoff tournament.

But his dream of reaching a first Australian Open main draw since 2017 is now in serious jeopardy.

Regardless of his injury status, Mott now needs to receive a reciprocal wildcard entry from Tennis Australia.

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Bolt, who reached the third round of the 2019 Australian Open as a wildcard entrant, was relieved to advance to the quarter-finals of the playoff tournament.

He and Mott battled away in energy-sapping heat as the temperature soared well above 30 degrees Celsius.

“It’s not just hot out there, it’s really swirly,” world No.160 Bolt said.

“The wind was going in every direction and it was really hard to get into a rhythm out there.

“I just hung around, served well and tried to compete as hard as I could.

“I’ll count my lucky stars tonight and then see if I can go a few further this year.”

AAP

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