Kimberly Birrell will face No.2 seed and reigning Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber in the third round.
Kimberly Birrell will face No.2 seed and reigning Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber in the third round.

New car first priority for suddenly flush Birrell

AUSSIE Kimberly Birrell is set for a financial windfall at the Australian Open and will repay her parents for the sacrifices they've made so she could follow her tennis dream.

The world No.240 will collect $155,000 - almost as much as she's earned in her entire career  - even if she  loses on Friday to Angelique Kerber in the third round.

Birrell, who stunned No.29 seed Donna Vekic to advance, y shares a "soccer mum car" with her mother, Ros, but is looking forward to owning her own wheels.

 

"It's a Ford Territory that's old," Birrell said.

"I've shared a car with my mum forever, ever since I got my licence. So I think she'll be pretty happy about that situation. It'll probably be the first thing I do.

"I have no idea (what to buy). A small car because I can't park. I need one with a reverse camera."

The 20-year-old will also use the money to help fund her own tennis career and take the pressure off her parents, who have been unwavering in their support of her dream.

"It will mean I can keep travelling and doing everything this year," Birrell said.

"My brother plays as well, so it's pretty tough for them having two kids that play an expensive sport.

"I think it will mean a lot.

"(Last) year I spent five months in a row travelling and the expenses really add up."

Birrell has had a racquet in her hand since she age four. She and brother Cade follow the family tradition.

Their parents have run a tennis centre at Southport for the past 11 years.

"My dad and mum both have grown up playing tennis and I spent a lot of time around tennis courts my whole entire life," Birrell said.

"I just love tennis. I feel at home when I'm on the court.

"I feel incredibly lucky to have this as my job and be able to do what I love every day."

Kimberly Birrell has proved a revelation over the Australian summer. Picture: Getty Images
Kimberly Birrell has proved a revelation over the Australian summer. Picture: Getty Images

Birrell calls the Gold Coast home and shares a special bond with her father, John, who is in Melbourne for her Australian Open campaign.

He was in the stands for the biggest win of her career on Wednesday, but lost for words when he saw his daughter after the match.

"He didn't say too much, he was a bit emotional," Birrell said.

"He gave me a really big hug and that speaks a thousand words.

"My dad is my best friend, so I'm pretty lucky to be able to share this with him."

It all hasn't been smooth sailing for the 20-year-old.

Kimberly Birrell was in great touch against Donna Vekic.
Kimberly Birrell was in great touch against Donna Vekic.

Birrell spent a year out of the game with a serious right elbow injury that required surgery when she was 17.

But she never lost faith in herself or her dream.

"It's elite sport and you're putting your body through a lot every single day, so these things happen," Birrell said.

"I learnt a lot from that experience. That was definitely a low moment in my life and in my career but there was light at the end of the tunnel.

"There were some tough days but I never had any doubt that I was going to be back playing again. I fought every day to be able to do so."

"I feel really lucky to be playing at this level again."

News Corp Australia


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