Sport

After marrying Richmond's Ty Vickery, Arina Rodionova's sights set on ACT Claycourt International

She might not be getting married while trying to earn a wildcard for the Australian Open, but Russian-born tennis player Arina Rodionova is still busy – busy trying to get back in the top 200 in the world.

Rodionova is the seventh seed for in the ACT Claycourt International at the Canberra Tennis Centre, which starts on Tuesday, and will play Barbora Stefkova from the Czech Republic in the first round.

Arina Rodionova, here with husband and AFL footballer Ty Vickery, is the seventh seed in the ACT Claycourt International.
Arina Rodionova, here with husband and AFL footballer Ty Vickery, is the seventh seed in the ACT Claycourt International. Photo: Scott Barbour

She's also teaming up with tennis-pro-turned-cricketer-returned-tennis pro Ashleigh Barty in the doubles and will face Lizette Cabrera and Sally Peers in the first round on Tuesday.

In December, the 26-year-old was flat out getting married to AFL footballer Ty Vickery right in the middle of wildcard play-offs for the Aussie Open.

She played her semi-final on the Saturday morning before tying the knot with the Richmond ruckman later that day. Unfortunately, she lost the final on the Sunday.

The build-up to the ACT Claycourt might seem relaxed by comparison, but Rodionova said she was still busy – just in a different way.

Currently ranked 247th in the world, the naturalised Aussie wants to get back to where she was six years ago – in the top 200.

Rodionova has won eight ITF singles titles and 25 doubles titles, and she teamed up with sister Anastasia to make the quarter-finals of this year's Australian Open.

"The play-offs weren't my priority for the week, I didn't want to ruin my wedding to play a tennis match there the day after," she said.

"It was a busy December [with the wedding], but every month is busy for us. It's just different things. That time was wedding, now it's just travel and trying to study ... it's always a bit crazy."

Born in Tambov, Russia, AFL was literally a foreign game to Rodionova, but she now knows "most of the rules" and is part of the Tiger army.

She makes a point of watching Vickery's games no matter where she is in the world.

"I know all the rules now, I mean most of the rules. I follow Richmond, I don't really follow any other team, but I go to the game when I'm there and if not I'm watching live scores if I can't find where to watch it online," Rodionova said.

Barty, a three-time grand slam doubles finalist, is making a tennis comeback after spending the summer playing for the Heat in the incredibly popular WBBL.

While Rodionova might have enjoyed more success in doubles, her focus is on singles.

She's come to Canberra to try and win the ACT Claycourt and start to climb back up the international tennis rungs.

"My focus is on singles now, that's why I'm trying to get back into the top 200 and see where it takes me," she said.

ACT CLAYCOURT INTERNATIONAL

Tuesday: Play starts at the Canberra Tennis Centre at 10am. Entry is free.