Ballarat has thrown its support behind Zoe Hives as she prepares to play the world number five on her Wimbledon debut.
The Kingston star, ranked 572nd, will take on Greek superstar Maria Sakkari in the first round of the main draw on the No.2 Court at 1:15am on Tuesday morning (AEDT).
"I just told her to soak it up and enjoy it, that's all you can do," Hives' father Neil told The Courier.
"The excitement that comes with achieving this and just getting into the main draw is something to be commended.
"(Her mum) Jan and I, we're just so proud of the way she's gone about it and the person's she's grown into."
Hives, 25, reached the main draw after her third round opponent was unable to take to the court.
She beat Romanian Gabriel Lee in straight sets in the first round of qualifying before backing it up against American Sachia Vickery, 6-0, 6-3.
"She was playing some awesome tennis in those two matches," Neil Hives said.
"Even that third-round match-up was fine for her. There were no fears for her, and she wasn't going in thinking it would be a fluke if she got over the line."
Hives' former junior coach Peter Joyce said the former Mount Clear College student was an inspiration for the next generation of tennis players.
"There's not too many kids from regional Australia that get to the level of Wimbledon. It's pretty amazing what she's achieved," he said.
Sakkari, 26, reached the fourth round of the Australian Open earlier this year and made the semi finals of the French Open and the US Open in 2021.
The Greek progressed to the semi finals of last week's grass-court German Open, bowing out to 17th ranked Belinda Bencic, 7-6, 4-6, 4-6.
Of the players in this year's Wimbledon draw, Sakkari has hit the second-most aces on tour this year (144).
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