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West Australian rocket-man Matt Ebden taking off in tennis world By GLEN FOREMAN From: The Sunday Times March 27, 2010 8:48PM Increase Text SizeDecrease Text SizePrintEmail Share
Add to DiggAdd to del.icio.usAdd to FacebookAdd to KwoffAdd to MyspaceAdd to NewsvineWhat are these? ROCKET MAN: West Australian Matthew Ebden is continuing his rise up the world tennis ranks. Picture: Paul Crock/AFP Source: PerthNow
WA tennis revelation Matthew Ebden inhaled the helium-like properties of his Australian Open grand slam debut in January and continued rising, rocketing up the world rankings to sit as the nation's fourth-best player.
The rise comes after Ebden received his maiden Davis Cup call-up late last month when he was named as reserve for Australia's winning tie against Chinese Taipei.
He trained alongside team-mates Bernard Tomic, Peter Luczak, Carsten Ball and Paul Hanley at Melbourne Park before heading to Japan, where he put his new-found experience into practice to reach his first Challenger-level final a few weeks later.
The effort, coupled with other strong results, lifted the right-hander 51 positions up the world rankings in the past month and followed his Australian Open main draw debut against Gael Monfils.
Ebden was far from a walkover against the then-world No.12 Monfils, forcing the Frenchman to play out a gutsy 6-4 6-4 match.
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But despite a successful 2010 that has included a straight-sets dumping of top 30 Austrian Jurgen Melzer, Ebden remained grounded.
"Top four is great, but I'm only 180-something in the world," No.185 Ebden said.
"Heading into the top 100, top 50 in the world would be better and that's really where you want to get to.
"Ask me (how I feel) then."
The ranking is nothing to shy away from and allows Ebden direct entry into the grand slam qualifiers.
But that's not enough for the overachiever who recorded a TER of 98.50.
Ebden wants more and he's preparing to get it by heading off-shore for a rigorous French Open leadup which includes tournaments in South Africa, Greece and France.
"I've had rankings goals each year and I've been able to reach them," Ebden said. "My goal last year was to be ranked high enough to get entry into all the slam quallies.
"Now, with my ranking high enough, three or four good results from here and I could be top 100.
"But a big goal, and one I'm aiming for, is to get direct entry into the US Open main draw."