A solid year in which she has had five top 16 finishes on the WTA Tour means Marina Erakovic deserves her spot at the Olympic Games, Tennis New Zealand says.
The New Zealand Olympic Committee confirmed on Wednesday that it would select Erakovic, ending an agonising wait for the Aucklander.
Erakovic is ranked 45 in the world, high enough to gain automatic entry to the 64-player tournament, especially as countries are limited to a maximum of four players.
But the NZOC only wants players who have a demonstrated ability to make the top 16 and thought long and hard before selecting Erakovic.
Tennis NZ chief executive Steve Johns said Erakovic was ecstatic.
"Based on her ranking and the fact that she's beaten players from the top 16, she's demonstrated an ability that she can make the top 16, though obviously with tennis a lot of it comes down to the luck of the draw," he told NZ Newswire.
"She really wanted to play at the Olympics. It's the pinnacle of her career for her to play at the Olympics to represent New Zealand."
NZOC general secretary Kereyn Smith says Erakovic could be in the top 30 by the time the Olympic tennis field is finalised
"During the qualifying period she has beaten top 16 players on more than one occasion, including the number two player in the world (Victoria Azarenka)," she said.
"Her win-loss record on grass is very competitive and having the Olympic Games event on a Wimbledon grass tournament is also in her favour."
Erakovic has reached the last 16 of five WTA Tour Events in 2012. She lost in the final of the Memphis tournament, was a semifinalist in Budapest and reached the last 16 in Charleston, Bogota and Birmingham.
Smith said the process had tried the patience of Tennis New Zealand at times but the NZOC made no apologies for their approach.