Melbourne, Australia, 21 December 2012 |

Gaining entry into the year’s first Grand Slam is getting harder all the time, with just four discretionary Australian Open wildcards available to male and female players. These are typically reserved for local players who show outstanding promise, marked improvement or impressive form in the season preceding the tournament.

But that’s not always a given. Tournament organisers chose to award wildcards to Swiss Martina Hingis (in 2006) and Belgian Justine Henin (in 2010) when the female greats decided to make their comebacks to professional tennis during the Australian summer.

The moral of the story is that Australian Open discretionary wildcards are not to be expected. Those in the running display some worthy credentials, and there are plenty in the mix.

Visit to read the feature that takes a look at several contenders.