Melbourne VIC, Australia, 5 December 2014 | Tennis Australia

South Australian Luke Saville and Victoria’s Anastasia Rodionova are expected to head the men’s and women’s fields at the Australian Open 2015 Play-off.

The event, staged on 15-21 December and the centrepiece of the December Showdown, gives the next generation of Australian players the chance to compete for a coveted wildcard into the first Grand Slam of the year.

Each year the December Showdown gathers the country’s best players at Melbourne Park to compete in the 12s, 14s, 16s and 18s national championships across 16 days of sizzling tennis action, featuring more than 1500 matches.

The 20-year-old Saville currently sits at a career high ranking of No.158 after qualifying for Wimbledon and scoring a first round win over promising top-40 player Dominic Thiem (AUT).

Townsville’s John-Patrick Smith (Qld) will be back to fight it out as will 2014 Australian Open play-off winner Jordan Thompson (NSW), alongside Alex Bolt (SA), Matt Ebden (WA) and Matt Reid (NSW).

Joining 187th-ranked Rodionova in the women’s field is Daria Gavrilova (Vic), Storm Sanders (WA) and Arina Rodionova (Vic), along with Jessica Moore (WA) and Alexandra Nancarrow (ACT) who have both enjoyed rankings rises following successful Australian Pro Tour seasons.

Tournament director Francis Soyer said he was anticipating a competitive couple of weeks of play at Melbourne Park.

“December Showdown is a fantastic experience for some of Australia’s emerging talent to get a feel for match conditions and what it takes to become a professional tennis player,” he said.

“The Australian Open Play-off continues to draw some of Australia’s best male and female players to play-off for the ultimate prize – direct entry into their home Grand Slam.

“The calibre of the 2014 field is strong and we wish the players the best of luck on their pursuit for tennis glory.”

Australian Open 2015 Play-off field

Women’s field  Men’s field 
WTA rank ATP rank
188 Anastasia Rodionova (Vic) 158 Luke Saville (SA)
232 Daria Gavrilova (Vic) 200 John-Patrick Smith (Qld)
263 Arina Rodionova (Vic) 201 Alex Bolt (SA)
344 Jessica Moore (WA) 236 Matthew Ebden (WA)
348 Storm Sanders (WA) 265 Matt Reid (NSW)
402 Alexandra Nancarrow (ACT) 268 Benjamin Mitchell (Qld)
489 Alison Bai (ACT) 274 Jordan Thompson (NSW)
572 Abbie Myers (NSW) 321 Dane Propoggia (NSW)
702 Naiktha Bains (Qld) 345 Maverick Banes (Qld)
747 Priscilla Hon (Qld) 447 Gavin Van Peperzeel (Qld)
804 Maddison Inglis (WA) 463 Andrew Whittington (Vic)
958 Kimberly Birrell (Qld) 571 Blake Mott (NSW)
959 Olivia Tjandramulia (Qld) 684* Greg Jones (NSW)
1168 Sara Tomic (Qld) 1043 Mark Polmans (Vic)
37 (ITF junior) Seone Mendez (NSW) 1425 Akira Santillan (Qld)
18s singles winner 18s singles winner

* indicates protected ranking

During the two-week period the December Showdown will also feature a number of new initiatives:

  • Dylan Alcott (Vic), world No.2 quad wheelchair tennis player, will attempt a 24-hour Tennis Challenge to raise money for the Starlight Foundation and Variety – the children’s charity at the National Tennis Centre from 7am Thursday 11 December to 7am Friday 12 December
  • The AO Tennis Blitz Win a Wildcard competition will see 11 pairs from around Australia travel to Melbourne Park to compete in the final for a coveted mixed doubles wildcard into Australian Open 2015. The final will take place on Sunday 11 December. For more information click here.
  • More than 1600 children will visit Melbourne Park over the next two weeks as part of the December Showdown Schools Experience. Children will have the chance to watch the tennis, enjoy a behind the scenes tour and an on-court experience as part of the ANZ Tennis Hot Shots program.