Melbourne VIC, Australia, 21 December 2016 |

Christmas has come early for big-serving Victorian Sam Groth, who was today awarded a wildcard into Australian Open 2017.

The 2015 Newcombe Medal winner reached a career high of world No.53 in August last year but dropped down the rankings following injury issues over the past 12 months.

Groth returned to Melbourne Park last week for the AO Play-off, competing fiercely in two five-set thrillers, and although losing in the quarterfinals, feels confident he’s now finding his form.

“I felt it was a bit of a struggle coming into 2016, I was definitely a bit underdone after foot surgery at the end of 2015 and I came into the Aussie summer without going through a full pre-season training block,” Groth said today.

“The end of year has gone pretty well, and I finished the year winning the Challenger in Vegas. I’ve also been able to go through a full training block and feel as though I’m definitely finding my form and confidence.

“I’m really excited, and grateful to Tennis Australia, for a wildcard into the Australian Open, it’s my favourite event. I’ve always loved playing on the big stage, in front of so many family, friends and supportive Aussie fans,” Groth said.

Tennis Australia Managing Director, Performance, Wally Masur agrees Groth is back on track for success in 2017.

“After surgery in late 2015, and a tough start to this year, Sam is fighting his way back to his best form.

“Throughout, he’s been great for Australia in Davis Cup, he is a real team man. This wildcard is a reward for his efforts, and with a good pre-season under his belt let’s hope he can take advantage of the opportunity,” Masur said.