Brisbane wildcards for Aiava, Tomljanovic, Thompson, Ebden
Destanee Aiava will return to the site of her breakout WTA tournament, where she will be joined be fellow Aussie wildcards Ajla Tomljanovic, Jordan Thompson and Matt Ebden.
Rising star Destanee Aiava and her in-form compatriot Ajla Tomljanovic will compete in the main draw of the 2018 Brisbane International presented by Suncorp after being awarded wildcards.
The news follows yesterday’s announcement that Jordan Thompson and Matt Ebden will receive wildcards into the concurrent men’s event in Brisbane.
Aiava was a breakthrough talent in Brisbane last year, qualifying for the main draw before registering her first WTA victory in the first round by beating fellow qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands in three sets.
Since then, Aiava’s star has continued to rise, culminating in her call-up to Australia’s Fed Cup squad in April. The 17-year-old is currently ranked 154th in the world, having started the 2017 season as the world No.386 – a sure sign of her rapid progress.
Last week, Aiava defeated Tammi Patterson in the final of the Australian Open play-off, earning her a second consecutive Grand Slam appearance at the 2018 Australian Open, where she debuted as the youngest player in the main draw earlier this year.
“I’m excited to get back to Brisbane, it’s a great opportunity for me to progress my career and I’d like to thank Tennis Australia for giving me the wildcard,” said Aiava.
“I’ll always remember my first win on the WTA in Brisbane, and hopefully I can go even further in the tournament this time.”
Tomljanovic has also enjoyed a stellar season, having recovered from the shoulder injury which hampered much of her 2016 campaign.
The 24-year-old ended 2016 as the world No.930, and has since leapt 812 places to world No.118 after a season that saw her reach the third round in Miami, the second round at the US Open and two ITF finals.
“I’m obviously really happy to get the wildcard,” said Tomljanovic.
“I’ve done a few pre-seasons in Brisbane, I love it here and I’m really looking forward to the tournament. It’s a great way for me to start the season, and the way I played this year I’m really excited about what 2018 may bring.
“I’d love to get into the top 100 by March 2018, and getting off to a good start in Brisbane will help me achieve that. But the main goal is to stay healthy, I’m feeling good right now and hopefully that continues.”
Davis Cup hero Jordan Thompson and his fellow Australian Matthew Ebden have both been awarded main draw wildcards for the 2018 Brisbane International presented by Suncorp.
Thompson made his mark on last year’s Brisbane International with a run to the quarterfinals, while the in-form Ebden, who secured two titles on the ATP Challenger Tour last month, will be making his sixth appearance in the tournament.
In the 2017 Brisbane International, Thompson fully justified the decision to award him a wildcard by beating David Ferrer in the round of 16, before falling to Kei Nishikori at the quarterfinal stage.
However, he rebounded from that defeat to win the men’s doubles in partnership with Thanasi Kokkinakis, beating Sam Querrey and Gilles Muller in straight sets in the final.
Three months later, Thompson returned to Queensland Tennis Centre as part of Australia’s Davis Cup team, and took the notable scalp of Jack Sock in the opening singles rubber to set the home team on the path to victory.
“Last year’s Brisbane International was definitely one of the highlights of my career, beating David Ferrer in the singles was probably the biggest win of my career at that point, and winning the doubles with Thanasi capped a great week for me,” Thompson said.
“So I’m excited to get back to Brisbane, and I’d like to thank TA for giving me this opportunity.”
Ebden, meanwhile, will be aiming to continue his hot streak after his victories on the ATP Challenger Tour at the Dunlop Srixon World Challenge, in Japan, and the Apis Canberra International.
Those victories came three months after the 30-year-old came close to making his breakthrough on the ATP Tour in the Dell Technologies Hall of Fame Open, where he lost in the final to John Isner.
Ebden’s best performance in the Brisbane International came in 2011, when he lost in the round of 16 to Robin Soderling.
“The Brisbane International has been one of my favourite events to play in, so I’m really excited to start my year there again,” Ebden said.
“I feel like I found a high level, especially during the second half of the year, so I’m working hard to continue and improve upon that in the new year, starting with Brisbane.”
Ebden and Thompson complete the wildcards for the men’s draw, with fellow Australian John Millman having recently been announced as the first recipient of a wildcard.
Brisbane International tickets are on sale now via Ticketek.
For all tournament information please visit brisbaneinternational.com.au.