Chris O’Connell: from washing boats to Aus Open main draw
Rising from outside the top 1000 to world No.119 in 2019, wildcard recipient Chris O'Connell is now preparing for a second Australian Open main draw appearance.
Sydneysider Chris O’Connell has been rewarded for his phenomenal 2019 season with a wildcard into the Australian Open.
O’Connell soared from outside the world’s top 1000 to the cusp of the top 100 after reaching 14 finals on the ITF Futures and Challenger tours last year, winning five titles.
After a career dogged by injury, the 25-year-old had been cleaning boats on Sydney’s Pittwater Harbour to make ends meet before chalking up an unrivalled 82 match wins last season.
“It’s the year I needed to have,” O’Connell told AAP after climbing from world No.1167 to his current standing of 117th.
O’Connell will be making his second main draw appearance at Melbourne Park this month, having also been awarded a wildcard in 2017 when he lost to eventual semifinalist Grigor Dimitrov in the first round.
O’Connell’s countryman Marc Polmans also received a wildcard into the men’s main draw on Thursday.
Australians Priscilla Hon, Astra Sharma and Lizette Cabrera were also granted wildcards into the women’s 128-strong draw.
In addition, locals Matt Ebden, Akira Santillan, Aleksander Vukic, Tristan Skoolkate, Rinky Hijikata, Harry Bourchier and AO under-19 boys’ champion Lorenzo Musetti earned wildcard entries to the men’s qualifying event starting on Tuesday.
Australians Ellen Perez, Jaimee Fourlis, Abbie Myers, Olivia Rogowska, Belinda Woolcock, Ivana Popovic, Storm Sanders and Olivia Tjandramulia were granted wildcards into women’s qualifying.