Birrell, Kokkinakis awarded Roland Garros 2023 wildcards
Kimberly Birrell and Thanasi Kokkinakis have received main-draw singles wildcards for the next Grand Slam tournament of the season.
Kimberly Birrell and Thanasi Kokkinakis have been awarded main-draw singles wildcards into Roland Garros.
Birrell, who currently sits at a career-high ranking of world No.111, is set to make her main-draw debut at the clay-court Grand Slam.
The 25-year-old is in career-best form, winning 20 of her 32 matches so far this season. She has recorded six top-100 wins, including a stunning first-round victory over world No.29 Kaia Kanepi at the Australian Open, and claimed an ITF 80 title in America in February.
A first WTA-level singles quarterfinal appearance at Merida and qualifying for a WTA 1000 tournament at Indian Wells have also provided season highlights.
“I’m so excited to be playing main draw of Roland Garros this year. It’s an honour to receive the wildcard, and I can’t wait to be out there competing and playing my heart out on one of the world’s biggest stages,” Birrell said.
“I’m proud of the hard work I’ve put in and the progress I’ve made, especially over the last few months, and I’m feeling confident that I can produce my best tennis against the best players in the world.
“This will be my first time playing in the main draw of a Grand Slam outside of Australia, so I’m really looking forward to it and couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity.”
Kokkinakis is in equally impressive form, with 23 wins from 34 matches so far in 2023.
The 27-year-old recorded his first top-10 win in more than four years in January, beating world No.6 Andrey Rublev in Adelaide.
The world No.104 also claimed an ATP Challenger title at Bahrain in February and has recorded six wins from his nine matches on European clay in recent weeks.
This will be Kokkinakis’ fourth main-draw appearance in Paris. His best result is a third-round run in his 2015 debut.
“It feels great to be back on the clay, I feel like I’m playing well at the moment, and have some great memories playing at the French,” Kokkinakis said.
“I really appreciate getting the wildcard and can’t wait to compete in Paris again. I’ve had a few solid wins on the clay recently, so I hope I can build on that momentum and get some good results.”
Kokkinakis is one of eight men entered in the Roland Garros main draw, alongside Alex de Minaur, Nick Kyrgios, Jason Kubler, Alexei Popyrin, Chris O’Connell, Jordan Thompson and Max Purcell.
Birrell joins fellow Aussie Ajla Tomljanovic in the women’s main draw.
A further 11 Aussies are set to compete in the qualifying competition, which begins on Monday 22 May.
Five Australians will play in the junior competition, while world No.4 Heath Davidson will represent Australia in the quad wheelchair event.
“Both Kim and Thanasi have been awarded wildcards based on their recent performances,” Tennis Australia Chief Tennis and Strategy Officer Tim Jolley said.
“Kim has worked incredibly hard to reach a career-high ranking after being out of the sport 18 months ago with an elbow injury, and Thanasi is just outside the top 100, with his hard work paying off. As well as an impressive win-loss record this year, he’s had a few big wins over higher-ranked opponents in recent months and is hitting his form on the European clay.
“We wish all of our players competing in Paris in singles across qualifying, main draw, wheelchair and juniors, the very best of luck.”
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