Six Aussies receive Australian Open 2024 main-draw singles wildcards
Australian Kimberly Birrell is among the first batch of main-draw singles wildcard recipients for Australian Open 2024.
Six Australians players have been awarded coveted main-draw singles wildcards for Australian Open 2024.
Kimberly Birrell, Olivia Gadecki and Taylah Preston will compete in the women’s singles competition, with James Duckworth, Marc Polmans and Adam Walton receiving wildcards into the men’s singles draw.
Former world No.1 and Australian Open 2018 champion Caroline Wozniacki has also been handed a wildcard. The Danish star recently returned to the tour after having two children.
After recovering from a career-threatening elbow injury, Birrell made a heart-warming top-100 debut in 2023.
The 25-year-old from the Gold Coast is now excited to return to a tournament that has delivered her plenty of success.
Birrell made a career-best third-round run at AO 2019, then upset world No.29 Kaia Kanepi at AO 2023 to record her first Grand Slam main-draw win in four years.
“It’s a huge honour to receive a main-draw wildcard,” said Birrell, who is set to make her fifth main-draw appearance at Melbourne Park.
“There’s no better feeling as an Australian than playing at Melbourne Park at our home Grand Slam. I’m so grateful for the opportunity and hope I can make everyone proud during the summer of tennis.”
Gadecki was a breakout star at AO 2023, scoring her first Grand Slam main-draw singles victory on debut.
The 21-year-old also qualified at the US Open during 2023, contested six ITF finals and currently sits at a career-high ranking of world No.127.
“So grateful for the opportunity that Tennis Australia has given me,” said the Gold Coast talent. “I can’t wait to kick start the year playing in front of a home crowd.”
Preston, a rising 18-year-old from Perth, will make her Grand Slam main-draw debut at Melbourne Park this summer.
The powerful ball-striker is currently ranked a career-high world No.202, having soared more than 600 positions in the past eight months.
“I’ve dreamed of playing the Australian Open since I first started playing tennis so to be given this opportunity is amazing and I am extremely grateful and excited,” said Preston, a winner of four ITF singles titles in 2023.
“I’m working hard on and off the court to prepare and I can’t wait to get out on court and play.”
|Australian Open 2024
Main-draw singles wildcard recipients
|James Duckworth (AUS)
|Kimberly Birrell (AUS)
|Marc Polmans (AUS)
|Olivia Gadecki (AUS)
|Adam Walton (AUS)
|Taylah Preston (AUS)
|Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)
Walton, a 24-year-old from Brisbane, is also set to make his Grand Slam main-draw debut.
The US college graduate broke into the world’s top 200 in his first full season on tour, peaking at No.174 in October.
Polmans has been rewarded for his promising progress in 2023, which saw him halve his ranking after returning from ankle surgery.
“After being off the tour for most of 2022, I have pushed really hard to get back on track in 2023,” Polmans said.
“This wildcard into the Aus Open is the perfect start for 2024. Thank you Tennis Australia for the opportunity and I intend to take full advantage of it.”
Duckworth rose to a career-high world No.46 in early 2022, before hip surgery stalled his progress.
The 31-year-old finished the 2023 season strongly, winning back-to-back ATP Challenger titles for the first time in his career to verge on a top-100 return.
“I’m very excited to be back playing the Australian Open again,” said the world No.116, who will be making his 11th main-draw appearance at Melbourne Park.
“It’s my favourite tournament of the year. I have so many great memories playing in Melbourne. I felt like I was starting to gain some momentum towards the end of the year, and I’m looking forward to building on that for the Australian summer.”
The remaining wildcard recipients will be announced ahead of the tournament, which runs from 14 – 28 January.
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