07 Jan 2013

Countdown to the Australian Open

News Article

Photo: Paul ZimmerNovak Djokovic (SRB)

The 2013 Australian Open gets underway in just a week’s time with the world’s top players heading to Melbourne for the first Grand Slam of the year.

Novak Djokovic is bidding to win his third consecutive Australian Open title but will face strong opposition in the form of 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer and Olympic gold medallist and US Open victor Andy Murray. Former champion Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from the event due to a stomach virus which hampered his recovery from a knee injury which has kept him off the tour since Wimbledon.

World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka lifted the women’s trophy in 2012 and will be looking to add to her Grand Slam tally at Melbourne Park. Other key contenders in the women’s event include world No. 2 and 15-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams, and Olympic silver medallist Maria Sharapova, both of whom are former Australian Open champions.

Ashleigh Barty (AUS), Bojana Bobusic (AUS), Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS), Caroline Garcia (FRA), Sacha Jones (AUS), Madison Keys (USA), Olivia Rogowska (AUS) and Zhang Yuxuan (CHN) have been announced as the women’s wild cards. The men’s wild cards are Wu Di (CHN), James Duckworth (AUS), John Millman (AUS), Benjamin Mitchell (AUS), Josselin Ouanna (FRA), Luke Saville (AUS), John-Patrick Smith (AUS), Rhynne Williams (USA)

Qualifying is being held this week with the main draw taking place from 14-27 January. For daily reviews and photographs visit www.itftennis.com.