In a months time tennis will be back in Melbourne. Home of the Australian Open, year on the year the event gets better and better.
I was lucky enough to be there in January this year and they take hosting a Grand Slam to another level. Not only is the site beautiful to look at but there is soo much on offer to do and the access across the site is fantastic.
From the viewing platform of the practice courts, AO ball park for kids and families, AO Live Stage which welcomes big artists from Australia and the UK, Grand Slam area with a variety of food and drink on offer and access to multiple areas to watch tennis.
Bigger and better, it certainly is. As ever they listen to what the fans want and for 2020 froze the ticket prices and have made improvements to the ground adding shade onto court three as requested by fans.
Image credit – Australian Open
Now, to the tennis!
Two time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka will not be at the Australian Open. On the entrants list it was noted she had not entered despite her ranking giving her a place.
It is unknown as to why the Belarusian will not be attending the first major of the year but it has been stated as ‘personal reasons’. It is expected Vika will return to action at the end of February in Acapulco.
It is understood that Vika doesn’t have a coach at the moment and of course her doubles pairing with Ash Barty came to an end a few months back. Vika has however been training with the Patrick Mouratoglou training camp in Florida alongside Chris Eubanks, Serena Williams, Coco Gauff and Holger Rune.
Nothing official has been announced but Andy Murray will be in the main draw judging by their tweets.
Murray’s current ranking of 126 in the world would enter him for the qualifying down at Melbourne Park but it is expected a wildcard for the main draw is on the cards.
Maria Sharapova is in a similar boat. The Russian is outside the top 130 so would be in for qualifying but you would expect a wildcard for Maria. Maria is currently out in Abu Dhabi as she bids to find full fitness ahead of the 2020 season.
The first set of wildcards include;
More wildcards expected to be announced in the new year.
Who’s in? Who’s out?
Alexandr Dolgopolov has pulled out and has been replaced with Lloyd Harris. Withdrawals of Victoria Azarenka (personal reasons) and Monica Puig (arm surgery) means that Camila Giorgi and Kaia Kanepi are into the main draw.
Using a protected ranking to enter the main draw are;
Juan Martin Del Potro
Anna Karolina Schmiedlova
Great Britain’s Heather Watson is two withdrawals away from a place in the main draw otherwise will have to go through qualifying.