MELBOURNE (Australia): Former champions Naomi Osaka, Angelique Kerber and Caroline Wozniacki are ready to make their comebacks from maternity leave as the 2024 Australian Open entry list and the first tranche of wild cards have been announced.
Both 2019 champion Osaka and 2016 champion Kerber entered via special rankings of No.46 and No.31, respectively.
Former World No.1s are two of seven players who have been granted direct entry into the first Grand Slam main draw of 2024 with a special ranking. Jennifer Brady, Ajla Tomljanovic, Shelby Rogers, Amanda Anisimova, and Caty McNally are the other five.
Four of the eight wild cards have also been announced, with 2018 winner Wozniacki leading the way. After only three tournaments, the Dane launched her comeback in August, reaching the fourth round of the US Open and moving to No.242 in the world. Kimberly Birrell, Olivia Gadecki, and Taylah Preston are the recipients of three more wild cards.
The main draw will feature six past Australian Open champions. In addition to Osaka, Kerber, and Wozniacki, the field will include 2020 champion Sofia Kenin, 2012-13 champion Victoria Azarenka, and defending champion Aryna Sabalenka. World No. 1 Iga Swiatek, Coco Gauff, Elena Rybakina, Marketa Vondrousova, Barbora Krejcikova, Jelena Ostapenko, Petra Kvitova, and Sloane Stephens are all on the entrance list.
No.99-ranked Claire Liu has received a final direct entry into the main draw.
Meanwhile, Emma Raducanu and Amanda Anisimova will kickstart their comebacks at next month’s ASB Classic, which begins on January 1.
Raducanu, the former US Open champion, has not competed since April, when he underwent three ankle and wrist surgeries. The 21-year-old British player made her Auckland debut this year, but was forced to withdraw due to an ankle injury in the second round against Viktoria Hruncakova. (ANI)