World number one Novak Djokovic and Iga Swiatek headline their respective fields, featuring former winners Rafael Nadal and Naomi Osaka returning to tour-level action down under in January.
The ATP and WTA singles’ main draw entry lists for the 2024 Australian Open (direct entry) are locked in based on the player’s respective rankings, confirming the appearance of 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal, who returns to Melbourne Park using a protected ranking.
The 37-year-old comeback trail will start at the Brisbane International following a year away from court due to left hip surgery.
The warm-up tournament staged in Queensland will feature a highly competitive field ahead of the AO, including nine major champions.
Speaking about the first steps of what could be his last season in the sport, Nadal commented: “I have internalized what I have had throughout my life, which is to demand myself the maximum.”
“Right now, what I really hope is to be able not to do that, to accept things are going to be very difficult at the beginning, and give myself the necessary time.”
In addition, the first major of the 2024 season will see title defender Novak Djokovic chasing a record 11th men’s singles title, while World No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka is a woman on a mission of her own, looking to retain the crown, earning her second singles Slam in the process.
Sydney-born Alex de Minaur is the highest-ranked Australian player at World No. 12, playing on home soil.
The 24-year-old comes off the back of a breakthrough season which saw him claim his seventh ATP title, reaching the final in Toronto, Los Cabos, and London (Queen’s Club).
Meanwhile, the long-awaited return of Aussie star Nick Kyrgios to official tennis competition will have to wait a bit longer.
On Friday, the 28-year-old announced he will miss the AO for the second straight year as he recovers from a wrist injury.
“This is a very disappointing time for me, but I won’t be able to compete at the 2024 Australian Open,” the Canberra native confirmed through social media.
“Obviously, heartbreaking. I’ve had so many amazing memories there, and I just want to really get back to playing at the top of my game and doing it right, and I need a little more time.”
Throughout the 2023 season, Kyrgios played just one match due to a series of injuries.
The year before, the controversial player enjoyed a memorable campaign that set off at the AO, claiming the doubles title alongside countryman Thanasi Kokkinakis.
In singles, his peak performance came in London, progressing to his maiden career Slam championship match at Wimbledon, falling to top seed Djokovic.
Then, at the ATP 500 Mubadala Citi DC Open hard courts, held in August, he emerged victorious to lift his seventh career trophy in Washington.
Former champion Stan Wawrinka (2014) received direct entry into the singles draw, while two-time winner Nadal will make use of PR (protected ranking) to compete at the event.
World No. 21 Marin Cilic, Canadians Denis Shapovalov and Milos Raonic, American Reilly Opelka, World No. 80 Soonwoo Kwon, Czech player Jiri Vesely, and Hungarian Attila Balazs will compete in January using protected rankings.
On the women’s side, 2019-2021 former champion Naomi Osaka and three-time Grand Slam winner Angeline Kerber have entered the list with PR.
Furthermore, the AO organizers awarded main-draw wildcards to 2018 champion Caroline Wozniacki, who will play in Australia for the first time in four years.
“I have so many wonderful memories of Melbourne, and of course, winning the Australian Open is an all-time career highlight,” she outlined.
“I’m truly grateful to everyone for the wildcard and having the opportunity to compete again at the AO in January.”
In 2023, Wozniacki came back from retirement, playing in Montreal, Cincinnati, and the US Open, reaching the fourth round.
Next year, and for the first time in the tournament’s history, main-draw action will set off on a Sunday, running from January 14 to 28 at Melbourne Park.