Second wave of Australian Open wildcards announced: Rodionova and Kokkinakis included
Tennis Australia unveiled eight new cards for the 2021 Australian Open. Among them: Andy Murray, Thanasi Kokkinakis and Arina Rodionova.
Men’s Main Draw Wildcards, 2021 Australia Open
Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS): He arrived on the main circuit at a very young age, at 18 years old, the Australian was the great hope of the country alongside Nick Kyrigos. 69th in the world in August 2015, a few months after his 19th birthday, the Australian is now at a standstill. Undermined by a body that seems to be breaking apart over and over. He is now ranked 260th in the world, but if he can overcome his physical problems, his talent can still take over. As in 2018, in Miami, when he won a prestigious victory over Roger Federer, 3-6 6-3 7-6.
Sumit Nagal (IND): At 23 years old, he is many peoples idea of the next generation of Indian tennis. Number 2 in his country, he is 136th in the world. This small 1.78m tall player has already played against some of the most imposing names on the circuit. Although he lost in three straight sets (6-3 6-3 6-2) to Dominic Thiem in the second round of the last US Open, he can be proud of the set he won against Roger Federer (4-6 6-1 6-2 6-4) in New York the year before, his first Grand Slam match.
Aleksandar Vukic (AUS): Australia’s number 10 and 196 on the ATP rankings, Aleksandar Vukic is about to play his second main draw Grand Slam. At last year’s French Open, he managed to get out of qualifying before losing to Pedro Martinez in the first round. He will be looking to win his first match in the main draw at a Grand Slam.
Andy Murray (GBR): The five time Australian open finalist has received a wildcard for the main draw of the Australian open where he is a firm fan favourite. Ranked 122nd in the world, Murray, now aged 33, hasn’t played since October but has confirmed his will to be a full time player again. He will look to the Delray Beach Open to establish some form before going into the Grand Slam.
Alex Bolt (AUS): At 27, Alex Bolt is a late bloomer. A two-time Challenger champion, the left-hander from Murray Bridge had the best performance of his career at the Australian Open in 2020. A wildcard entry last year too, he won against Jack Sock and Gilles Simon in five sets before falling to Alexander Zverev in the third round. Currently ranked 171st in the world, he is number 9 in Australia.
The other male wildcards so far:
- Marc Polmans (AUS)
- Christopher O’Connell (AUS)
Women’s Main Draw Wildcards, 2021 Australian Open
Arina Rodionova (AUS): The 31 year-old Australian is 169th in the WTA. Her best ranking was back in October 2017: 116th. Her three most successful performances have come at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2017, then at Roland Garros last year. Her two best performances of her career have been on grass. In 2011, in Birmingham, she dominated Kaia Kanepi; in 2017, in London, she defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. The Estonian and the Russian were both ranked 17th in the world.
Destanee Aiava (AUS): 147th in the world in September 2017, the young Australian is now 215th at the age of 20. Winner of the Junior Australian Open in 2016, she won her ticket for the main draw of the 2017 edition and thus became – men and women combined – the first person born in the 2000s to compete in a Major. In four duels against members of the top 10, she scored one victory. It came against Aryna Sabalenka (7-6 1-6 6-4), on grass, in the first round of ‘s-Hertogenbosch in 2019.
Wang Xiyu (CHN): At 19 years old, the young Chinese girl, 123rd in the world, is the 7th player in her country. In February 2020, she showed herself to the world by reaching the semi-finals of the Acapulco tournament. After qualifying for the 2019 US Open, she will play her second main draw Grand Slam thanks to the wild card issued by Tennis Australia. Her most impressive victory was a 6-3 6-4 win over Petra Martic, then 15th in the WTA rankings, in Hua Hin in February 2020.
The other female wildcards so far:
- Astra Sharma (AUS)
- Daria Gavrilova (AUS)
- Lizette Cabrera (AUS)
- Maddison Inglis (AUS)