AUSTRALIAN OPEN NEWS – Saville, Kubler, McCabe among latest AO wildcards

Australians Daria Saville, Jason Kubler and James McCabe are among nine players awarded the latest wildcards into the Australian Open 2024 main draw.

Saville, a former top-20 player making her way back from a serious knee injury, reached the fourth round at the Australian Open in both 2016 and 2017.

Daria Saville (Image - Tennis Australia)
Daria Saville (Image – Tennis Australia)

Since returning to the tour in June 2023, the popular Aussie has improved her ranking from a low of world No.322 (during the US Open) to her current position of 209th. 

Saville began the year with a strong opening-round win at the WTA Brisbane International before bowing out in three tight sets to 11th seed Anastasia Potapova.

Kubler also appeared in Brisbane, where he won over Aslan Karatsev to reach the round of 16 before falling to a resurgent Rafael Nadal.

Currently ranked world No.102 in singles, Kubler is the reigning Australian Open men’s doubles champion alongside Rinky Hijikata.

McCabe, a 20-year-old Sydneysider who improved his ranking by more than 100 places in 2023, will make his Grand Slam debut.

The world No.272 came extremely close to upsetting Dominic Thiem in the opening round of Brisbane qualifying before the world No.3 recovered to win in three sets. 

Saville, Kubler and McCabe join compatriots Kimberly BirrellOlivia GadeckiTaylah PrestonJames DuckworthMarc Polmans and Adam Walton as wildcard recipients. 

This bolsters the number of Australian players in the AO main draw to 18 – 13 men and five women.

Chinese rising star Shang Juncheng, who made a spectacular Grand Slam debut at AO 2023, is also among the wildcard recipients.

Nicknamed ‘Jerry’, 18-year-old Shang was given the men’s Asia-Pacific wildcard. The women’s Asia-Pacific wildcard was awarded to Japan’s Mai Hontama.

French reciprocal wildcards go to AO 2022 quarterfinalist Alize Cornet and 21-year-old Arthur Cazaux while US wildcard recipients are Patrick Kypson and McCartney Kessler.

Shang, meanwhile, became the youngest player in the Australian Open main draw last year after winning three rounds of qualifying as a 17-year-old. He then upstaged Oscar Otte to become the first Chinese man to win an AO main-draw match in Open era history. He went on to peak at a career-high ranking of world No.149 in July.

Hontama also hit a career-high ranking in 2023 (world No.117) and ending the season at No.124, a huge improvement on her 2022 year-end ranking of No.212. 

The 24-year-old Japanese won 50 matches in 2023, closing the season strongly on the ITF circuit.

French veteran Cornet will contest her 19th consecutive Australian Open after debuting in the main draw as a 15-year-old in 2006. 

All 16 Australian Open 2024 wildcards have now been announced, and are as follows:

Men’s Singles Main Draw Women’s Singles Main Draw  
1 James Duckworth (AUS) 1 Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)
2 Marc Polmans (AUS) 2 Kimberly Birrell (AUS)
3 Adam Walton (AUS) 3 Olivia Gadecki (AUS)
4 Jason Kubler (AUS) 4 Taylah Preston (AUS)
5 James McCabe (AUS) 5 Daria Saville (AUS)
6 Juncheng ‘Jerry’ Shang (Asia Pacific) 6 Mai Hontama (Asia Pacific)
7 Patrick Kypson (US Exchange) 7 McCartney Kessler (US Exchange)
8 Arthur Cazaux (RG exchange) 8 Alize Corner (US Exchange)

Australian Open 2024, supported by major partner Kia in association with Emirates, Luzhou Laojiao and Rolex, will take place at Melbourne Park from 14-28 January 2024.

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