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LAST MONTH FOR AUSSIES TO BOOST AO CHANCES



There is just over a month left in the 2023 tennis season, with many players looking to make a final push into the Australian Open main draw and qualifying entry lists.


As always, Grand Slam entry lists are set six weeks out from the event, where 104 players are accepted directly based on their current or protected ranking – and a further 128 will begin from qualifying.


MENS OUTLOOK


There will be a minimum of thirteen Australian men in the 2024 Australian Open main draw after many have enjoyed brilliant 2023 seasons.


Eight have guaranteed a direct entry spot in Melbourne, while Nick Kyrgios (protected ranking due to injury) and at least four wildcards will join them.


Jason Kubler and James Duckworth could also acquire direct entry and a host of other Aussie men will have the opportunity to qualify.


Live ATP Rankings as of Tuesday, October 31: (subject to change)


The number in brackets denotes points still to drop off in 2023, from their current ranking.


#13 – Alex de Minaur (90)


Alex de Minaur will once again lead the Aussie charge in January and should receive a top-16 seed draw in Melbourne.


The 24-year-old will finish his season with Paris (Masters 1000) where he has started with a win over Andy Murray overnight and Metz (ATP 250), needing dream results to earn a maiden ATP Finals berth in Turin.


#39 – Alexei Popyrin (36)

#45 – Max Purcell (30)


Alexei Popyrin and Max Purcell – who have both enjoyed career best years on tour – were both defeated in Paris (Masters 1000) overnight. They will play Sofia (ATP 250) in a final attempt to earn a seed in Melbourne.


#51 – Aleks Vukic (130)

#55 – Jordan Thompson (0)

#65 – Christopher O’Connell (110)

#66 – Thanasi Kokkinakis (0)

#78 – Rinky Hijikata (0)


This group of five have all earned themselves direct entry after strong seasons, making it eight Australian men guaranteed a place in Melbourne’s main draw – the most in over a decade.


#94 – Jason Kubler (2)


Jason Kubler has not played a match since August, where he retired from his first round US Open clash after the opening set.


The 30-year-old is not currently entered into any tournaments for the remainder of the season – and if he does not compete – Kubler will land right on the cusp of direct entry for the 2024 Australian Open.


#111 – James Duckworth (30)


James Duckworth could still become the tenth or even eleventh Aussie male to earn direct main draw entry but will need to continue his current run of form.


Duckworth – who is on a ten-match win streak after a title in Playford – will finish his season with three more ATP Challenger events in a bid for direct Australian Open entry – but will likely receive a wildcard should he come up just short.


#172 – Marc Polmans (70)

#175 – Adam Walton (16)


Marc Polmans and Adam Walton will miss direct entry but would also expect two of Tennis Australia’s five main draw wildcards given their clear standings inside the ATP top 200.


The lowest ranked player to make the 2023 Australian Open men’s qualifying entry list came in at #235 – leaving a pack of Aussie men currently just outside.


#247 – Tristan Schoolkate

#258 – Dane Sweeny

#263 – Li Tu

#272 – James McCabe

#280 – Philip Sekulic

#289 – Bernard Tomic

#311 – Luke Saville


The entire group will finish their seasons with a series of ATP Challenger events across Sydney, Japan, and North America – needing a deep run or two to gain direct entry into qualifying.


Additionally, strong form to finish the year could be significant in securing a Tennis Australia qualifying wildcard – with the possibility of a main draw wildcard also being up for grabs.


WOMENS OUTLOOK


The outlook on the women’s side is vastly different, with zero Aussies currently sitting inside the WTA top 100.


Ajla Tomljanovic – currently ranked at world number 544 after playing just four singles matches all year – will utilise a protected ranking and likely be the only female direct entrant.


Live WTA Rankings as of Tuesday, October 31: (subject to change)


#112 – Kimberly Birrell


Kim Birrell will defend a semi-final this week is Sydney and would need a near-perfect finish to the season to get inside the top 100.


#131 – Olivia Gadecki

#134 – Astra Sharma


Gadecki – who has reached five singles finals in 2023 – and Sharma – having just won her second title of the season in Playford – will need to make up approximately 160 and 180 points respectively in the next month, to avoid requiring main draw wildcards.


#147 – Arina Rodionova

#171 – Storm Hunter

#201 – Daria Saville

#206 – Priscilla Hon

#210 – Jaimee Fourlis

#221 – Destanee Aiava


This group of six will at minimum receive direct entry into qualifying and will also be making their final case for a main draw wildcard over the next month.


#241 – Seone Mendez

#249 – Taylah Preston

#273 – Lizette Cabrera

#274 – Maddison Inglis

#292 – Talia Gibson


Despite a slightly lower ranking, 18-year-old Taylah Preston will also have a strong case for a main draw wildcard after a season which has seen her win three ITF titles and rise over 500 ranking places in the past six months.


Beyond Preston, the likes of Cabrera and Inglis will be vying for qualifying wildcards – eight of which Tennis Australia should have to distribute.

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