Former world No.3 and 2020 US Open champion Dominic Thiem has joined 42-year-old Venus Williams in getting wildcard entry in to the Australian Open.
But among the latest list of five players given places for the first grand slam of 2023, including two French players, bad boy Bernard Tomic remains ignored by tournament officials.
Tomic, currently ranked 462 in the world,has jumped more than 350 places on the back of three ITF titles in the past three months. The ITF tour is the lowest rung of the men’s professional tennis ladder.
The final two wildcards, two men and two women, will be handed out next week but should he miss again, Tomic could be headed back to Australian Open qualifying, where he lost in the opening round in 2022
Tomic, now 30, has played in just two Australian opens since 2017.
Thiem, an Australian Open finalist in 2020 who went on to seize his only grand slam title at the US Open later that year, returns after missing last year’s event due to a wrist injury which sidelined him for nine months.
In the second half of 2022, the Austrian rose from outside the top 350 to world No.102. He won 22 of his last 33 matches – including semi-final runs at ATP events – only narrowly missing directly qualifying for the main draw of AO 2023.
Thiem owns a career win-loss record of 19-8 at the Australian Open, reaching the second week in 2017, 2018 and 2021 in addition to his runner-up finish in 2020 where he lost to Novak Djokovic in five sets.
Americans Taylor Townsend and Christopher Eubanks, and French players Diane Parry and Luca Van Assche were the other players awarded wildcards.
Six other Australians – Alexei Popyrin, Jason Kubler, Rinky Hijikata, Storm Hunter, Talia Gibson and Olivia Gadecki has already been given wildcards, along with Williams.