Caroline Wozniacki gets Australian Open wildcard nod, but Emma Raducanu absent from initial list

Shahida Jacobs
Caroline Wozniacki Australian Open champion

Australian Open organisers have confirmed the first four players to be handed wildcards for next year’s tournament and, as expected, Caroline Wozniacki appears on the list, but Emma Raducanu’s name was missing.

Former world No 1 Wozniacki – a champion at Melbourne Park in 2018 – will make her first appearance at the season-opening Grand Slam in four years after she made a comeback to tennis in this year.

The Dane retired from the sport after the 2020 Australian Open, but returned to action in August and went on to reach the fourth round of the US Open.

Mother-of-two Wozniacki has always been a crowd favourite in Melbourne and her wildcard was no surprise.

The 33-year-old was joined on the list by Australians Kimberly Birrell, Olivia Gadecki and Taylah Preston.

“I have so many wonderful memories of Melbourne, and of course winning the Australian Open is an all-time career highlight,” the 33-year-old said on The AO Show podcast.

“Melbourne’s one of my most favourite cities in the world, and I can’t wait to share it with my family and my kids.

“It’s obviously a tournament I feel extremely comfortable at. I love the balls, I love the court, and I love the fans.

“And I hope that I get a nice welcome back when I see everyone there – and I’m sure I will; it really is a special place.

“I’m truly grateful to everyone for the wildcard and having the opportunity to compete again at the AO in January.”

Four wildcards still need to be awarded in the women’s draw and it remains to be seen if 2021 US Open champion Raducanu will get the nod when the next list of names are revealed.

Raducanu, whose last match was in April, has slipped outside the top 250 in the WTA Rankings after undergoing surgery on both her wrists and ankle.

Although the 21-year-old has a special ranking of 103 – which players can use if they are injured for a lengthy period – it is not good enough for a direct entry into the main draw as the cutoff is likely to be 99.

If Raducanu does not receive a wildcard then she will have to go through qualifying to play at Melbourne Park while late withdrawals from the main draw could also pave the way for an entry.

Three of the eight wildcards in the men’s draw were also handed out with Australians James Duckworth, Marc Polmans and Adam Walton gaining direct entry into the hard-court Grand Slam.

READ MORE: When will Emma Raducanu make her comeback and where will she be ranked?