Dominic Thiem headlines wildcards for the Australian Open men’s singles

Dominic Thiem celebrates

Former finalist Dominic Thiem will make his return to the Australian Open thanks to a wildcard into the men’s singles draw.

Thiem was still out of action when the 2022 edition of the Grand Slam went down.

The wrist problem that ended his 2021 season also saw him miss most of 2022 but he started to show signs of getting back to his best later on in the season.

Despite dropping out of the top 300 players in the world during the lowest point, Thiem has now charged back up the rankings to be World No 102 heading into the 2023 season.

An announcement from the Australian Open read: “Thiem has shown encouraging signs in his return to the tour after a wrist injury – sustained during the 2021 grass-court season – 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 semifinal runs at ATP events in Gstaad, Gijon and Antwerp – and notched multiple wins over top-20 players.

“His rapid ranking rise meant he only narrowly missed 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.

“In that 2020 final, he came within a set of winning the title before falling to Novak Djokovic in five sets.

“But that heartbreak later gave way to triumph when he broke through for his first Grand Slam title eight months later at the 2020 US Open.

“Townsend and Eubanks have also been awarded wildcards following impressive 2022 seasons.

“Eubanks rose to a career-high ranking of world No.120 in November after finishing the season with a succession of strong performances on the ATP Challenger circuit.

“Finals in Charlottesville and Knoxville, plus semifinals in Gwangju and Champaign, contributed to the 26-year-old’s 43-26 record in 2022.”

Townsend, who is also 26 and has rejoined the tour as a mother, is doing well.

The gifted left-hander dropped out of the top 900 in April, but she has since climbed back to world No. 133 and finished the season on a high note by taking first place in the ITF 80K competition in Tyler, Texas.

Former Roland Garros junior champion Van Assche, soared from outside the top 500 to a peak of world No.137 in December after winning 55 matches on the ITF Futures and ATP Challenger circuits.

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