The Australian Open handed out some nice Christmas presents for six Australian tennis players.
On 24 December they announced that Christopher O’Connell (NSW) and Marc Polmans (Vic) have been awarded wildcards into the men’s draw, along with Daria Gavrilova (Vic), Astra Sharma (WA), Maddison Inglis (WA) and Lizette Cabrera (Qld) in the women’s draw.
There are still more wildcards to be awarded leading up to the tournament.
“While 2020 has been an incredibly challenging year, we’re proud of the strength and resilience this group of players has shown during this difficult time,” Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said today.
“Chris, Marc, Dasha, Astra, Maddy and Lizette have all inspired us with their efforts both on and off the court, here at home and in unprecedented conditions overseas. We are excited to give them the opportunity to compete at Australian Open 2021.
“The Grand Slams are the pinnacle of our sport and the chance to play at home is an experience we know these deserving players will cherish,” Tiley continued.
Christopher O’Connell is the world no. 120 and has a career high of no. 111. He will be competing at the Australian Open for the third time. He will be hoping for a kinder draw in 2021 after having face world no. 15 Grigor Dimitrov in 2017 and world no. 16 Andrey Rublev in 2020.
Marc Polmans will be competing in his third Australian Open singles event. In 2019 he lost in five sets to Denis Kudla after leading 2-0. In 2020 he claimed his first main draw win at a grand slam after defeating Mikhail Kukushkin in five sets after again leading 2-0.
Polmans also played at the 2020 US Open and French Open. At Roland Garros he had a good win over world no. 38 Ugo Humbert in the opening round after going through qualifying.
Polmans is currently ranked at no. 124 and has a career high ranking of no. 116.
Daria Gavrilova is currently ranked at world no. 450 as she makes a comeback from injury. She was ranked at no. 20 back in August 2017.
Gavrilova reached the R16 at the Australian Open in 2016 and 2017.
Astra Sharma will be playing in her third Aussie Open in the singles draw. She has been successful in mixed doubles, making the final in 2019 and the semis back in January of this year teaming up with John-Patrick Smith.
Sharma is currently ranked at no. 129 after reaching a career-high ranking of no. 85 back on June 24, 2019.
Maddison Inglis will be taking part in her second Australian Open after a first round loss in 2016 after she had earned a wildcard after winning the playoff tournament against Arina Rodionova in December 2015.
Inglis is currently ranked at no. 130 and has a career-high of no. 112 back in March of this year. She competed at the US Open and French Open in 2020 losing first round at both.
Lizette Cabrera is ranked at no. 140 and has been as high as no. 119 on February 3, 2020. She will be competing at her fourth Australian Open and her sixth grand slam singles tournament. She is currently at 0-5 after two first round losses at the 2018 and 2020 US Open.