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Dominic Thiem to make AO return with wildcard


Former world No.3 and US Open 2020 champion Dominic Thiem, who missed last year’s Australian Open due to injury, will return to Melbourne Park in 2023 after being awarded a main-draw wildcard. 

Thiem, an AO finalist in 2020, receives a wildcard along with Americans Taylor Townsend and Christopher Eubanks, and French players Diane Parry and Luca Van Assche

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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, also 26, continues to flourish in her comeback to the tour as a mother. 

The talented left-hander fell outside the top 900 in April but has since returned to world No.133 and ended her season with a flourish by winning the ITF 80K event in Tyler, Texas.

Townsend, who won the AO 2012 girls’ singles title as a 15-year-old, also won the 100K tournament in Charleston, ultimately winning 23 of 31 matches in 2022.

Parry created a stir when she upset defending champion Barbora Krejcikova in the first round at Roland Garros in 2022, before a passionate crowd at Court Philippe Chatrier.

She went on to reach the third round in Paris, and the same stage at Wimbledon.

The 20-year-old, who plays with an elegant one-handed backhand, peaked at world No.58 in October after reaching three WTA quarterfinals and the semifinals in Granby.

Van Assche, a Roland Garros junior champion in 2021, 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.

The Frenchman closed his season with a first career ATP Challenger title in Maia, Portugal, a week after reaching the ATP Challenger final in Valencia. The rising 18-year-old is now set to make his Grand Slam main-draw debut. 

The remaining wildcards – two men’s and two women’s - will be announced next week.