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Millman, Fourlis awarded Australian Open wildcards


John Millman and Jaimee Fourlis will compete at Australian Open 2023 after the Aussie duo were awarded main draw wildcards.

At different stages of their career, the two local players bolster Australia’s representation in the AO main draw to 14 competitors across the men’s and women’s singles events. 

Fan favourite Millman, a tour veteran at age 33, will compete in his sixth consecutive AO main draw, and ninth overall, when the tournament kicks off on 16 January.  

His best results at Melbourne Park are trips to the third round in 2016 and 2020; the latter run ended in five thrilling sets against Roger Federer under lights at Rod Laver Arena. 

Less than 18 months before that, Millman had beaten Federer en route to the 2018 US Open quarterfinals – his best-ever result at a Grand Slam tournament. 

The Queenslander has slipped to 147th in the rankings, but his relentlessly heavy, physical playing style and supreme fitness have carried him as high as world No.33.

READ MORE: Australian Open prize money hits record high 

He won his first career ATP title in Astana in 2020, reached another two finals in the two years before that, and owns nine career wins over top-20 players.  

“I’m extremely grateful to be given the opportunity to play at the Australian Open,” Millman said. “It’s a special place for me to return to, in front of my friends, family and the powerful Aussie crowd. I couldn’t be more excited.” 

Fourlis, meanwhile, returns to the main draw of the Australian Open for the first time in five years. 

Her reappearance follows a resurgent season during which she rose from outside the top 300 to a career-high ranking of world No.147. 

Her year started off brilliantly with a run to the AO 2022 mixed doubles final alongside Jason Kubler, something she said set the tone for the season that unfolded. 

She reached four ITF singles finals and won three, the biggest of those titles coming at the 60K event in Brasov, Romania. 

That performance in Brasov was the start of a 12-match, 24-set winning streak, boosting her ranking almost 100 places in just three weeks. 

It was a heartening breakthrough into the world’s top 150, given the 23-year-old from Melbourne underwent shoulder surgery which kept her off court for nearly 18 months, from early 2020 to mid 2021. 

Among Fourlis’ 50 match victories in 2022 were three rounds of qualifying wins to reach the main draw at Wimbledon. She won her first-round Australian Open main-draw match as a 17-year-old on debut in 2017. 

“I’m so thankful to Tennis Australia for the opportunity to play in the main draw of my home Slam,” Fourlis said. 

Asia-Pacific wildcards awarded

The final AO wildcards go to players from the Asia Pacific, Japan’s Moyuka Uchijima and Wu Yibing of China, both of whom will make their Australian Open main-draw debuts at Melbourne Park. 

Uchijima reached a career-high ranking of world No.104 in November after an impressive
2022 season during which she won more than 50 matches.  

The 21-year-old began the year ranked 349th but, thanks to three titles among five finals on the ITF circuit, verged on a top-100 debut. 

At tour level, Uchijima reached her first WTA quarterfinal in Monastir, Tunisia, and also came within one win of qualifying for the main draws at both Roland Garros and the US Open. 

“I would like to thank the Australian Open for giving me this amazing opportunity to play directly at the main draw of this year’s tournament,” Uchijima said.  

“I’m very thankful for this amazing opportunity and looking forward to playing at the special ‘Happy Slam’, the only Grand Slam held in the Asia-Pacific region. I will try my best!” 

Wu, meanwhile, excelled in the juniors, winning the 2017 US Open boys’ singles title and becoming a junior world No.1. 

Now, at 23 years of age, the emerging Chinese star is thriving at the professional level after missing almost three years of competition due to injuries. 

He went a sparkling 40-7 in 2022, reaching four Challenger finals (and winning three), and rising from a low of world No.1869 in March to a peak of No.113 in November. 

A highlight was a run to the third round of the 2022 US Open as a qualifier; it took world No.1 Daniil Medvedev to eventually end his 15-match winning streak.

Australian Open 2023 wildcards
John Millman (AUS) Jaimee Fourlis (AUS)
Alexei Popyrin (AUS) Storm Hunter (AUS)
Jason Kubler (AUS) Talia Gibson (AUS)
Rinky Hijikata (AUS) Olivia Gadecki (AUS)
Dominic Thiem (AUT) Venus Williams (USA)
Christopher Eubanks (USA) Taylor Townsend (USA)
Luca Van Assche (FRA) Diane Parry (FRA)
Wu Yibing (CHN) Moyuka Uchijima (JPN)