“Rafa Nadal is currently doing rehab on his knee after withdrawing from the US Open. I’ve been in touch with him and he’s happy with how everything is progressing. Rafa is such an amazing champion I know everyone will be pleased to hear he’ll be returning in January.
“And of course we look forward to the return of our champion Roger Federer. After winning his 20th Grand Slam title here in January he can’t wait to return. He and his whole family love returning to Melbourne. I caught up with him recently at the Laver Cup and he’s also excited about seeing the new player areas.
“We have six Aussie men in the top 100, a bonus for local fans who love to come out and support the locals.
“This week Alex de Minaur has taken over the Australian No.1 men’s spot, and his fighting spirit has been on display all year. He’s scored some amazing and tenacious wins, and is the second youngest player in the top 100, having risen more than 200 spots in the rankings in the past year.
“John Millman’s incredible win over Roger Federer at the US Open inspired the nation. We’ve always known what a tremendous guy John is, and it was wonderful to see Australia embrace him and learn about his work ethic and courage, as well as meet his lovely family.
“Although he’s dipped in the rankings over the past few weeks, Nick Kyrgios continues to improve as he finds his feet on the year-round grind of the ATP Tour. He was a tremendous member of Team World during the Laver Cup and definitely draws inspiration from a team environment.
“Matt Ebden’s comeback from injury has been remarkable. His Wimbledon run to the third round was his best Grand Slam showing so far, and he’ll be keen to make his mark here in Melbourne.
“It was also good to see Bernard Tomic getting back on track during the Asia swing, winning his first ATP event for a number of years in Chengdu and returning to the top 100.
“And finally, it was inspirational to see Jason Kubler crack the top 100 for the first time, and win a round in New York before injuring his ankle. Again, Jason is one of those players who’s not a household name, but has worked incredibly hard for so many years and it was great to see him finally get some recognition. Jason is a former No.1 junior and at 16, after winning Junior Davis Cup for Australia, was being compared to Rafa Nadal. Surgery after surgery derailed his career and for a number of years he was only able to play on clay. It’s great to see him back, fit again, and I’m sure he’ll get a lot of support here in Melbourne.”