“It’s always special to see our defending champions – Caroline (Wozniacki) had her first Grand Slam win here last year so will be keen to start 2019 on a high. And of course Roger Federer has special memories of Melbourne, having won here six times, something only Novak (Djokovic) and Roy Emerson have done in the past.
“On the women’s side we’ve seen a number of new champions in 2018. Naomi Osaka started her path to Grand Slam glory right here in Melbourne, reaching the fourth round, and building to win the US Open. And after making the final here it was wonderful to see Simona (Halep) win at Roland Garros, and our own 2016 champion Angie Kerber win at Wimbledon.
“After an incredible end-of-season run this year Novak will be full of confidence. He’s a fan favourite here and loves the conditions in Melbourne. I’ve been in touch with Rafa and he’s back to full fitness after cutting his season short after Paris and can’t wait to arrive in Australia.
“And there are so many contenders who have the game, fitness and ability to break through on the men’s side.
“Kei Nishikori has had an incredible year, as have Marin Cilic and Kevin Anderson. The young guns Sasha Zverev, Dominic Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas are all on the cusp of a breakthrough at this level.
“The players will see huge changes onsite in January, with what we believe are the best player facilities in world sport.
“We have a new ‘Player Pod’ – a massive new four-storey structure beside Rod Laver Arena – and we can’t wait to unveil it in 2019. Everything from new locker rooms, restaurants and lounges, medical, treatment and training facilities have been designed with the players’ comfort and convenience in mind.”