World’s top-50 men and women players have confirmed their participation for the next year’s Australian Open with top-ranked Ashleigh Barty, Rafael Nadal leading a star-studded field.
Women’s singles defending champion Naomi Osaka will face stiff challenge from Wimbledon champion Simona Halep, US Open champion Bianca Andreescu, last year’s runners-up Petra Kvitova and seven-time AO champion Serena Williams.
Among the men, world No. 2 and defending champion Novak Djokovic will launch his bid for a record eighth title at Melbourne Park and will be joined by Nadal, Roger Federer, Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev among others.
“We are delighted to welcome this extremely strong player field to Melbourne in what promises to be a once in a generation event,” AO tournament director Craig Tiley said in a statement on tournament’s official website.
He added, “The very best players are back, there are records up for grabs and it is very possible we will see a new champion crowned on both sides. There are so many great storylines for AO 2020 … emerging players continue to break through, including our own world No.1 Ash Barty. Will it be the year for one of the young guns to stop Novak, Roger or Rafa? And can Serena win her 24th Grand Slam singles title?”
While Argentine Juan Martin del Potro will mark his return, two-time former champion Victoria Azarenka has withdrawn. A total of 104 players receive direct entry into the men’s and women’s singles main draw and a further eight are awarded wildcards, while 16 places will be settled at the qualifying rounds from 8-11 January 2020.
In the men’s event except for Stan Wawrinka (2014) and Nadal (2009), the trophy has been lifted by Djokovic (2019, 2016, 2015, 2013, 2012, 2011) and Roger Federer (2018, 2017, 2010) since 2009.
On the other hand, the women’s field has been more open with seven different champions since 2010.
The 115th edition of the the annual event will get underway from 20 January and run till 7 February 2020.