Australian Open officials have come under fire for snubbing Australia's current No.1 female tennis player, Arina Rodionova, in the first round of wildcards. Rodionova was ranked as low as 350th in the world in February but registered an impressive 78 victories from 104 matches in 2023, to reach world No.112 in the year-end rankings.
Despite her impressive run of form, the 33-year-old was overlooked on Wednesday by Tennis Australia, meaning her path to this year's Australian Open is likely through qualifying. Of the seven wildcards handed out so far, six Aussies were given a spot in the tournament along with former World No.1 Caroline Wozniacki.
Aussies Kimberly Birrell, Olivia Gadecki, Taylah Preston, James Duckworth, Marc Polmans and Adam Walton all received a wildcard and there is only one wildcard Tennis Australia has left to give for this year's Aussie Open. To get a spot at Melbourne Park, Rodionova will either need to be granted that wildcard place or go through qualifying to earn a place in the main draw at Melbourne Park.
"Rodionova wasn’t given a wildcard in the initial batch, which seems way harsh for a country’s No.1," veteran tennis reporter Ben Rothenberg shared on X. Other Aussies who also failed to secure a wildcard in the first round include doubles world No.1 Storm Hunter, Daria Saville and Astra Sharma. The overlooking of Rodionova left Aussie tennis fans shocked and they quickly took to social media to voice their anger.
Also interesting on the #AusOpen women's entry list:
No Aussie women were able to enter directly on their current rankings. The current Aussie women's #1 is #112 Arina Rodionova.
Rodionova wasn't given a wildcard in the initial batch, which seems way harsh for a country's #1.
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) December 6, 2023
Tennis Australia must seriously hate her
— Matt 🎩 (@TimTtam77) December 6, 2023
It is so annoying that only one of Daria Saville, Arina Rodionova or Storm Hunter can get that last remaining wildcard that isn’t the reciprocal ones. Two of them will have to come through qualies.
Australian women’s tennis really is in the middle of a dark age.
— Miijumaaru_ (@Miijumaaru_) December 7, 2023
no because why do they refuse to give arina rodionova a WC when she’s the highest ranked australian player + legit just won a title pic.twitter.com/K6rZXqtNG8
— kvitova museum tour guide (@riganails) December 6, 2023
Caroline Wozniacki headlines wildcard recipients
Wozniacki came out of retirement last summer after a three-and-a-half-year hiatus, during which she had two children. The former world No.1 and 2018 Australian Open champion was the highest-profile player to receive a wildcard.
The Dane retired after the 2020 tournament in Melbourne before making her comeback to tennis in June this year. "I have so many wonderful memories of Melbourne, and of course winning the Australian Open is an all-time career highlight," Wozniacki said in a statement upon the announcement of her wildcard.
"Coming back to my favourite slam as a new mum - and bringing my two kids - will be a huge thrill. The whole family is so excited. I'm truly grateful to everyone for the wildcard and having the opportunity to compete again at the AO in January."
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