An injury victim, a retired Grand Slam champion and a men’s disciplinary case will be the only players missing from the field of January’s Australian Open, officials confirmed on Wednesday.
With the tennis elite set to descend on Melbourne Park for the January 13 start of the first major event of the season, the men’s and women’s entries look all but perfect.
“Once again we have an incredibly strong field coming to Melbourne to contest the Australian Open in 2014, proof that this is one of the players’ favourite events and how much the title means to them,” tournament director Craig Tiley said.
The only players due to miss the event will be Serb Viktor Troicki, serving a suspension until July, plus Russian injury victim Maria Kirilenko and retired Wimbledon winner Marion Bartoli.
The official count shows 99 of the top 100 men and 99 of the top 100 women confirmed, with the world number one pair of Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams headlining the field.
“We’re so lucky to have the world’s two best men in Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic at the top of their game coming into the tournament, which could set the stage for a colossal struggle for the trophy and that number 1 ranking,” Tiley said.
“Roger Federer is training hard and with 2014 the 10th anniversary of his first win at the Australian Open, he’s certainly motivated to do well here, as is Andy Murray following a few months out of the game due to injury.
“Among the women, we have Serena Williams looking to win the title for the first time in four years, and a host of exciting challengers including world number 2 and defending champion Victoria Azarenka, 2013 finalist Li Na, and Maria Sharapova on the comeback trail.
“It should be another fantastic fortnight of tennis and I’m sure I’m not the only one who can’t wait to see how it all plays out in January.”