The defending Australian Open champion Serena Williams was supposed to attend the tournament's draw ceremony which is to take place on Thursday, January 11th, but the American player won't defend her title as she doesn't feel ready yet.
Maria Sharapova, who last played the first Grand Slam of the season in 2016 when she reached the quarter-finals, will replace Williams and join the defending men's champion Roger Federer.
Sharapova won the 2008 Australian Open title and also reached the finals in 2007, 2012 and 2015. The draw, which is to be live, will take place in the Margaret Court Arena, fans will be able to attend it by making a donation of a gold coin, the monies obtained from which will go to the Australian Tennis Foundation.
Former doubles player-turned-tennis expert, Todd Woodbridge is to be a part of panellists who will be giving immediate draw analyses. Story by TennisTour Talk ALSO READ: Andrey Rublev says Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal have changed tennis .