After the drama and excitement that national junior championships brought this week, Melbourne Park will be in the spotlight of the Australian tennis yet again in the next 7 days, with 2018 Australian Open Wildcard Playoff ready to kick off on Monday.
16 players who didn't make the direct entry list for the main draw of the upcoming first Grand Slam of the season will battle for the wild card in the grueling best-of-5 matches, and it will take both the playing skills and physical strength to go all the way and punch the Australian Open ticket with 4 wins.
The draw suffered some overturns, with John-Patrick Smith, Jason Kubler, Sam Groth, Akira Santillan and Dayne Kelly all withdrawing from the event, leaving the space open for some young and lower-ranked players who will seek their chance in the unfamiliar territory, as many of them never competed in the best-of-5 format before.
Alex Bolt and Alex De Minaur are the top seeds, ranked 190th and 208th, followed by Andrew Whittington, who is the only remaining player inside the Top 250. Promising youngsters Alexander Crnokrak, Benard Nkomba and Matthew Dellavedova are also in the draw and it will be interesting to see who will emerge as a winner.