Alexei Popyrin and Jason Kubler earn the final Australian Open wild cards

Tennis - Popyrin is an 18-year-old and he will be one of the youngest players in the main draw

by Jovica Ilic
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Alexei Popyrin and Jason Kubler earn the final Australian Open wild cards

The first Grand Slam of the season is just around the corner and the organizers in Melbourne have revealed the names of the last two players who received the main draw wild card. Thanasi Kokkinakis, Alex De Minaur, Alex Bolt, Tim Smyczek, Corentin Moutet and Soon Woo Kwon were the first players to secure the direct place in the main draw and the final 2 invitations have been given to Roland Garros junior champion Alexei Popyrin and Jason Kubler, who is finally injury free and can compete more on the hard courts. An 18-year-old Popyrin won the last 3 junior tournaments of his career last spring, including that run in Paris that pushed him towards the second place in the ITF junior rankings.

Sydney native is currently ranked 621st on the ATP list, winning his first pro title last year in Poland and ending the season with another final in Indonesia Futures. He lost in the first round of Playford Challenger to kick off his 2018 campaign and reached the second qualifying round in ATP Sydney event, beating the second seed Federico Delbonis.

Alexei will be among the youngest players in the Australian Open main draw together with Denis Shapovalov and Alex De Minaur, the other young stars born in 1999. 24-year-old Jason Kubler was one of the biggest talents of the Australian tennis but numerous knee injuries halted his progress.

Now, he is looking better and determined to make a name for himself once again, playing without a pain and having been able to compete on the hard courts on regular basis, which was impossible in the past. Namely, he played mostly on clay to keep his knees safe but besides that he had to undergo 6 knee surgeries, putting his career at risk every time.

Nonetheless, he refused to surrender and he came back strong at the end of 2017, winning Traralgon Challenger on hard courts after saving a match point in the final against Alex Bolt. In addition, the start of 2018 has been very good as well, as he qualified for the main draw in Playford to reach another final, and that was enough to punch the Melbourne ticket for him.

Jason competed at the Australian Open once before, way back in 2010, still at the age of 16, losing to Ivan Ljubicic in 3 sets, and this will be a great opportunity for him to score his first Grand Slam win with a favorable draw. The list of players who received the Australian Open main draw wild card:

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Alexei Popyrin Jason Kubler Australian Open
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