Australian tennis legend Lleyton Hewitt looks forward to next week's Australian Open 2019 Play-off as he is expected to see some fascinating matches. 16 Australian players will be fighting for an Australian Open wildcard next week.
The winner of the Play-off event will be granted a wildcard into the opening Grand Slam event of the season. Alex Bolt, ranked at No. 159 in the world, leads this year's Australian Open Play-off player field as he is the highest ranked player on the list.
The remaining 15 players are John-Patrick Smith, James Duckworth, Maverick Banes, Max Purcell, Akira Santillan, Andrew Harris, Dayne Kelly, Jacob Grills, Bradley Mousley, Blake Ellis, Jeremy Beale, Christopher O'Connell, Luke Saville, Aleksandar Vukic and 17-year-old promising junior Rinky Hijikata.
A best-of-five-sets format will be used in all matches at Melbourne Park next week. Australian rising star Alex de Minaur, who drew attention to his name this past season for all the good reasons, started his 2018 campaign with a winning run at the Australian Play-off event.
"This year's field is a real mix of youth and experience which I'm sure will play out with some fascinating matches," Hewitt said, per Tennis Australia. "The format mirrors Grand Slam conditions, and it's often the first time some of the younger guys have played five-set matches.
It’s a great experience for them, and not just on the court but in terms of how they prepare and also manage their recovery. "This is all an important part of life on the tour and they get a real taste of what it takes to compete at a Grand Slam.
I'm looking forward to seeing all the guys in tough competition throughout the week." Also read: Jo Wilfried Tsonga granted wildcard into Australian Open