Thiem, Raducanu headline AO qualifying field. The Australian Open qualifiers begin on Jan 8 while main rounds begin on Jan 14.

Former US Open winners, Dominic Thiem and Emma Raducanu are set to headline the qualifying tournament for the upcoming Australian Open as the former champions aim to resurrect their careers after injury struggles.

Thiem, the 2020 US Open champion, has seen his ranking slide to 98th in the world after missing much of the 2022 and 2023 with wrist issues and assorted fitness problems.

The 30-year-old Australian did win his first Grand Slam match since 2021, at the 2022 US Open before bowing out in round two. Thiem was the 2020 Australian Open runner-up and could still gain direct entry if a player withdrew.

Raducanu, the shock 2021 US open winner, also missed direct entry into the Australian Open and will now likely have to go through qualifiers like she did before her historic Flushing Meadows triumph.

The 21-year-old Briton is currently ranked 299th after injuries sidelined  her for much of 2023. 

She will play the Auckland Classic to prepare for Melbourne as she sits just outside the main draw cutoff line.

The Australian Open qualifying tournament begins Jan 8, 2024, with the main draw scheduled for January 14-28 at Melbourne Park.

Both Thiem and Raducanu will be hoping strong qualifying campaigns can springboard them back towards Grand Slam contention after fighting through injury-plagued 2023 seasons.

With the first Grand Slam of the year approaching, the former major winners will aim to channel past qualifying and comeback success at majors into the Australian Open 2024. [Reuters]


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