The 2016 Australian Open will showcase the world’s finest talent at the Grand Slam of Asia/Pacific. The event, which is the first major of the year, will witness the Grand Slam return of a former major winner. The event will also showcase a current world number one and former semifinalist who made her breakthrough there in 2014.
During a promotional event which was run on Margaret Court Arena, the organizers of the Australian Open confirmed that Serena Williams, Eugenie Bouchard, and Juan Martin del Potro will all be playing in the year’s first Slam.
Bouchard Unsure Of Playing Originally
The Canadian number one was unsure if she was heading to Melbourne Park next year when asked during a television interview for Toronto news station CP24. “I don’t know yet. I don’t want to make any comments or commitments in terms of [tournaments in 2016]. Just doing my best to try to get healthy, and yeah, just want to stay positive.”
The Canadian was on the entry list for the tournament in Shenzhen, which is warmup tournament for the Australian. So despite the lawsuit against the USTA and her being unsure, it was likely she was headed Down Under as she was defending quarterfinal points from the tournament where she made her Grand Slam breakthrough back in 2014, making the semifinals.
The Return Of Serena
After her loss to Roberta Vinci at the US Open, Serena took time off and eventually withdrew from the remaining events on her calendar, citing elbow and knee injuries as the problems. Her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, said that her knee issues were similar to Rafael Nadal’s in that she was missing most of the cartilage in them. She’s set to make her first appearance since the US Open at the IPTL where she will play for the Manila Mavericks.
The Long-Awaited Return Of DelPo
Juan Martin del Potro is one of the players who can constantly challenge the Big Four. He won the US Open back in 2009 and was expected to win more but constant wrist injuries have stagnated his progress while the likes of Stan Wawrinka have vaulted themselves into that next wave of players who constantly push the world’s best. Del Potro was set to play in this year’s Australian Open after playing a tuneup event in Sydney.
The Argentine’s last Grand Slam appearance came Down Under back in 2014 where he lost to Roberto Bautista Agut in five sets in the second round. This year, the former Grand Slam champion underwent a third surgery on his left wrist and is currently rehabbing. There has been video of him hitting two-handed backhands, and that is a positive sign moving forward for him as he sets his sights on an early return next year.