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Former champion Caroline Wozniacki has been awarded a wild card for the Australian Open but Emma Raducanu has missed out on the initial batch.
Raducanu has a protected ranking of 103 due to her lengthy absence from the tour following operations on both wrists and one ankle but that is not currently high enough to secure entry to next month’s grand slam tournament.
The 21-year-old’s status as a former slam champion and one of the most high-profile female players in the sport counts in her favour but most wild cards usually go to home players.
If Raducanu is not given a wild card, and there are not sufficient withdrawals among higher-ranked players to secure her place, she will have to go through qualifying – the avenue by which she sensationally triumphed at the US Open in 2021.
The good news is, after doubts about the pace of her recovery, she has stepped up training in recent weeks and appears on track to return at the start of next season.
Raducanu has not played a tournament since the WTA event in Stuttgart in April and her actual ranking has fallen to 296.
That is 54 places lower than former world number one Wozniacki, who came out of retirement last summer following a three-and-a-half-year hiatus in which she had two children.
Emma Raducanu has been struggling with injuries over the last year
The Dane impressed, reaching the fourth round of the US Open, and she told The AO Show: “I have so many wonderful memories of Melbourne, and of course winning the Australian Open is an all-time career highlight.
“Melbourne’s one of my most favourite cities in the world, and I can’t wait to share it with my family and my kids.”
Wozniacki won her only slam title at Melbourne Park in 2018 before retiring at the same venue two years later.
The other initial wild cards for the tournament, which begins on January 14, have gone to Australian trio Kimberly Birrell, Olivia Gadecki and Taylah Preston.