World's top players set for Australian Open 2019
The world's top 102 women and top 101 men have all confirmed they will compete at Australian Open 2019 in Melbourne in January.
World No.1 Simona Halep (ROU) heads up the women's field, with Novak Djokovic (SRB) leading the men's, and targeting a record seventh Australian Open crown.
Serena Williams (USA), currently ranked No.16, will make her highly anticipated return to Melbourne for the first time since winning in 2017 when eight-weeks pregnant with baby Alexis Olympia, and at world No.3, Caroline Wozniacki will be focussed on defending her 2018 Australian Open title.
Superstars  Rafael Nadal (ESP) and  Roger Federer (SUI) will be back, and after a frustrating few years of injury, Andy Murray (GBR) has entered the AO using his protected ranking of No.2.
The only absentee from the women's draw is Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska who recently announced her retirement. Entering on protected rankings are [23*] Timea Bacsinszky (SUI), [32*] Laura Siegemund (GER) and [90*] Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA).
Joining [2*] Andy Murray (GBR) with protected rankings are [88*] Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) and [90*] Steve Darcis (BEL).
Ten Australian's have direct entry into the main draw, with  Ashleigh Barty and  Alex de Minaur leading the charge.
Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley is looking forward to welcoming the players to Melbourne, and unveiling the world's best player facilities.
"It's an exciting time of year and we can't wait to welcome this exceptionally strong player field to Melbourne for Australian Open 2019.
"It's always special to see our defending champions - Caroline (Wozniacki) had her first Grand Slam win here last year so will be keen to start 2019 on a high. And of course Roger Federer has special memories of Melbourne, having won here six times, something only Novak (Djokovic) and Roy Emerson have done in the past.
"On the women's side we've seen a number of new champions in 2018. Naomi Osaka started her path to Grand Slam glory right here in Melbourne, reaching the fourth round, and building to win the US Open. And after making the final here it was wonderful to see Simona (Halep) win at Roland Garros, and our own 2016 champion Angie Kerber win at Wimbledon.
"After an incredible end-of-season run this year Novak will be full of confidence. He's a fan favourite here and loves the conditions in Melbourne. I've been in touch with Rafa and he's back to full fitness after cutting his season short after Paris and can't wait to arrive in Australia.
"And there are so many contenders who have the game, fitness and ability to break through on the men's side.
"Kei Nishikori has had an incredible year, as have Marin Cilic and Kevin Anderson. The young guns Sasha Zverev, Dominic Thiem, David Goffin and Stefanos Tsitsipas are all on the cusp of a breakthrough at this level.
"The players will see huge changes onsite in January, with what we believe are the best player facilities in world sport.
"We have a new 'Player Pod' - a massive new four-storey structure beside Rod Laver Arena - and we can't wait to unveil it in 2019. Everything from new locker rooms, restaurants and lounges, medical, treatment and training facilities have been designed with the players' comfort and convenience in mind."
Women's entry list… Men's entry list….
Simona Halep… Novak Djokovic
Angelique Kerber …. Rafael Nadal
Caroline Wozniacki…. Andy Murray
Elina Svitolina….. Roger Federer
Naomi Osaka….. Alexander Zverev
Sloane Stephens…. Juan Martin del Potro
Petra Kvitova….. Kevin Anderson
Karolina Pliskova…. Marin Cilic
Kiki Bertens….. Dominic Thiem
Daria Kasatkina…. Kei Nishikori
Anastasija Sevastova… John Isner
Elise Mertens…. Karen Khachanov
Australian Open 2019, presented by Kia Motors in association with ANZ, Luzhou Laojiao and Rolex, will take place at Melbourne Park from 14-27 January.
All Australian Open tickets including ground passes, which allow access to Melbourne Arena, are now on sale at ticketek.com.au <http://www.ticketek.com.au/> .
published: 05. December 2018 by Tennis Portal TAKEOFF-PRESS