The day started off down under with an announcement that was expected for some time, the two-time winner of the Australian Open, Victoria Azarenka’s impending withdrawal from the tournament was confirmed. Victoria came back from maternity leave during June 2017, only to leave the tour again in July as she found herself trapped in a custody battle for her only child, which is still ongoing.
As Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams; the defending champion are both out of the competition, only two previous champions remain in the draw, they include the five time grand slam winner Maria Sharapova and the two-time slam winner Angelique Kerber. The draw ceremony which will be held on Thursday, 11 January, usually has the defending champions present. As Serena will not be travelling to Melbourne, it has been announced that Maria will take her place at the ceremony.
As previously reported, the five time Australian Open Finalist, Andy Murray expressed his concerns about participating at the Australian Open, Murray revealed this afternoon that he underwent surgery on his hip in Australia, and is hoping to be back in time for the grass season, “My plan is to be back playing around the grass-court season – potentially before then – but I’m certainly not going to rush anything,”. The former number one has seen his ranking fall to number 19, if Murray’s rehabilitation goes to plan and is back for Wimbledon, his ranking will stand at around number 150.
Although Vika and Andy will miss this year’s Australian Open, both should be considered as contenders to lift the 2019 Title!