Leading stars head to Melbourne

Ninety-nine of the world's top 100 players will compete in both singles draws at next month's Australian Open.

Tennis News: Rod Laver Arena, Australian Open

The entry list was confirmed on Thursday when Robin Soderling's name was the only one of the men's top 100 not to feature.

The world number 13 announced recently that he would not compete as he is still recovering from glandular fever.

In the women's draw, Alisa Kleybanova, the world number 69, will be missing due to her continuing battle with cancer. She has not played since May as she is fighting Hodgkin's lymphoma.

The men's draw will be led by defending champion and world number one Novak Djokovic, while Great Britain's Andy Murray will bid to go one better than the last two years - he was beaten in the 2010 final by Roger Federer and lost to Djokovic last season.

The 104 direct acceptances into the men's draw include Tommy Haas, Fernando Gonzalez, Benjamin Becker and Paul-Henri Mathieu, all of whom will be using their injury-protected rankings.

The women's field sees Kim Clijsters return to defend her crown, while world number one Caroline Wozniacki will be out to break her Grand Slam duck. Home hopes will rest with US Open champion Sam Stosur.

Britain has three direct entries - Elena Baltacha, Anne Keothavong and Heather Watson - but Laura Robson will have to qualify.

The women's draw includes 108 direct acceptances, with Timea Bacsinszky and Anna Chakvetadze both using protected rankings as they return from injury.

Former world number one Venus Williams, currently ranked 105, has also made the cut, although she has not played since the US Open, at which she revealed was was fighting the autoimmune disease Sjögren's Syndrome.

The men's field will be completed by 16 qualifiers and eight wildcards, while the women's field has 12 qualifiers and eight wildcards to be added.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said: "It's incredible to once again have every available top player in both the men's and women's fields heading to play the Australian Open.

"We are in for some incredible tennis in January. I can't wait."



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