New Delhi: The 2017 edition of Australian Open is going to be a star-studded affair as every player in the world’s top 99 except pregnant Victoria Azarenka has confirmed for the season opening Grand Slam tournament.
The all-star field for the opening Grand Slam of 2017 at Melbourne Park will see Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber start as top seeds. It's a sign of the changing of the guard in world tennis, even though top dogs Roger Federer and Serena Williams will be making their return from injury.
Six-time tournament champion Williams, will try to break the record of former tennis player Steffi Graf by winning her 23rd major singles title for the open era.
Williams has been out of action since September due to a shoulder injury that hindered her throughout the year. She has signed on for the Auckland Classic in early January, along with sister Venus, as a warm-up for the Australian Open later that month.
On the men`s side, world number two Novak Djokovic will be aiming the trophy for a record seventh time.
Four-time champion and former world number one Roger Federer will also be seen in the tournament. The Swiss maestro is making a comeback after a recuperating from a knee operation in February.
He is set to play the Hopman Cup in Perth ahead of the Australian Open and renew his rivalry in Melbourne with Rafael Nadal, who is also working to regain full fitness and is set to kick-off his year at the Brisbane International.
Former world number one and two-time champion Victoria Azarenka is the only player who has opted out of the tournament because of her pregnancy. She has already announced in July that she was pregnant with the baby due towards the end of the year.