Aus Open has strongest field in history

Updated: 06 December 2007 12:59 IST

The Australian Open in January will have the strongest field in the tournament's 103-year history - all top-ranked 100 men and 99 of the top 100 women.

Melbourne:

The Australian Open in January will have the strongest field in the tournament's 103-year history - all top-ranked 100 men and 99 of the top 100 women.

Three-time champion Roger Federer heads the men's draw, while top-ranked Justine Henin - the 2004 champion - will be the women's No 1 seed.

Following Wednesday's release of the first entry lists, the only omission from the top 100 women was Russia's Vera Dushevina, ranked 44th, who was forced to withdraw due to a right-foot injury.

With 104 direct acceptances into the men's draw, the ranking cutoff is at its lowest ever at 103, which includes Belgian Xavier Malisse, who has an injury-protected ranking of 31.

The women's draw includes 108 direct acceptances and also has its lowest ranking cutoff ever at 108, which includes Russian Evgenia Linetskaya, who has an injury-protected ranking of 92.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said he was thrilled with the strength of the lineup for the Jan 14-27 tournament.

"At this stage, it's the strongest field in the event's history and we're sure this will equate to one of the most exciting tournaments yet," said Tiley.

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

The women's field has five former champions in Henin, the Williams sisters - Venus and defending champion Serena - Amelie Mauresmo and Lindsay Davenport. The men's field includes three past winners - Federer, Thomas Johansson and Marat Safin.

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