Tennis-Former finalist Thiem given Australian Open wildcard

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Former Australian Open finalist Dominic Thiem has been given a wildcard to the Grand Slam next month after missing last year’s tournament due to injury, organisers said on Friday.

The Austrian gave the 2020 champion Novak Djokovic a huge scare before losing in five sets in a classic final.

Former world number three Thiem later made his Grand Slam breakthrough at that year’s U.S. Open.

He struggled with a serious wrist injury the following season but the powerful 29-year-old has been on the comeback trail this year, improving his world ranking to 102 from outside the top 350 in June.

Frenchman Luca Van Assche has also been given a wildcard, while Americans Taylor Townsend and Christopher Eubanks and Frenchwoman Diane Parry were awarded wildcards in the women’s tournament.

The four outstanding wildcards – two men and two women – will be awarded next week, organisers said.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Himani Sarkar)