MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 20:  Andrew Whittington of Australia plays a backhand in his first round doubles match against Gilles Muller of Luxembourg and Mahesh Bhupathi of India during day three of the 2016 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 20, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Wildcard Whittington takes final Kooyong spot

Posted on January 3, 2017

Kooyong Foundation scholarship holder and Australian Open wildcard Andrew Whittington has been handed the perfect Australian Open preparation with the final spot in the 10-man field for next week’s 2017 Priceline Pharmacy Kooyong Classic.

Currently ranked as world 170 on the ATP rankings, the 23-year-old succumbed to illness in the semi-final of the Australian Open play-offs last month, where he was the number one seed.

Whittington works with Kooyong mentor Glenn Busby and has worked his way from a ranking of 582 to being inside the top 200 through consistent performances in challenger events across Asia in 2016.

“I’m really looking forward to competing in the Kooyong Classic for the first time,” Whittington said.

“The Kooyong club has been so much a part of my career and I have seen the event every year as I was growing up.”

“It’s my chance to be playing against some of the world’s best players and should be the perfect preparation for the Australian Open.”

The men’s draw features six players in the world top 30 rankings, with number 11 and defending champion David Goffin from Belgium, who brings good form with a win over world number 1 Andy Murray last week in Abu Dhabi, leading an exciting group of players that also includes Australian Bernard Tomic.

Joining them is Frenchman Lucas Pouille, Richard Gasquet, world number 20 Ivo Karlovic, Gilles Simon, Borna Coric, Mikhail Youzhny, Yoshihito Nishioka and now Whittington who rounds out the 10 player field.

He joins Australian teenage prodigy and fellow Kooyong Foundation scholarship holder Destanee Aiava who was added to the field for the return of the women’s event at Kooyong. Aiava made her way through qualifying at the Brisbane International and is on the verge of a first round upset against American Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

Aiava will join China’s second highest ranked player Qiang Wang along with Sabine Lisicki and Sorana Cirstea in the women’s draw, which will see females play at the famous Kooyong stadium for the first time in two decades.

The draw for the event will be released on Monday 9 January at 11.30am and will coincide with a preview and player media opportunity on Kooyong’s centre court.

Tickets are now on sale through Ticketek – www.ticketek.com.au

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