Melbourne [Australia], December 24 (ANI): Swiss tennis maestro Roger Federer and women's singles legend Serena Williams were among the entries named on Thursday for the Australian Open.
The mega-event will take place at Melbourne Park from February 8-21 and will feature singles, doubles, and wheelchair competitions.
Serena Williams' motivation is unquestioned as she sets herself up to equal Margaret Court's record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles by winning an eighth Australian Open crown.
"There are so many great storylines for the Australian Open 2021. Serena is gunning for her eighth Australian Open title while Novak Djokovic, who often seems invincible at Melbourne Park, is going for a record ninth title," said Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley in an official statement.
"Our own world No.1 Ash Barty will return to Grand Slam competition, as will Roger Federer as he comes back from injury. And there's a new crop of rising stars coming up to challenge them all," he added.
Two-time champion Victoria Azarenka (BLR) also returns, having missed the tournament in 2020, alongside 19-year-old Iga Swiatek (POL), the newest Grand Slam women's champion who won Roland Garros in October.
Also in contention on the women's side are world No.2 Simona Halep (ROU), 2020 US Open champion  Naomi Osaka (JPN), defending champion  Sofia Kenin (USA),  Elina Svitolina (UKR),  Karolina Pliskova (CZE),  Bianca Andreescu (CAN),  Petra Kvitova (CZE),  Kiki Bertens (NED) and  Aryna Sabalenka (BLR).
While in men's event, world No.1 and defending champ Novak Djokovic along with world No.2 Rafael Nadal (ESP),  Dominic Thiem (AUT),  Daniil Medvedev (RUS),  Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE),  Alexander Zverev (GER),  Andrey Rublev (RUS),  Diego Schwartzman (ARG) and  Matteo Berrettini (ITA), make up an entertaining top-10 mix of Grand Slam champions
A total of 104 players receive direct entry into the men's and women's singles main draw and a further eight are awarded wildcards, while 16 places will be determined at the qualifying rounds from January 10-13 in Dubai and Doha respectively. (ANI)