Rafael Nadal and Marin Cilic will use the Protected Ranking to secure a place in the main draw of the 2024 Australian Open. They are among the bunch of players who will take the help of the same arrangement.
The Protected Ranking arrangement helps the players of the ATP tour to participate who have suffered long-term injuries. It allows them to get back to the competition and play at the same position they had pre-injury after returning, regardless of their ranking.
The players are allowed to use the arrangement for nine months or nine tournaments whichever is earlier, and if their break extends to more than a year, the provision extends to 12 tournaments or 12 months.
Rafael Nadal and Marin Cilic are among the prominent players to take the help and make it into the main draw of the Australian Open.
Rafael Nadal recently announced his return to tennis at the Brisbane International starting December 31, 2023. He is making his comeback in a major at the 2024 Australian Open which marked his last major and his last tournament before he went out of action the previous year.
His ranking has fallen outside the Top 600 and is not even eligible to play the qualifiers. The Protected Ranking of No.11 will help him to directly play at the Australian major.
Australian Open men’s entry list pic.twitter.com/TMUFvu3l7t— Michal Samulski (@MichalSamulski) December 6, 2023
The same is the case for Marin Cilic who has played just three matches this season. He has been battling a knee injury. He is ranked outside the Top 600 and is not even eligible to play the qualifiers. So, he will enter the main draw using his Protected Ranking of No.21.
Emma Raducanu and Naomi Osaka’s return to Australian Open 2024
Emma Raducanu and Naomi Osaka will enter the 2024 Australian Open with the help of Protected Ranking by the WTA as well. The PR rules for the WTA players vary slightly from those of the ATP.
According to WTA rules for PR, the players who have been out for 6-12 months will be eligible for eight tournaments in one season and if their break is more than a year, the provision extends to 12 tournaments.
Four-time major winner Naomi Osaka has not played any tennis since September 2022. She was initially on an injury break and later due to pregnancy. She gave birth to her daughter ‘Shai’ in July and has been training since then. She will take the help of PR No.46 for direct entry at the 2024 Australian Open.
Emma Raducanu on the other hand has a PR No.103, which is just enough to play the qualifiers. She has to rely on six players withdrawing from the main draw or play through three qualifying rounds. She has not played a match since Stuttgart in April.