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Lleyton Hewitt awarded Australian Open wildcard

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Lleyton Hewitt has been awarded a wildcard into Australian Open 2012, Tournament Director Craig Tiley announced today.

"Lleyton is a former world No.1, twice a Grand Slam champion and Australia's most successful Davis Cup player," Craig Tiley said. "He reached the Australian Open final in 2005 and his passion and commitment to the game is second to none. We are delighted to offer him a wildcard for 2012.

"Lleyton has had some bad luck with injury recently, which has seen his ranking drop, but he has proved time and time again he can never be discounted, particularly in a big match. We look forward to welcoming him to the Australian Open in January," Tiley continued.

The Australian Open Play-off commences next week, Tuesday 6 December, with the rising names of Australian tennis competing for a coveted Australian Open wildcard.

Western Australia's Casey Dellacqua enters as the hot favourite, having won the past six Pro Tour events and currently enjoying a 30 match winning streak.

Joining her in the women's draw are Isabella Holland, Olivia Rogowska, Arina Rodionova and Bojana Bobusic.

In the men's event Greg Jones and Marinko Matosevic will be joined by Benjamin Mitchell (2010 Junior Wimbledon finalist), James Duckworth, Chris Guccione and John-Patrick Smith, who's just started on the pro circuit after a highly successful US College tennis career.

The Australian Open Play-off draw will take place at Melbourne Park on Sunday 4 December at 12.00 midday.

The event commences on Tuesday 6 December, with finals taking place on Sunday 11 December.