combined ATP Tour and WTA Tour tournaments in Brisbane and Sydney, Australia. Then after
contesting tournaments such as in Auckland, New Zealand and in Hobart, the players will hope to jump start 2009 with winning results at the Australian Open at Melbourne (January 19 - February 1), the first of four of tennis' grand slam tournaments.
Previously skipped or ignored in earlier years by some top tennis players, the Australian Open now sizzles in the Melbourne heat with each new year and serves as a major starting point for elite tennis players worldwide.
And with not one, but two innovative fully retractable stadium court roofs, the Australian Open in recent years has transformed itself from forgettable to legendary. Follow Melbourne's lead, Wimbledon is set to reveal its own center court retractable roof this summer.
Hewitt of Australia reached the world's top ranking in 2001 after taking the US Open title that same year. One year later, Hewitt won his lone other grand slam singles title at Wimbledon. In 2005, Hewitt scored his best Melbourne result as he reached the final before losing to Marat Safin of Russia 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.
Hewitt now age 27, was the youngest ever number one player in 2001 at age 20. The Australian was forced to miss the last quarter of the ATP Tour season this year due to hip surgery. On the tour, Hewitt is known for his fiery temperament and winning mix of aggression and defense.
Only one year after turning professional in 1998, Dokic of Australia as a qualifier in 1999 scored her breakthrough win as she shocked the world number one Martina Hingis of Switzerland 6-2, 6-0 in the first round at Wimbledon. Dokic would reach a world ranking of 4 in 2002 before falling to her current 179.
Already in her technically 2009 WTA Tour season, the 25 year old Dokic of Australia, last week won five matches in a pre-Melbourne lead up tournament to earn an Australian Open main draw wildcard.
“I don't have to worry about the Australian Open now,” the hard hitter Dokic said, who will play qualifying at Brisbane and Hobart. “I came into here wanting to play qualifying but to be in the main draw gives me two tournaments before the Open to play.”