Lucky Losers at the Australian Open 2023

The draw for the 2023 Australian Open is up and the hype and attention is going to be on the start of play on Monday. Among the First Round draw, there are qualifiers and some Lucky Losers who will step onto court.

We take a look at some of those who have battled their way through qualification to reach the big stage. We also scan through who did make it through the qualifiers, and also the final list of British players who have reached the First Round.

What are Lucky Losers?

Once qualifying for the Australian Open has started, if a player already in the first round has to withdraw before their first match, they will be replaced by a Lucky Loser.

A Lucky Loser is a player who fell just short of earning a spot in the draw from the qualification competitions. Any Lucky Loser stepping into the draw will receive 50% of first-round prize money for participation.

Qualification for the Australian Open

In the week preceding the main event, qualification tournaments were played, giving lower-status players the chance to earn a spot in the draw. There were sixteen qualifiers for the Men’s Draw and sixteen qualifiers for the Women’s draw.

Britain was well-represented in the qualifiers, however, players like Heather Watson, Katie Boulter and Katie Swan couldn’t get through.

2023 Australian Open Lucky Losers

Two players will enter the main draw as Lucky Losers in the Men’s Draw at the Australian Open 2023. Russia’s Pavel Kotov and Peru’s Juan Pablo Varillas get a second bite of the cherry. On the women’s side, there are also two, France’s Leolia Jeanjean and Brazil’s Laura Pigossi.

Men’s Australian Open 2023 Lucky Losers

Pavel Kotov – Replaced world number one Carlos Alcaraz

Russia’s Pavel Kotov is ranked 118th in the world at the moment. The 24-year-old only made his Grand Slam debut last year. He was eliminated in the 1st Round of the French Open and the US Open.

Kotov, who was the 11th seed for the qualifiers, lost in the final round to Ernesto Escobedo. As a Lucky Loser, he meets Tallon Griekspoor from the Netherlands in the opening round.

Juan Pablo Varillas – Replaced 17th seed Marin Cilic

Juan Pablo Varillas is ranked outside the top 100 in the world currently. His sole previous appearance in the main draw of a Grand Slam happened last year at the French Open.

He lost his First Round match. Varillas was 5th seed for the qualifiers but was upset in the final round by Japan’s Yosuke Watanuki. The Peruvian faces a massive task against 12th seed Alexander Zverev in the Australian Open First Round.

Women’s Australian Open 2023 Lucky Losers

Leolia Jeajean – Replaced 33rd seed Ajla Tomljanovic

Leolia Jeanjean is ranked 109th in the world and only made her Grand Slam debut last year, making a stunning run to the Third Round at the French Open, beating top-ten player Karolina Pliskova in the Second Round.

Jeanjean was then a First Round loser at the US Open. Seeded 9th in the qualifiers, she was beaten by Lesia Tsurenko in the final round, but now steps into the main draw as a Lucky Loser to face Argentina’s Nadia Podoroska.

Laura Pigossi – Replaced 13th seed Paula Badosa

Brazil’s Laura Pigossi was a First Round loser at Wimbledon last year on her Grand Slam debut. Seeded 14th in the Australian Open 2023 qualifiers, she was stopped in the final round by big rank outsider Arianne Hartono. Pigossi will win up across the net from Catherine McNally in the opening round.

British Players In The First Round

Emma Raducanu and Harriet Dart are the only two British players in the Australian Open 2023 Women’s draw. Raducanu picked up an ankle injury in Auckland just ahead of the Grand Slam so has been in a race to get fit for the tournament.

Raducanu opens with a tricky test against Germany’s Tamara Korpatsch, who is ranked one place higher than the Brit at the moment. Harriet Dart, who reached the Second Round in 2020, opens against world No.33 Jil Teichmann.

Veteran Andy Murray is back for another appearance in Melbourne. A five-time runner-up in the Grand Slam, the 35-year-old has been handed a very tough opener. Murray faces the 13th seed Matteo Berrettini in the open round, one of the headline match-ups from the First Round.

Cam Norrie just lost the ASB Classic Final to Richard Gasquet in his build-up. But it was such still a huge positive burst of form. Norrie will be the favourite as he meets World No.142 Luca Van Assche in the opening round.

Dan Evans, who enters his sixth Australian Open campaign, faces a First Round tie against Facundo Bagnis, while Kyle Edmund meets 15th seed Jannik Sinner. Rising star Jack Draper makes his debut in the Grand Slam and has been handed a dream tie. Draper will face the reigning champion Rafael Nadal in the First Round.

Australian Open confirmed men’s singles 2023 qualifiers

Laurent Lokoli (FRA)
Max Purcell (AUS)
Brandon Holt (USA)
Jan-Lennard Struff (GER)
Yosuke Watanuki (JPN)
Shang Jungcheng (CHN)
Oleksii Krutykh (UKR)
Hsu Yu-hsiou (TPE)
Dalibor Svrcina (CZE)
Alexander Vukic (AUS)
Nicolás Jarry (CHI)
Ernesto Escobedo (USA)
Enzo Couacaud (FRA)
Mattia Bellucci (ITA)
Yannick Hanfmann (GER)
Zizou Bergs (BEL)

Australian Open confirmed women’s singles 2023 qualifiers

Diana Shnaider
Katherine Sebov (CAN)
Anna Schmiedlova
Cristina Bucsa (ESP)
Lucrezia Stefanini (ITA)
Oksana Selekhmeteva
Coco Vandeweghe (USA)
Sara Bejlek (CZE)
Lesia Tsurenko (UKR)
Clara Burel (FRA)
Katie Volynets (USA)
Brenda Fruhvirtova (CZE)
Selena Janicijevic (FRA)
Arianne Hartono (NED)
Eva Lys (GER)
Polina Kudermetova

Australian Open 2023

Some Big Australian Open Lucky Loser Moments

In 2022 when Novak Djokovic had his Visa cancelled, it opened up a spot in the main draw of the Grand Slam for Italian Salvatore Caruso, ranked 150th in the World at the time. Suddenly there he was at the very top of the Men’s draw, the spot reserved for the top seed. Caruso couldn’t take his chance as he lost to Miomir Kechmanovic.

A big Lucky Loser success did happen in 2014 when Stephane Robert made it to the Round of 16 where he was stopped by Andy Murray. After missing out on qualification, Robert was only being notified 10 minutes before his First Round match that he was playing in the main draw.

About the author

Lee Jackson

Lee has been a freelance sports writer for over a decade and is a massive sports fan, following Chelsea in the Premier League and Gloucester in Premiership Rugby. Few sports events get him more excited than Ashes cricket, however.

Lee has followed darts since the good old days of Eric Bristow and John Lowe producing highlight moments at the World Championships on dark winter nights.