Jordan Thompson of Australia in action.
Jordan Thompson of Australia in action. ERIK S. LESSER

Aussie waiting in wings for Brisbane International spot

AUSTRALIAN No.3 Jordan Thompson is on the brink of direct entry to the Brisbane International after withdrawals by two players.

Former top-10 player Kevin Anderson, of South Africa, has withdrawn from the January 1-8 tournament at the Queensland Tennis Centre with a hip injury.

American 19-year-old Taylor Fritz has also pulled out from the Brisbane entry list, allowing world No.78 Pierre-Hugues Herbert, of France, into the 28-man main draw.

Thompson, a Rio Olympian ranked No.79, would be the next man in the Brisbane draw should another player withdraw, allowing Tennis Australia to award another wildcard to another man.

Bernard Tomic, ranked No.26, is the only Australian direct entry so far, with Brisbane's John Millman, the No.84, guaranteed a wildcard into his home city tournament if he can overcome hip injuries in time.

Thompson, 22, has almost halved his ATP ranking this year, having started it at No.154, winning four Challenger level titles in four different countries during 2016.

The Sydney right-hander won finals in France and Vietnam before a hot run in October in which he took titles in Vietnam and Traralgon, Victoria.

Thompson had big-stage experience at all four grand slam tournaments, winning a round at the French Open, and suffering a first-round loss at the Rio Games.

"Jordan has shown himself to be very fit and a great competitor - he's one of those players who doesn't beat himself,” Brisbane tournament director Geoff Quinlan said.

Quinlan has received no official reason for the withdrawal of Fritz, the second best-ranked teenager in men's tennis.

A withdrawal of any of the eight men's seeds would see Tomic gain the eighth seeding at an event where he was a semi-finalist last summer.

Wimbledon runner-up Milos Raonic (ranked No.3) shapes at the men's top seed, followed by top-10 players Stan Wawrinka (4), Kei Nishikori (5), Dominic Thiem (8) and Rafael Nadal (9).

TA has three men's and two women's wildcards to award for the Brisbane International main draws.

The availability of 2015 Davis Cup player Thanasi Kokkinakis for January circuit action is unclear and likely to be among the reasons for the delay so far in awarding of discretionary wildcards for the supporting tournaments to the Australian Open.

Kokkinakis, 20, had shoulder injury last December and played only one match in 2016, at the Rio Games, where he, like Thompson, made a first-round exit.

Kokkinakis last month was reported to have been troubled by groin soreness and had needed a short break from training.