Reigning WTA World Number 1 Serena Williams (Player Profile) has confirmed that she will open the 2014 season with the Brisbane International as a warm-up event for the Australian Open.
French and US Open champion Williams is the defending champion for the event after beating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the final of the event this year. After confirming her entry she spoke of her appreciation for the competition and reminisced on her win:
“I remember I was really excited to win….I was so focused on the final and felt like this was a good start for the Australian Open…They have a great fitness centre; they have great courts that are identical to the surface played in Melbourne. Plus I have a week off after the tournament, so it’s always a good preparation to play in Brisbane, and it’s always fun to go back and try and defend your title.”
Williams, who is showing little signs of losing her dominant touch on court, is a big draw for the event, and Brisbane International director Cameron Pearson is excited to have her play again next year – “Serena is one of the most dominant figures of world tennis. Since claiming the Brisbane title this January, Serena has again had a wonderful year on the court which has culminated in her winning her fifth US Open title and second French Open crown.”
Australian favourite Lleyton Hewitt (Player Profile) has also been confirmed as an entry for the men’s field, joining another former World Number 1 Roger Federer. After a six year absence from the tournament Hewitt led the Australian team back into the Davis Cup’s elite World Group. His achievements this year also included reaching the round of 16 at the US Open. Excited to play in his home country, Hewitt spoke of the “great atmosphere out there and great crowds – they really get behind their tennis in Queensland, and I’m really looking forward to going back for a second year in a row.”
Pearson is pleased to add Hewitt to the men’s field as he “is one of our country’s most accomplished players and has a strong and loyal following here in Queensland. At 20 he was the youngest male ever to be ranked number one in the world, and at age 32 he is still achieving impressive results, and adds star power to our line-up.”
The Brisbane International runs from December 29th to January 5th.