World No. 2 Victoria Azarenka (Player Profile) has been confirmed for the Brisbane International in Queensland, Australia in January. The reigning Australian Open champion will join her rival and World No. 1 Serena Williams in the warm-up tournament prior to the first Grand Slam of the season.
“Brisbane always has a strong field and it will provide me with some tough matches against the world’s best at the start of the year,” Azarenka said in a statement.
Azarenka, who won the inaugural title in Brisbane in 2009, exited in disappointing fashion in last year’s semi-final against Serena Williams and will be looking for a stronger showing in 2014.
“It did not end the way I would have liked in 2013, and I was as disappointed as the fans with this, but I hope to make it up to them this coming January. I always enjoy spending time in Queensland and I really love playing on Pat Rafter Arena. I won my first WTA title there in 2009 so I have some fond memories of the place and I’d love to win the tournament again.”
The Belarusian captured the Australian Open title this season and has compiled a 43-7 win/loss record on the tour. She had a terrible couple of weeks in Asia as she lost in the opening round in both the Tokyo and Beijing tournaments but has since rebounded with a victory in her first match at the WTA championships against Sara Errani.
World No. 15 Sabine Lisicki has also been confirmed for the event. She reached her maiden Grand Slam final this year when she she defeated Serena Williams to reach the Wimbledon finals before losing to Marion Bartoli. World No. 3 Maria Sharapova has revealed on twitter that she will participate in the event but tournament officials are yet to confirm the Russian No. 1’s attendance.