Brisbane, Nov 28 (IANS): Grand Slam champion Aryna Sabalenka, Elena Rybakina and US Open semifinalist Ben Shelton on Tuesday confirmed they will join the world-class line-up for Brisbane International starting from December 31 to January 7 at the Queensland Tennis Centre.
Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka was already named in the field as she returns to tennis.
“I’m excited about starting my 2024 Australian season in Brisbane. Australia holds a special place in my heart after winning my first Grand Slam there,” Sabalenka said in a statement.
“I can’t wait to make my debut at the Brisbane International and play in front of the Queensland tennis fans. It’s a tournament that’s attracted so many good players in the past and I’m hoping it will set me up for another successful summer.”
World No.17 Ben Shelton will feature in the men’s ATP 250 field. The 21-year-old American won his first ATP Tour singles title last month.
“I’m thrilled to be playing the Brisbane International for the first time in 2024. My first trip to Australia was last January, and it was such an amazing experience. The fans were so welcoming,” Shelton said.
“I’m looking forward to exploring Brisbane and playing in front of the local fans. Hopefully, there will also be a chance to fit in some sightseeing during my visit.”
The combined WTA 500 and ATP 250 tournament will also feature Grand Slam champions Andy Murray, Victoria Azarenka, world No.8 Holger Rune and world No.14 Grigor Dimitrov.
“The Brisbane International is shaping up to be one of the best we’ve seen in both the women’s and men’s fields,” said Brisbane International Tournament Director Cam Pearson.
“To have both the world No.2 and world No.4, Sabalenka and Rybakina, headlining the women’s field and young gun Ben Shelton also confirmed, further cements the tournament as a premium event.”
Pearson said he would welcome Australian Nick Kyrgios to the tournament if he recovers from injury in time.
"We would love to have him here, he's a past champion and a fan favourite but he needs to do what's best for him and his recovery," he said.
"If that means he's playing in January, fantastic."
Kyrgios had knee surgery in January and then aborted comeback plans at Wimbledon after tearing a ligament in his wrist.