Maria Sharapova back in action
Former world number one Maria Sharapova will return to tournament action at the Brisbane International next month. She has been awarded a wildcard to play in the Australian Open warm-up.
The five-time Grand Slam champion, who last played a competitive match in the first round of the U.S. Open in August, has dropped to 133rd in the world after a season in which injuries restricted her to eight tournaments.
The 32-year-old Russian will join current world number one Ash Barty, Naomi Osaka and Karolina Pliskova in a strong field at the Queensland Tennis Centre from January 6-12.
Sharapova’s lowly ranking means she will also need a wildcard to get directly into the main singles draw for this year’s Australian Open, which begins on January 20.
Sharapova made her professional debut in 2001 on her 14th birthday on April 19, and played her first WTA tournament at the Pacific Life Open in 2002, winning a match before losing to Monica Seles.