Sharapova to play in Brisbane after injury-hit 2019

Maria Sharapova

Russia’s Maria Sharapova will compete at the Brisbane International in January after receiving a wildcard.

The 32-year-old former world number one played just 15 matches in 2019 because of a long-term shoulder injury.

Five-time Grand Slam champion Sharapova last played a competitive match in the first round of the US Open in August.

“Brisbane, I’ve missed you and I’m so excited to be starting off my year 2020 at your tournament, in your city,” Sharapova said in a social media video.

“I’ve missed the fans, I’ve missed the event so much, and I am so looking forward to seeing everyone.”

Also set to compete at the event, which runs from 6 to 12 January, is defending champion Karolina Pliskova, world number one Ashleigh Barty, Naomi Osaka and Venus Williams.

The tournament is seen as a warm-up for the first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open in Melbourne, which starts on 20 January.

With her ranking of 133 in the world, Sharapova will need a wildcard to gain direct entry to the main draw of the Australian Open – a tournament she won in 2008.

She failed a drugs test at the 2016 Australian Open, leading to a 15-month ban from tennis.

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