PRIZE MONEY: $626,750
DATE: Dec 31 Jan 6, 2018
SINGLES DRAW SIZE: 32
DOUBLES DRAW SIZE: 16
Elina Svitolina, Garbine Muguruza, Grigor Dimitrov and Nick Kyrgios pose for a photo during Kids Day at the 2018 Brisbane International at Pat Rafter Arena
Alizé Cornet edged through her first match of the 2018 season when compatriot Caroline Garcia was forced to retire, 3-6, 6-3, ret. at the Brisbane International.
"I've always had some issues with my back," Garcia said after the match. "It was going better, and of course with the flight it was a little bit more sore than normal, but it was ok. At the beginning of the match I felt a pain in my lower back and it was different than it is normally. It was getting worse and worse and in the end I couldn't really move. There was no point to keep going."
ABU DHABI, UAE
Less than four months after becoming a mother, defending Australian Open champion Serena Williams kicked off her 2018 against the highest caliber of opposition on Saturday: a fellow Grand Slam winner.
While not an officially sanctioned WTA match, two of last season's major champions squared off on the final day of the 10th annual Mubadala World Tennis Championships, traditionally an exhbition event for male players in Abu Dhabi.
She was one of the WTA's breakout rising stars before turning 21, but Anna Karolina Schmiedlova has had more than her fair share of struggles since a career-best 2015 season which saw her win two WTA titles, reach the third round of the US Open and reach a career-high ranking of World No.26.
In the same age bracket as Elina Svitolina, Daria Gavrilova and Eugenie Bouchard, Schmiedlova seemed to be ahead of the curve amongst her contemporaries, but the 23-year-old has needed to rebuild her career one step at a time over the past 18 months.
Serena Williams sent fans an early Christmas present when it was announced she would take on Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko at the upcoming Mubadala World Tennis Championship on December 30.
“I am delighted to be returning to the court in Abu Dhabi for the first time since the birth of my daughter in September'
“The Mubadala World Tennis Championship has long marked the beginning of the men’s global tennis season and I am excited and honoured to be making my comeback as part of the first women to participate in the event. I look forward to seeing the fans in Abu Dhabi at the 10th edition of the Championship very soon.”
Destanee Aiava and Ajla Tomljanovic have both been awarded wildcards for next week’s Brisbane International.
Aiava, who Is just 17, made headlines at the tournament last year when she upset Bethanie Mattek-Sands in three sets, ending the year ranked World No.154, 232 places higher than 2016.
Tomljanovic, meanwhile, has recovered from the shoulder injury which hampered her 2016, ending the year just outside the Top 100.
“I’m excited to get back to Brisbane, it’s a great opportunity for me to progress my career and I’d like to thank Tennis Australia for giving me the wildcard,” Aiava said.
“I’ll always remember my first win on the WTA in Brisbane, and hopefully I can go even further I the tournament this time.”
Tomljanovic added: “I’m obviously really happy to get the wildcard. I’ve done a few pre-seasons in Brisbane, I love it here.
The 2018 ASB Classic is set to be one of the most sought-after destinations this summer, with its lifestyle events rivalling its stellar player line-up. The tournament has teamed up with some of the best names in food, fashion and entertainment to create a touch of Classic come January.
Off the back of the star-studded 2017 player field, the 2018 ASB Classic returns with an impressive player line-up including glamour girl Caroline Wozniacki, and previous Men’s Champions Jack Sock, Grand Slam Champion Victoria Azarenka and former champion’s John Isner and Roberto Bautista Agut.
In addition to the established stars, the ASB Classic has secured tennis wonderkid Denis Shapovalov, tipped by many to be the next Roger Federer as part of a quartet of future stars who are set for the games elite. Andrey Rublev, Karen Khachanov and eventual champion Hyeun Chung all competed at the ATP Next Gen Finals in Milan this month as the best players aged 21 and under on tour. They are set for bright futures with Auckland shaping up as a launching pad for 2018.
Gold Coast’s own Sam Stosur visited Warner Bros. Movie World today to launch Suncorp Kids Tennis Day, where kids enter free at the Brisbane International on 31 December 2017.
During the visit, Stosur met and played tennis with everyone’s favourite Looney Tunes characters Bugs Bunny, Lola Bunny, Tweetyand Sylvester, who will join the party later this month at Suncorp Kids Day.
“I actually grew up here not too far from Movie World so it’s nice to come back here,” said Stosur.
“It’s all about Kids Day for Brisbane International, and I don’t think there’s a better place where kids want to hang out at that Movie World, so to combine it with tennis is even better.”