Tennis - Defending champions Johanna Konta and Gilles Muller will return to defend their titles at the Sydney International event in 2018 along with US Open champion Sloane Stephens and former Top 10 player Fernando Verdasco.
Seven-time champion Venus Williams and French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko have already confirmed their participation in the tournament. Konta's win in Sydney propelled her to her best six months on the tour - where she reached the quarter-finals at the Australian Open, the semi-finals at Wimbledon and also won the WTA Premier event in Miami.
Speaking about her decision to return to the event, Konta said, "Winning Sydney is one of my highlights of this year and really helped to kick start what’s been the best season of my career so far. I love coming back to play in Australia.
The conditions suit my game and I think my results in Sydney, and reaching the Australian Open semifinals in 2016, and quarterfinals this year, bears that out. I have some wonderful memories of playing in Sydney. The tournament holds a special place in my heart and I can’t wait to come back and defend my title in 2018.” Stephens, who will be coming to Sydney for the first time in her career, commented, "I’m really looking forward to kicking off my season in Sydney next year.
I’ve had great results in Australia in the past – reaching the semifinals of the Australian Open in 2013 was a real highlight – and I can’t wait to continue that form.” Also Read - Judy Murray Gets an OBE for her services to Tennis .