Maria Sharapova takes Brisbane wild card to join Barty, Pliskova and Osaka
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 4797
The 12th edition of the WTA Premier event in Brisbane takes place in the second week of January 2020, indicating the beginning of the season together with Shenzhen and Auckland. Since 2009, almost every notable name from the WTA Tour has competed in Brisbane, with Victoria Azarenka, Kim Clijsters, Petra Kvitova, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Karolina Pliskova and Elina Svitolina all finding a place on the list of champions, with more Grand Slam winners as the beaten finalists.
The organizers have been working hard on securing the most reliable possible field for the upcoming edition, with six of the current top-10 stars heading to Brisbane, including Ashleigh Barty, Karolina Pliskova, Naomi Osaka, Elina Svitolina, Petra Kvitova and Kiki Bertens.
Besides that, more top-20 competitors will join the title hunt, together with Venus Williams and a former champion Maria Sharapova who received a wild card on Monday. Maria was the champion in Brisbane in 2015 and will seek another good run at this strong WTA Premier tournament, hoping for a fresh start after skipping all the action following the first-round loss at the US Open to Serena Williams back in August!
If we put that 2016 season aside, Maria will finish the year outside the top-100 for the first time since 2002 when she was only 15, entering only eight tournaments this season and struggling to find the rhythm and momentum after numerous injuries and setbacks.
The five-time Major champion advanced into the quarter-final in the first event of the season in Shenzhen, followed by the fourth-round loss to Ashleigh Barty at the Australian Open. It was the last tournament with back-to-back triumphs for a former world no.
1, withdrawing from St. Petersburg and staying away from the court until Mallorca in June with ongoing shoulder troubles. In the last five tournaments of the season, Maria grabbed only two victories, suffering that massive loss versus Serena Williams in New York and finishing the season after that match, unable to enter Linz or Luxembourg.