The 12th edition of the WTA Premier event in Brisbane takes place next week, gathering some of the world's finest players who will compete for the first title of the season. 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 their spot on the list of champions, with more Grand Slam winners as the beaten finalists.
The organizers have secured the most reliable possible field for the, 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 Maria Sharapova who received a wild card. Two-time Major champion Naomi Osaka is among the title favorites, especially if she produces the level of tennis from Osaka and Beijing in the closing stages of 2019 that had many ups and downs for her.
Naomi conquered the tennis world at the US Open 2018 and the Australian Open next January, losing form a little bit in the upcoming months and failing to deliver her best tennis at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open.
The Japanese will try to change that this January in Brisbane and Melbourne, speaking about the Australian Open as one of her home Majors and feeling exciting about the start of the season after having a chance to fly over Brisbane in a helicopter.
Naomi also praised her main rival Ashleigh Barty ahead of their potential clashes down under, speaking about the Aussie's variety and the slice that stands as the best one on the Tour. "I'm excited; I love Australia and coming back playing here.
I have always performed well in Brisbane, hoping I can win the title next week. The Australian Open is my home Major since it represents the Asian-Pacific region; I have another one in New York since I live there so there are many good feelings when I'm on the court and feel good about my game.
I had to figure out a lot of stuff last year and a lot of people could see that towards the end of the season when I started to play much better. Ashleigh Barty has a lot of variety in her game, high-quality serve and the best slice on the Tour."