The inaugural Adelaide International at the brand-new Memorial Drive Tennis Centre takes place next week, offering a chance for many top-ranked players to test their skills once again ahead of the Australian Open. Novak Djokovic and Alex de Minaur should lead the men's draw after the ATP Cup and the crowd will be able to watch some high-quality WTA action as well, gathering five top-10 stars and 19 players from the top-30!
Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep and Petra Kvitova should be the players to beat, together with world no. 8 Belinda Bencic who grabbed the last-minute wild card. The first two invitations went to Priscilla Hon and Ajla Tomljanovic and the third was reserved for Venus Williams who had to pull out with a hip injury, opening the door for Belinda to make a debut in Adelaide after an early loss in Shenzhen.
The young Swiss had finished outside the top-150 in 2017 before raising her game in the previous two seasons to fulfill her potential and finally crack the top-10 again after two WTA titles and the semi-final at the US Open.
Seeking more matches following that unexpected loss to Anna Blinkova in the first week of the new season, Belinda will join a stellar field of players in Adelaide next week, seeking some notable wins and the better form ahead of the Australian Open where she is yet to reach the quarters.
"The Adelaide International will be great preparation for the Australian Open, and I always enjoy playing in front of the Australian crowds," Bencic said. "We are sad that Venus has been forced to withdraw from the Adelaide International, and we wish her the very best for a speedy recovery," Adelaide International Tournament Director Alistair MacDonald said.
"We are pleased to announce that Belinda has accepted this wildcard and we look forward to welcoming her to Adelaide in the coming days."