World No.1 Ashleigh Barty is set to make her return to the court after securing a spot in one of the women’s events starting on January 31 in Melbourne, either the Gippsland Trophy or the Yarra Valley Classic.
Barty hasn’t played since Melbourne last year, where she lost in the semifinals to Sofia Kenin.
Each event will include 64 singles players, with the top 32 women split across the fields to make up 16 seeds in each. There are 15 Grand Slam singles champions on the entry list including world No.2 Simona Halep, No.3 Naomi Osaka, reigning Australian Open champion and No.4 Sofia Kenin, and No.10 Serena Williams.
“Having 49 of the world’s top 50 women, and an outstanding men’s field commit for the Melbourne Summer Series is a huge bonus for fans and promises quality matches for players leading into the Australian Open,” Tennis Australia Head of Major Events Cameron Pearson said.
“There’s no doubt this will be an historic week of tennis, and is the biggest-ever AO lead-in week we have seen in Australia. It’s an exciting prospect for fans both onsite and watching around the world.
“While we know the circumstances are unique this year, it is a huge coup to secure such strong playing fields. I hope fans, whether onsite or watching at home, will embrace what will be a high quality week of events.”
The men’s events will be the Great Ocean Road Open and the Murray River Open.
Nick Kyrgios will play the Murray River Open, along with Stan Wawrinka and Grigor Dimitrov.
Barty will make a public statement from her home in Brisbane tomorrow (Friday) to outline her on-court commitments.