Brisbane, Australia – The Brisbane International starting next month will feature the world's top three women players with confirmation on Wednesday that top-ranked Victoria Azarenka will take part.
Azarenka, of Belarus, joins Russian world number two Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams of the United States in the main lead-up tournament to January's Australian Open in Melbourne, the season's first Grand Slam.
Tournament organisers said the field would feature eight of the top 10 women.
Other players confirmed include Germany's Angelique Kerber, Sara Errani of Italy, Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic and Australia's Samantha Stosur.
“I am really looking forward to returning to Brisbane where I won the inaugural title in 2009,” Azarenka said.
“I am very proud to have ended the year as world number one and I am excited to start my 2013 campaign in Brisbane where I know I will get some tough matches against the world's best there.”
Azarenka, 23, said it was the perfect preparation leading into the Australian Open, where she will defend the title she won this year.
The Brisbane International, which also features US Open champion Andy Murray in the men's draw, takes place from December 30 to January 6. – Sapa-AFP