Sydney: Defending champion Juan Martin del Potro has been granted a wildcard into next month`s Sydney International, organisers said Thursday.
The 2009 US Open winner and former world number four will start as the tournament favourite after making his return from an injury-blighted year the previous week in Brisbane.
"Last year I played some of my best tennis in Sydney and it is the perfect way to start the year," said the Argentinian.
After winning the US Open in 2009, Del Potro`s career was hampered by surgery on his right wrist in 2010 before he fought his way back into the top ten again.
The 26-year-old battled pain in his left wrist that first flared up at the Australian Open in January.
He retired from his opening match in Dubai in February and then withdrew from tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami, undergoing surgery in late March. He has not played since.
The Sydney tournament`s top seed will be Italian world number 20 Fabio Fognini, while the second seed will go to Belgian David Goffin, ranked 22.
Australians Nick Kyrgios and 2013 champion Bernard Tomic are also in the draw.
The women`s side of the draw is headlined by two-time Wimbledon champion and world number four Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic along with world number three and French Open runner-up Simona Halep of Romania.
The Sydney International takes place from January 11-17.