Brisbane: Tennis players Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic will start the new season at the Brisbane International here, the only premier-level event in the opening week of 2015, organisers confirmed Wednesday.
Sharapova was at times just a loss away from falling out of the world's top-10 during the clay court season but had a strong rest of the season and finished the year at No.2. She will be the top seed at the $1 million tournament, reports Xinhua.
"Brisbane is such a great tournament. I had tried to make it so many years and I finally made it in 2014 and it was such a great experience. The fans were wonderful and the tournament organisation was great," Sharapova said.
After missing 4.5 months in late 2013 due to a right shoulder injury, Sharapova made her comeback last year here and made it all the way to the semi-finals, eventually falling in a close two-setter to long-time rival Serena Williams.
Former World No.1 Ivanovic, who fell out of top-10 in 2009 and is trying to get back among the elite for more than five years, finally made it back there in 2014 and ended up finishing the year all the way up at No.5.
"I can't wait to return to Brisbane next year. It will be my first time competing at the tournament since 2012 and I'm really excited to have the opportunity to play there again," Ivanovic said.