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Aryna Sabalenka will participate in Brisbane International as a prelude to the Australian Open Defense

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Aryna Sabalenka will compete in the Brisbane International on Tuesday to begin her preparations for defending her Australian Open title, the tournament’s organizers announced.

The Brisbane International will serve as Aryna Sabalenka’s first practice before defending her Australian Open title, the tournament’s organizers said on Tuesday. The Brisbane event, which takes place from December 31 to January 7, will feature Elena Rybakina, who was defeated by Sabalenka in the Melbourne final earlier this year. As she makes her tennis comeback, Naomi Osaka, a four-time Grand Slam champion, is already included in the field. World No. 2 Sabalenka expressed her excitement in a statement sent by the organizers, saying, “I’m excited about starting my 2024 Australian season in Brisbane.”

“Australia holds a special place in my heart after winning my first Grand Slam there.”

Cam Pearson, the tournament director, expressed excitement at having Belarusian Sabalenka and fourth-ranked Kazakh Rybakina, who was born in Moscow, as guests.

“Everyone recalls the thrilling Australian Open semifinal the girls participated in at the beginning of the year,” he stated during a press conference.

“That has really kicked off what is a pretty exciting rivalry between the two players.”

On the men’s side, Andy Murray, the three-time Grand Slam champion, and Ben Shelton, the rapidly rising world number 17 from the United States, will be in the same draw.

If Australian Nick Kyrgios makes a full recovery from his injury in time, Pearson said he would be happy to have him compete.

“We would love to have him here, he’s a past champion and a fan favourite but he needs to do what’s best for him and his recovery,” he explained.

“If that means he’s playing in January, fantastic.”

After rupturing a wrist ligament after his January knee surgery, Kyrgios had to postpone his Wimbledon comeback.

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