Brisbane, Dec 31 (IANS) Former world number one Maria Sharapova has announced that she will open her 2020 campaign in the Brisbane International after being awarded a wild card by tournament organisers.
Sharapova has struggled with an ongoing shoulder injury since serving a doping ban, playing just eight tournaments and 14 matches this year which saw her slip to 133 in the world rankings.
The 32-year-old Russian hasn’t played since a first round loss to career-long rival Serena Williams at the US Open in August.
“To be fair when I was younger I never saw myself playing past 30,” Sharapova was quoted as saying by The Guardian. “But I still feel there is a lot in me to give. I still have a lot of fire in me and I am big competitor. As long as the shoulder stays healthy and my body allows me to, I hope there is a lot of time left for me.”
Sharapova is also scheduled to play the Kooyong Classic but said results in Brisbane may determine whether she gains another wildcard to contest the Australian Open beginning January 20.
“While it is about results for me it is more about how I feel day to day, making sure my shoulder holds up but I am definitely up for that test,” she said.
The Brisbane International will be an exclusively women’s event for the first time in 2020, with the inaugural men’s ATP Cup to run concurrently from January 3.