SYDNEY: World No 3 Novak Djokovic and French star Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - the finalists in this year's Australian Open - will top the draw at the Brisbane International, organizers said yesterday.
Former world No 1 and reigning French Open champion Ana Ivanovic was last month named as the top drawcard among the women competing at the inaugural event to be held in the lead-up to the Australian Open.
Djokovic said the January event would be a key part of his preparation to retain the Australian Open title he won in a dramatic four-set victory over Tsonga in Melbourne in January.
"It is the perfect way to begin my Australian campaign," the Serb said.
"It is going to be great to renew my acquaintance with the very supporting Australian tennis fans," he said in a statement.
Tsonga, who has missed some competitions this year following a knee operation, said he was looking forward to returning Down Under.
"Naturally I have fond memories of the blue Australian courts and they tell me the Brisbane surface is exactly the same as the Open," he said.
"I look forward to getting down there and trying to win the first event of the year."
Tournament director Steve Ayles said Djokovic and Tsonga were major draws for the new event.
"We really wanted these two. They ignite crowds all over the world. As well as being supremely gifted, they play the game with athleticism, flair and personality," he said.
The Brisbane International, which replaces the men's Adelaide International and the women's Gold Coast tournament, will be held in the northeastern Australian city from Jan 4-11.
Source: China Daily