Former Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis is a confirmed starter for the inaugural Brisbane International in January, and rising star Bernard Tomic is expected to make his senior debut as a wildcard.
Baghdatis joins a men’s field for the January 4-11 event that already boasts world No.3 Novak Djokovic, another Australian Open finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and fellow Frenchmen Richard Gasquet and Gael Monfils.
Australia’s Samantha Stosur has also been added to a women’s field that includes French Open winner Ana Ivanovic.
“We are excited that Queenslander Samantha Stosur will start her Australian Open campaign at the Brisbane International,” tournament director Steve Ayles said at the event’s official launch in Brisbane today.
“Over the next few weeks we will be confirming more exciting players and developments for the tournament.”
Ayles said Australian Open boy’s champion Tomic, 15, was “expected” to contest the Brisbane International as a wildcard.
It would mark the first tour event for the Queensland youngster.
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh – who attended the launch – was much more adamant.
“Queenslander Bernard Tomic is expected to play his first tour event at the Brisbane International – a new golden era of tennis in Queensland is about to be realised,” she said.
Ms Bligh said the event would start Queensland’s 150th birthday celebrations in 2009.
The Brisbane International – which will offer more than $1 million in prizemoney – will also open the new $82 million Queensland Tennis Centre.
The event merges the men’s Adelaide International and the Gold Coast’s Australian Women’s Hardcourts, creating a new ATP-WTA tournament.
Ayles also announced plans to broadcast the tournament to national audiences on the Seven Network and televise the finals around the world.