Japan’s Naomi Osaka and Kei Nishikori will play the Brisbane International in 2019.
Osaka, the US Open champion stunned the tennis world in September when she defeated the 23-time Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams (USA) 6-2, 6-4 in the New York final.
The win was Osaka’s first Grand Slam title and the first Grand Slam singles won by a Japanese player. She turned professional at the age of 15 in 2013 and has won two WTA singles titles including the prestigious Indian Wells tournament in March 2018.
Now ranked at world No.7, Osaka is looking forward to returning to the Brisbane International.
“I’m excited about starting my 2019 Australian season in Brisbane. I have been there before and have great memories of the city and playing there,” Osaka said, who first competed in Brisbane in 2016.
“Since winning the US Open, I’ve had lots of messages of support from Australia so it will be special to play at Pat Rafter Arena in January.”
Japanese interest in the Brisbane International will be at its highest ever, with world No.12 Kei Nishikori (JPN) also confirming his intention to play in the Queensland capital.
Nishikori reached the US Open semifinals in September before falling to eventual champion Novak Djokovic (SRB). He has won 11 singles titles on the ATP Tour and is the only male Japanese player ever to be ranked inside the top 5 in singles.
Next summer will be Nishikori’s ninth Brisbane International, a tournament he regards warmly as one of his favourite events on the calendar.
“I have good memories from there. I always play good tennis there. It’s the first tournament of the year and they have a good crowd, good city and a very good site. Everything is perfect there,” Nishikori said.
Brisbane International Tournament Director Cameron Pearson said he is delighted both Japanese stars will join Rafael Nadal (ESP) and John Millman (AUS) in Brisbane in the New Year.
“To have Naomi return to Brisbane after her breakthrough Grand Slam victory is such a coup for the Brisbane International,” Pearson said.
“She won so many new fans by the way she played the US Open final and we know she will deliver more fantastic performances here in Queensland,” Pearson said.
“Kei loves coming to Brisbane and has provided the fans with some memorable matches over the years. He has always had great results without winning the title, so perhaps 2019 will be Kei’s year.“
Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said it’s a pleasure to welcome the Japanese duo to Brisbane to start their 2019 campaigns following their outstanding efforts at the US Open.
“The crowd at the Brisbane International will be on hand and ready to welcome Naomi Osaka and Kei Nishikori, who have both shown they can match it with the world’s best players,” Cr Quirk said.
“The Brisbane International continues to be one of the most popular events of Brisbane’s sporting calendar and welcoming Naomi and Kei to be a part of it will be a major drawcard for tennis fans both near and far.
“Brisbane’s commitment to attracting major events has a significant impact on our economy, injecting more than $150 million into the city’s economy each year.”
The Queensland Government, via Tourism and Events Queensland, is proud to support the Brisbane International. Your perfect next event is in Queensland where live events combine with the most incredible destinations and life is beautiful one day, perfect the next.
Corporate hospitality packages are now available to purchase here. Pre-sale tickets are now open and single session tickets will go on sale via Ticketek on Thursday 4 October 2018.
Brisbane International 2019 supported by Tourism and Events Queensland and Brisbane Marketing, will be held at Queensland Tennis Centre from 30 December 2018 to 6 January 2019. The tournament is part of the Emirates Australian Open Series.