Eugenie Bouchard, Angelique Kerber commit to WTA Brisbane 2017
The 2016 season is over, but the 2017 campaign is just around the corner.
WTA Brisbane, a hard-court event from Australia, will kick off the 2017 women’s tennis season. The tournament is a minor one on tour, however it is an important part of the lead up to the Australian Open. Players will be looking to get used to the heat down under as they shake off any rust from having several weeks off. Angelique Kerber and Eugenie Bouchard are two players whose names appear on the players’ list for Brisbane.
Kerber, who has not won a title as the World No. 1 yet, will enter the Brisbane tournament as the No. 1 seed. Her nemesis from the Singapore finals earlier this month, Dominika Cibulkova, will be the No. 2 seed in the event. Other top-ranked players in what looks to be a well-contested minor tournament include 2016 US Open finalist Karolina Pliskova, French Open champion Garbine Muguruza, and Russian player Svetlana Kuznetsova. Roberta Vinci will also be in the tournament (she and Italian veteran Francesca Schiavone recently announced that they would not be retiring).
Looking down the list, one finds Eugenie Bouchard among the commitments. It has nearly been three years since the Canadian broke onto the scene at the 2014 Australian Open. She made a big name for herself at that tournament, making it all the way to the semifinals at a time when she was a relative unknown. The balance of that season saw her enjoy a ton of success, however the sailing has been rocky ever since. She could be one to watch in 2017 however she might also fade as the motivation was not there in 2016 at all. In truth, Brisbane looks so loaded with talent for 2017 that Bouchard might have trouble finding a way to the quarters.
The main draw of Brisbane begins on January 1st, New Year’s Day 2017. The Australian Open will start a couple weeks afterward (January 16th to 29th). Kerber will be the defending champion at the Grand Slam, the first time she will enter a major as such. With an 0-4 tournament record since becoming top ranked, she’ll need to find her best tennis at Melbourne Park in order to stave off a possible ranking slide. Warming up properly in Brisbane could be a part of that.