Victoria Azarenka will begin 2018 at the ASB Classic in Auckland after receiving a wildcard for the tournament.

The former World No.1 returned from maternity leave in the middle of 2017 but found her season interrupted due to a family matter, which forced her to withdraw from the US Open.

"I am very much looking forward to getting back on the court to compete in January and I can't think of a better place to start the 2018 season than in Auckland," the current World No.205 said.  

"I've worked extremely hard with my team over the last few months and continue to do so for the new season, and with my goal in mind to get back to World No.1 and compete for Grand Slam titles.  

"My expectations remain high as always. I personally haven't been to Auckland for a very long time and everyone says such wonderful things about the tournament and the city. I am really excited to experience it and be back."

The Belarusian will be joined in Auckland by top seed Caroline Wozniacki, Julia Goerges, Barbora Strycova and Agnieszka Radwanska, as well as defending champion Lauren Davis.