ADELAIDE, Australia – WTA World No.1 Ashleigh Barty leads a star-studded field for the Adelaide International as she builds up for the Australian Open.

The French Open champion will be joined by Wimbledon winner Simona Halep, the WTA World No.4, as well as nine other members of the Top 20, including Petra Kvitova and Kiki Bertens.

WTA World No.12 Johanna Konta will play her first tournament since the US Open in September following a knee injury, while four US players – Sofia Kenin, Alison Riske, Sloane Stephens and Danielle Collins – have all been given direct acceptance.

The lowest ranked of the 19 players to automatically be accepted into the draw was China’s Quang Wang, the WTA World No.30, outlining the quality of field in the hard court event, which runs from January 13-19.

Meanwhile, Venus Williams has been announced as the Top 20 wildcard for the event.

“It is always exciting to play at a new tournament in front of new fans,” she said.

“I’ve had so many memorable times in Australia over the years and I am looking forward to discovering Adelaide and all it has to offer.”

The Premier competition will take place at Memorial Drive Tennis Centre and is the inaugural running of the tournament, which is also an ATP 250 event that includes Novak Djokovic.

“The full list of players is a real who’s who of tennis – from Australia’s favourite Ash Barty to the iconic Venus Williams, right through to the young talent of Alex de Minaur and the experienced campaigner Novak Djokovic in the men’s field,” South Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment David Ridgway said.

“As former world No.1s and with 23 Grand Slam titles between them, Novak and Venus will be looking to start the summer off strongly, and I am sure the Adelaide crowd will get behind them.

“It’s great for both the tournament and fans that Novak and Venus have chosen to compete in Adelaide ahead of the Australian Open.

“We’re looking forward to seeing some tough matches here as they prepare for the season’s first Grand Slam event.

“The new-look stadium will offer the players a great experience, in an amazing setting. They will be playing right alongside the river and a stone’s throw from the city, so it is perfect for the fans who can walk over the footbridge and watch some of the best players in the world do battle, right at the critical point of their Grand Slam preparations.

“The State Government is proud that the Adelaide International has attracted a stellar list of players including five former world No.1s and seven Grand Slam singles champions – now we wait for January and for a cracking summer of tennis.”

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