2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu returns to the WTA for the first time in 15 months at next week's Grampians Trophy, the final WTA 500 event scheduled ahead of the Australian Open.
Added last week to the summer swing Down Under to give players the best possible preparation and training opportunities ahead of the first Grand Slam of 2021, the field, released in full on Monday, consists exclusively of players who were unable to train on-court during their 14-day quarantine lockdown following their arrival in the country.
Andreescu last competed at the 2019 Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen, which ended prematurely thanks to a knee injury after two round-robin matches.
A combination of both the injury and the COVID-19 hiatus forced her to miss the entirety of the shortened 2020 season, and after an opening bye, she'll make her long-awaited return in the second round against either a fellow Canadian or another US Open champion: Leylah Fernandez or Sloane Stephens.
Switzerland's Belinda Bencic, beaten by Andreescu in the semifinals en route to that US Open win, is the No.2 seed, while two-time Grand Slam champion and former World No.1 Victoria Azarenka and Elena Rybakina round out the top seeds, each of whom have received a first round bye.
The Top 8 are all ranked in the world's Top 25, and the field also consists of five different Grand Slam singles champions in all: Andreescu, Azarenka, Stephens, Angelique Kerber and Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Kuznetsova faces No.7 seed Jennifer Brady in the opening round, with each a possible quarterfinal foe for Rybakina.
Kerber, seeded No.8, opens against Katerina Siniakova and features in the top quarter of the draw alongside the unseeded Ons Jabeur, who returns to Melbourne Park after making history for Arab women's tennis last January by reaching her first Grand Slam quarterfinal.
Abu Dhabi semifinalist Maria Sakkari (No.5) and Estonia's Anett Kontaveit (No.6) round out the seeded players, and they open against a pair of Americans in Ann Li and Christna McHale, respectively.
Main draw at the Grampians Trophy, which begins on Wednesday.— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) February 1, 2021
Bianca Andreescu set to play her first competitive match since the 2019 WTA Finals. pic.twitter.com/WB1Y2IRaTq
Play begins at the event on Wednesday and runs through Sunday at Melbourne Park.