sport

Star-studded field in Brisbane

The new WTA season will begin with eight of the world's top 10 competing in a star-studded field in Brisbane.

The Brisbane International is the opening event of the 2013 campaign and it will be headed by world number one Victoria Azarenka.

Her name was on the full entry list unveiled on Wednesday. The 2012 Australian Open winner joins fellow Grand Slam champions Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams, who had already confirmed their participation, in the line-up.

Other members of the top 10 heading to Melbourne are Angelique Kerber, Sara Errani, Petra Kvitova, Sam Stosur and Caroline Wozniacki.

Azarenka said: "I am very proud to have ended the year as world number one and I am excited to start my 2013 campaign in Brisbane. I know I will get some tough matches against the world's best there, which is perfect preparation leading into the Australian Open."

Tournament director Cameron Pearson described the event's field as its strongest ever.

He said: "The women's field is spectacular, it's the strongest ever seen in Queensland.

"We have the current world number one, three former world number one players plus five Grand Slam winners, and between them they have won 22 major titles.

"In a battle between the top three, Victoria and Maria will be especially motivated to turn the tables on Serena, who dominated their matches in 2012, and this should make for some electrifying tennis."

The full field for men's tournament has yet to be confirmed but British star Andy Murray has already committed to competing.

The tournament gets under way on December 30.

Meanwhile, the ASB Classic, which begins a day later, has also revealed its field with former Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and 2010 Wimbledon finalist Vera Zvonareva committing to the Auckland event.

World number four Agnieszka Radwanska is the leading name playing in New Zealand, while British number one Heather Watson will also compete.