Eight of the world’s top 20 men and nine of the top 20 women headline a quality field announced for January’s Brisbane International.
Seven grand slam champions will compete in the tournament, which begins on January 3 at the Queensland Tennis Centre, including defending champions Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova.
Marin Cilic, Sam Stosur and Victoria Azarenka will also start their 2016 campaigns in Brisbane, along with John McEnroe and Pat Cash, who will play a Fast4 match on women’s final day as part of a new ‘legends showdown’ initiative.
Newly minted Newcombe medallist Sam Groth, Gold Coast product Bernard Tomic and wildcard Thanasi Kokkinakis are the big-name Australian men to commit to the Brisbane International, and will battle the likes of Kei Nishikori, Grigor Dimitrov and last year’s defeated finalist Milos Raonic in a star-studded men’s draw.
In the women’s, Sharapova faces her biggest competition in the form of world No.2 Simona Halep, No.3 Garbine Muguruza and Swiss prodigy Belinda Bencic.
“Every year, the tournament increases in profile and the calibre of the 2016 field is certainly testament to the players’ regard for the event,” tournament director Cameron Pearson said.
“We’re thrilled to welcome our two defending champions back to Brisbane, who will both have a real fight on their hands to win back-to-back titles.
“We’re really excited by the strength of both the men’s and women’s draws and counting down to what should be a fantastic week of tennis.”
Preparations for the Brisbane International, which attracts around 100,000 spectators each year, are in full swing with more wildcards and qualifiers to be added closer to the tournament.
Federer and Sharapova will aim to become just the third and fourth players to seal back-to-back titles in Brisbane.
Only Andy Murray in 2012-13 and Serena Williams in 2013-14 have accomplished the feat.
Roger Federer (SUI), Kei Nishikori (JPN), Marin Cilic (CRO), Milos Raonic (CAN), Gilles Simon (FRA), David Goffin (BEL), Bernard Tomic (Qld), Dominic Thiem (AUT), Viktor Troicki (SRB), Grigor Dimitrov (BUL), Steve Johnson (USA), Thomaz Bellucci (BRA), Hyeon Chung (KOR), Jerzy Janowicz (POL), Radek Stepanek (CZE), Sam Querrey (USA), Sam Groth (Vic), Denis Istomin (UZB), Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ), Denis Kudla (USA), Nicolas Mahut (FRA), Thanasi Kokkinakis (SA)
Simona Halep (ROU), Garbine Muguruza (ESP), Maria Sharapova (RUS), Angelique Kerber (GER), Timea Bacsinszky (SUI), Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP), Belinda Bencic (SUI), Roberta Vinci (ITA), Sara Errani (ITA), Jelena Jankovic (SRB), Victoria Azarenka (BLR), Ekaterina Makarova (RUS), Andrea Petkovic (GER), Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK), Sam Stosur (Qld), Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS), Kristina Mladenovic (FRA), Lesia Tsurenko (UKR), Camila Giorgi (ITA), Dominika Cibulkova (SVK), Madison Brengle (USA), Alize Cornet (FRA)