Brisbane, 12 October 2011 |

Serena Williams will start her 2012 season at the Brisbane International in January.

The 13-time Grand Slam champion and 39 WTA career title holder will join Maria SharapovaKim Clijsters and Sam Stosur in what is shaping up to be the strongest women’s event leading up to the Australian Open.

The former No.1 and five-time Australian Open champion is excited to be playing in her first Brisbane International.

“Well, I never played in Brisbane and I have never been to Brisbane [but I have] heard great things about it,” Williams said.

“It is the first tournament there [in Australia] … and it is the big one there this year.

“It is brand new [for me] so all that is going to be really exciting and it will help me with my seeding going into the Australian Open too so that would be good.

“I’m really excited to see everything, like how people are, you know my fans, I have such a great fan base in Australia, it’s my favourite Slam [the Australian Open] to play so I [am] really looking forward to going to Brisbane.”

“This is the ultimate endorsement of the event,” Brisbane International Tournament Director Cameron Pearson said today.

“Serena is arguably one of the best female tennis players in history and the fact that she has chosen to play in Brisbane just demonstrates the reputation the event has built with players on the tour.

“I look forward to welcoming Serena to Brisbane in January.”

“With its world-class facilities, a great playing atmosphere, friendly staff and enthusiastic tennis fans, the event is attracting the world’s best tennis players and Serena’s attendance is just confirmation of this.

“What a line-up we have, with Serena joining Maria Sharapova, Samantha Stosur, Kim Clijsters and Ana Ivanoivic in a star-studded field. Expect some heated battles on the court this coming January.”

Williams has been ranked World No.1 in singles on five separate occasions. She became No.1 for the first time on 8 July 2002 and regained this ranking for the fifth time on 2 November 2009.

The American is considered to be one of the greatest women’s tennis players of all time with 27 Grand Slam titles placing her ninth on the all-time list. She has recorded 13 Grand Slam singles titles, 12 in women’s doubles, and two in mixed doubles.

She is the most recent player, male or female, to have held all four Grand Slam singles titles simultaneously and is only the fifth woman in history to do so.

Williams was also the first woman, along with sister Venus, to hold all four Grand Slam doubles titles simultaneously since Martina Hingis did so in 1998.

Her 13 Grand Slam singles titles puts Williams sixth on the all-time list and ranks her fourth in Grand Slam women’s singles titles won during the Open era, behind Steffi Graf (22 titles) and Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova (18 titles each).

Williams has won more major titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles than any other active player, male or female, and she has won more career prize money than any other female athlete in history, earning just under $35 million.

Queensland Sport Minister Phil Reeves said the 2012 Brisbane International will showcase the brightest stars on the tennis circuit.

“Serena Williams is an absolute powerhouse and her recent form at the US Open is set to excite fans, which will hopefully translate to a full house at the Queensland Tennis Centre,” Mr Reeves said.

“Having stars like Serena at the Brisbane International just a year after the floods demonstrates that Brisbane, and Queensland, is open for business.

“That’s why the Bligh Government, through Events Queensland, supports the Brisbane International. It provides a massive boost to the economy and tourism industry, and highlights our reputation as the Champions State and the Events State as well.”

The Brisbane International commenced in 2009 with world-class talent including Novak Djokovic, Andy Roddick, Robin Soderling, Kim Clijsters, Ana Ivanovic and Justine Henin competing over the past three years.

Prize money for this combined ATP-WTA tour event will increase to USD$1.1million in 2012, a 63 per cent increase, then to USD$1.55 million in 2013.

Brisbane International 2012 series packages and single sessions are on sale now.

Tickets start from as little as $14.90 for ground passes and can be purchased online at or call 1300 888 104.