Hobart, Australia, 3 December 2013 | Tennis Australia

Seventeen-year-old Ashleigh Barty will play the Hobart International for the third consecutive time after she was awarded a wildcard today.

“It’s such an honour to be awarded a Hobart International wildcard. I really appreciate the opportunity,” said Barty, the current world No.188.

“This will be the third time I’ve played at the tournament, and I know I will face some tough opponents but I am looking forward to the challenge.”

“It is the perfect event for me to prepare for the Australian Open and I can’t wait to get down to Tasmania.”

The 2011 junior Wimbledon champion has had a remarkable year, helping the Australian Fed Cup team retain their spot in the World Group by defeating Switzerland in April and securing her first Grand Slam main draw win at Roland Garros.

Barty also saw success on the doubles court by finishing runner-up at three Grand Slams doubles events – at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open – with partner Casey Dellacqua before reaching a career high singles ranking of 129th in September.

On Monday night Barty was named Female Junior Athlete of the Year at the Newcombe Medal, Australian Tennis Awards for the fourth time in a row.

Tournament Director Mark Handley is looking forward to welcoming Barty back to Hobart.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Ash back in January. She is an exceptional young talent and her results this year have been a stand out,” he said.

“Ash is on a steady path as she moves to becoming a regular contender on the WTA tour, making the second round of two Grand Slams this year and going on to play doubles finals at three Grand Slams.

“We’re excited to see her join fellow Aussie Sam Stosur in the main draw, creating a strong Australian flavour for the fans.”

Barty will also join former world No.1 Venus Williams, defending champion Elena Vesnina, Italian great Flavia Pennetta and British No.1 Laura Robson in Tasmania in January.

The Hobart International will take place at the Domain Tennis Centre from 5-11 January 2014. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased through Ticketek.

For further tournament information please visit www.hobartinternational.com.au.