Brisbane QLD, Australia, 20 December 2013 |

Casey Dellacqua (WA) and James Duckworth (NSW) have received an early Christmas gift, with the pair awarded wildcards into Brisbane International 2014.

Dellacqua and Duckworth will join world No.1 Serena Williams (USA) and 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer (SUI) in the world class field for the event, now only nine days away.

Just days after winning the Australian Open 2014 Play-off at Melbourne Park and securing her place at the first Grand Slam of the year, Dellacqua was granted her second wildcard of the summer with entry into the Brisbane field.

The world No.142, who returns to Brisbane for her third singles appearance after competing at the event in 2010 and 2012, said the tournament was the ideal start to her 2014 campaign.

“This is a great opportunity for me, I’ve been playing some really good tennis for the last few months so I’m looking forward to having a real shot at it and I’m grateful for the chance,” Dellacqua said.

“There will be some extremely tough matches but I think the good thing with Brisbane is that it’s the first tournament of the year and I haven’t had too much of a break, so I feel good with where I’m at.

“You never know what to expect of the other players at the first event for the year, but I know I’m in good stead and I look forward to having a really good go at whoever I play.”

In Brisbane Dellacqua will face tough opposition from defending champion Serena Williams, Russian powerhouse Maria Sharapova, two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka (BLR) and another three of the world’s top 10 female players.

After a successful 2013 campaign in which she reached three Grand Slam women’s doubles finals alongside Queenslander Ashleigh Barty, 28-year-old Dellacqua will use Brisbane International 2014 to launch her bid to climb back up the singles rankings.

“I’ve said over the past couple of months that my main goal now is to get my singles ranking back inside the top 100,” she said.

“That’s my main focus for the beginning of this year, so being able to play in Brisbane is a good opportunity and I’m doing everything I can to prepare for every tournament I play and hopefully that ranking will be up there in no time.”

Meanwhile James Duckworth will bolster Australia’s stocks in the men’s draw, joining Lleyton Hewitt (SA), Marinko Matosevic (Vic), Matt Ebden (WA) and fellow wildcard Nick Kyrgios (ACT) in the 32-player field.

The world No.136 and part-time Brisbane resident said he welcomed the opportunity to take on tennis superstar Roger Federer on home turf.

“I’m really excited to get a wildcard into the event, I train up in Brisbane now so it’s virtually my second home,” Duckworth said.

“It’s a great opportunity and I’m really looking forward to competing against the best players in the world. It’s going to be a tough event, but these are the sort of tournaments you want to be playing. “For Roger to come out to Brisbane is great for the event and for the city, and it would be great to have the chance to play him when he’s here.”

Matt Ebden moved into the main draw this week following the withdrawal of Jurgen Melzer (AUT), who has been ruled out with a shoulder injury.

With less than 10 days to go until Brisbane International 2014 gets under way, Tournament Director Cameron Pearson said the event was shaping up to be the best yet.

“The calibre of the field we have assembled is truly world class, and we’re really excited to welcome both players and fans to Brisbane over the coming fortnight,” he said.

The tournament has one men’s and one women’s discretionary wildcard left at its disposal.