Former world number one Justine Henin will make her return to tennis at the Brisbane International in January.
The seven-time grand slam champion confirmed today that Brisbane will be her first competitive tournament since retiring in May last year.
The 27-year-old Belgian sees the competition as perfect preparation for the Australian Open, where she has already been granted a wild card.
“After a 15-month absence I am pleased to begin my second tennis career at the Brisbane International,” Henin said.
“I am looking forward to returning to Queensland and seeing the new facilities at the tennis centre as well as the surrounding attractions on offer in Brisbane.
“It will be great to get back to playing competitive tennis again and with the strong field, the same court surface and a similar climate to Melbourne, it will be the perfect preparation leading into the Australian Open.”
Tournament director Steve Ayles was delighted to have Henin at the event, as she joins the likes of US Open champion and compatriot Kim Clijsters, Serbian Ana Ivanovic and local hope Jelena Dokic in an extremely strong field.
“It is shaping up to be a blockbuster event,” Ayles said.
“With the appearance of Justine, the tennis world spotlight will be on Brisbane come January and the tournament will be taken to a whole new level.
“It will be tremendous to see Justine match up against her former rival and countrywoman Kim Clijsters.
“With the former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic and Australian Open quarter-finalist Jelena Dokic confirmed, we are looking at an extremely strong women’s field.”
Henin will play exhibition tournaments in Charleroi and Dubai later this year to gain match-play practice before her tournament return.