Former champion Alicia Molik has been awarded a wildcard to the Moorilla Hobart International in January.
The former world No.8 was announced today as the first of three wildcards for the tournament and looked forward to once again returning to Hobart.
“I’m gearing up for a big summer and the Moorilla Hobart International will give me the perfect preparation for the Australian Open,” Molik said.
“I’m delighted to have been given the opportunity again. It’s a fantastic tournament and with the redevelopments it’s very exciting not just for Hobart and Tasmania, but for Australian tennis.
“It’s fantastic that Hobart has made steps to ensure the tournament remains here for many years to come.”
Molik is expected to face strong competition from world No.16 Marion Bartoli (FRA), Russian rising star Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, and former world No.1and Australian Open runner-up Dinara Safina of Russia, whom Molik defeated in their two meetings at Wimbledon in 2003 and the Luxembourg Open final in 2004.
“Anyone is a shot at the event. The conditions are very different and I feel like my chances will be as good as any of the other players,” Molik said.
Currently ranked No.130 in the world, Molik will also be joined by fellow Australian Jarmila Groth and Moorilla Hobart International champions Zheng Jie (CHI), Anna Chakvetadze (RUS), Patty Schynder (SUI) and titleholder Alona Bondarenko of Ukraine.
Molik reached the second round of this year’s tournament before being defeated by Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) in a close three-set match.
Moorilla Hobart International Tournament Director Michael Roberts was excited to welcome Molik to her fifth appearance at the event.
“It’s always a pleasure to have Alicia at the tournament and she has always been a favourite among fans. Not only is she a past champion, but she is considered one of the friendliest players on the WTA Tour.
“We hope she can once again use the tournament as an ideal preparation for the Australian Open.”
Since turning professional in 1996, Molik has competed in all four Grand Slam tournaments and won two doubles titles in the French Open and Australian Open. She also won a bronze medal for Australia at the Athens Olympics in 2004, and represented her country in the Fed Cup and Hopman Cup.
Moorilla Hobart International 2011 series packages and single sessions are on sale now, with ticket prices starting from $9.90.
Tickets can be purchased online at ticketek.com.au or 1300 888 104.