World No.19 Caroline Garcia (FRA) is set to make her debut in Tasmania, joining Victorian Zoe Hives as a wildcard entry into Hobart International 2019.
Garcia had a stellar 2018, with her ranking peaking at a career-high world No. 4 in September. The 25-year-old won her sixth WTA singles in Tianjin, as well as making the fourth round at both the Australian Open and Roland Garros.
“I’m excited to visit Hobart for the first time. I’ve heard it is a beautiful city and I’m looking forward to getting out on court as I continue my preparation for the Australian Open,” Garcia said.
Hobart International Tournament Director Darren Sturgess described Garcia’s addition to a strong 2019 field as a major coup for the event.
“Caroline Garcia will be the highest-ranked player we’ve had compete in the event since a No.18-ranked Sam Stosur was the top seed in 2014,” Sturgess said.
“Caroline is a world-class player and we are excited to welcome her to Hobart for the first time and I’m sure fans are going to enjoy watching her play too.”
World No. 220 Zoe Hives (Vic) will compete in a WTA singles main draw for the first time in her career.
The 22-year-old had a breakout year on the Australian Pro Tour in 2018, winning ITF singles titles in Playford, Toowoomba and Canberra to achieve a career-high ranking of 215 in November.
Hives scored her career-first top 100 win in Hobart International qualifying in 2016, her only previous visit to the tournament.
Garcia and Hives join recently announced Australian wildcard Ellen Perez in the field, which is headlined by 2018 finalist Mihaela Buzarnescu, Belinda Bencic and 2016 champion Alize Cornet.
The 2019 singles main draw will be set at a Player Welcome Party tonight, which will raise money for FightMND during a charity function at Government House Hobart.
The tournament gets underway from tomorrow, Saturday 5 January, with a Free Family Weekend coinciding with qualifying for the event.
Fans of all ages can access Domain Tennis Centre for free on both Saturday and Sunday ahead of main draw action which gets underway on Monday 7 January.
Tickets are now on sale via Ticketek or by calling 1300 888 104.