Days away, tennis fans, just days away from the start of the 2024 tennis season. While it seems like we haven't seen important tennis matches in months, the reality is that it has only been a month or so since the ATP Finals were completed. Since then we have seen a bunch of exhibition matches or mixed-team events.
There is nothing wrong with that, of course. Any tennis played at a high level is tennis worth watching. Luckily, the Brisbane International, which will feature both men's and women's tennis begins on Sunday. This is a warm-up tournament ahead of the Australian Open that starts on January 14.
But this is no normal warm-up event. The winner will be awarded 500 points on the women's side. That is a great kickstart to the season. Here is what you need to know about the WTA side of the Brisbane International.
Aryna Sabalenka's hopes of recapturing WTA No. 1 starts with the Brisbane International
WTA No. 2 Sabalenka is likely going to be the top seed at the event. No. 1 ranked Iga Swiatek is bypassing the event and instead playing at the United Cup. The United Cup is a fine event that features country versus country and mixed doubles, but no tour points will be awarded. This means Sabalenka could steal the 500 points for winning the Brisbane tournament.
This won't be easy, however, as WTA No. 4 Elena Rybakina will also be participating. Most likely, Rybakina will be the second seed in Brisbane. Other top players include Karolina Muchova and Victoria Azarenka. The draw for the event will be held on December 30.
Besides the 500 points award to the winner on the women's side of the Brisbane International (the men's winner will only be awarded 250 points), the runner-up will get 325 points. Each semifinalist loser will get 195 points and each quarterfinal loser will receive 108 points.
The winner of the vent will earn $220,000 while the runner-up will get $135,000. If you simply show up and lose your first match you will take home $12,200. If you are paying for the flights for yourself and your team, that $12,200 doesn't go very far.
My guess is that Aryna Sabalenka wins the tournament. She seems just a notch ahead of the field. If I had to make a dark-horse pick, I would choose Jelena Ostapenko.