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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

Garbine Muguruza awarded wild card at Sydney International

World No 2 says wild card is a 'very valuable opportunity for me get back on the court and hopefully play a few more matches before the first grand slam of the year in Melbourne'

Garbine Muguruza had a rough start to the new season. Dave Hunt / EPA
Garbine Muguruza had a rough start to the new season. Dave Hunt / EPA

Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza has accepted a wild card into next week's Sydney International, the tournament organisers said on Thursday.

World No 2 Muguruza hopes to step up her preparations for the Australian Open after she was forced to retire with leg cramps during her opening match at the Brisbane International on Tuesday.

"I've only played in Sydney once before and I really enjoyed the conditions there, and the beautiful city," the 24-year-old Spaniard said in a statement.

"This wild card is a very valuable opportunity for me get back on the court and hopefully play a few more matches before the first grand slam of the year in Melbourne.

"The Sydney draw is incredibly strong and there will be no easy matches."

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The tournament, which begins at Sydney Olympic Park on Sunday, will feature three of the four women's grand slam holders as Muguruza will be joined by US Open champion Sloane Stephens and Roland Garros winner Jelena Ostapenko.

The field also includes seven-time grand slam winner Venus Williams, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, 2016 Australian and US Open champion Angelique Kerber and Australia's 2011 US Open champion Sam Stosur.

The opening grand slam of the season takes place at Melbourne Park from January 15-28.

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